In southeast Missouri lies an unusual site called the Elephant Rocks State Park. As the name implies, it features several giant boulders that resemble a parade of elephants. The best way to see these pachyderm-shaped rocks, which were formed 1.5 billion years ago, is from the park's Braille Trail. Although it was especially designed for individuals with visual and physical disabilities, everyone is welcome to use it, including four-legged visitors.
A designated National Recreation Trail and the first of its kind in Missouri state parks, the mile-long Braille Trail weaves through the main boulder area, offering views of the puptacular formations. It also passes by a quarry pond that now supports several wildlife species. To take a closer look at the rocks, follow a short spur up to the top of a granite outcrop. Don't get too close, though, as the lichens on the surface on the boulders are very fragile and can take years to grow. You'll spot plants such as farkleberry, winged sumac, and blackjack oak growing here and there as well. Another spur leads to an overlook where you can view an old quarry site; Missouri red granite was quarried here between the 1860s and the early 1900s. When you're done walking among the giants, take a break and dig into a packed lunch at one of the picnic tables scattered around the site.
So that everyone can have a pawsitive time on the Braille Trail, always keep your pup on a leash no longer than 10 feet. Be sure to bring pick-up bags and leave no waste behind. And while this is a pretty short hike, bringing enough water for both you and your pooch is still a must. If you're planning to visit during the winter off-season, note that the park closes earlier at 5 PM from November through March.
Enjoy the pawsome geologic features of Elephant Rocks with your furry buddy on the Braille Trail!
Watch out for ticks, mosquitoes, and chiggers, especially from April through October. Bring insect repellent and check your pup thoroughly after your walk.