SOME EASILY ACCESSIBLE EXAMPLES OF MISSOURI KARST:
Some of the best places to look at Missouri Karst are on public land, or have been
developed, or set aside with access to visitors. These include:
- Karst Landscape--Grand Gulf State Park, Hahatonka State Park.
- Springs--Big, Alley, Round--all National Park Service sites in the Ozark National Scenic
Riverways. Also Greer Spring, (U.S. Forest Service, Winona Ranger District) Blue Spring
(Shannon County--Missouri Dept. of Conservation) and Maramec Spring (St. James--The James
- Caves-- Bridal Cave, Camdenton, Mo., Fantastic Caverns, Springfield, Mo., Onondaga Cave
State Park, Leasburg, Mo., Mark Twain Cave, Hannibal, Mo., Meramec Caverns, Stanton, Mo.,
Round Spring Caverns, Round Spring, Mo. These commercial caves (some private, some public)
present a good cross-section of caves typically found in the state. Consult the Show Caves
list for details on them.
- Sinks--The main feature at Grand Gulf State Park is the sinkhole collapse. Slaughter Sink
and Conical Sink in Phelps County are impressive--Conical is visible from a public road, and
Slaughter is on Forest Service land. Driving the public roads of Perry County, Mo., will give the
observer a great look at a sinkhole plain. Sinks and sinkholes abound in the Ozarks.
- Losing Streams--Many intermittent Ozark creeks go underground, and re-emerge further
down their course. Sinkin Creek in Shannon County and Hurricane Creek in Oregon County are
well known losing streams, but there is really nothing to "see" at these places. Watch for signs of
sinking creeks and losing streams as you hike throughout the Ozarks.
- Natural Bridges and Tunnels--Rockbridge State Park. As the name implies, there is a really
nice natural bridge here, as well as much karst, and one of the longest caves in the state, toured by
prior arrangement only during the winter, due to gray bats. Clifty Creek Natural Area, is one of the larger bridges in the state.
- Estavelles--Ball Mill Resurgence near Brewer in Perry County, is a sinkhole which resurges
after heavy rains, with the added feature that it becomes a "ball mill"--it tumbles stones in it's basin
quite violently and noisily under those conditions.
- Karst Windows--Devil's Well near Akers, in Shannon County on the Ozark National Scenic
Riverways, and Schnurbusch Karst Window in Apple Creek, Perry County, on the
Catholic church grounds. Devil's Well lets the visitor look down another 80 feet from a viewing
platform at the bottom of a sinkhole onto an underground lake. The karst window is a rock grotto where
water emerges from one end of a cave, flows about a hundred feet, then goes back underground
for several miles.
For more ideas on where to go, visit the Missouri Tourism Home Page, the Missouri Show
Caves list, contact the Public Agencies with lands in Missouri, or go
to the library and look up these books:
Geologic Wonders and Curiosities of Missouri, by Thomas R. Beveridge, 1978,
second edition revised by Jerry D. Vineyard, 1990, Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources, DGLS,
Rolla, MO 65401.
Springs of Missouri, Gerald Feder and Jerry D. Vineyard, 1974, 1982, MDNR,
DGLS, Rolla, MO 65401.
Exploring Missouri's Legacy: State Parks and Historic Sites Edited by Susan Flader,
1992, University of Missouri Press, Columbia and London.
2003 Jo Schaper.
Return to Webster's Home Cave.