Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park is a hidden gem nestled in the Ozarks

Cascading streams, wading pools, and deep ponds make this the perfect summer escape.

Missouri's Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park is one of the Ozark Mountains best-kept secrets. It's main draw has been described by Travel + Leisure as "an obstacle course through 'cascading streams, deep pools, and shallow pockets'." What makes the shut-ins so amazing are series of private pools created when volcanic stone carved up the Black River's flow.

According to Missouri State Parks:

"Play in the shallows of the East Fork of the Black River. Shoot through Mother Nature’s hydraulics in the shut-ins. Hike a trail that will show you 1.4 billion years of geologic history. Take your horse on a pretty mountain trail. Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park is a jewel of the system, a place with something for everyone: pretty picnic areas, Ozark landscapes, natural places to swim, great campsites." 

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There are walk-in, reserved and special-use campsites in the park, and they're open all year long. Some campsites have sewer/electric and water, others are just basic and some just have electric. There are also restrooms, shower facilities, laundry and water as well as a campground store. These are available during the on-season, April through October.


The park itself is 8,647 acres and is located in Reynolds County, along the East Fork Black River. The park actually connects to Taum Sauk State Park, and together the parks are over 16,000 acres. The part of the Ozarks that they're in is known as the St. Francois Mountains region. 


"The term "shut-in" refers to a place where the river's breadth is limited by hard rock that is resistant to erosion. In these shut-ins, the river cascades in many rivulets over and around igneous rocks worn smooth over many eons. It is used by park visitors as a natural water park when the water is not so high as to be dangerous." - Wikipedia


It's pretty much the perfect oasis retreat for hot summer days in the Ozarks.


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Places explored in this article:

This was originally written for Roadtrippers, a great resource for anyone interested in travel.
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