After the alpaca fiasco a few weeks ago at Alapocas Run State Park (the words look the same; you have to admit it), we were prepared for similar misunderstandings. Especially when we chose Elephant Rocks State Park in Missouri as the place to be this week. Except, we were right! The name is not misleading! There are really rocks that look like elephants!
Okay, maybe they don’t look like them. But they are the size of them! And sort of shaped like them! And that is pretty amazing, folks. That is pretty amazing, indeed. Now we will describe these elephant rocks in detail, so you can see how amazing they are.
The park actually calls them elephant rocks, or the Elephant Rocks Natural Area, or Nature’s Circus Animals, but one of our researchers is very savvy with alliteration, and came up with this clever name. As you can see in the lovely photo below, the elephant rocks are giant, pink granite boulders. They were formed 1.5 billion years ago; to skip your geology lesson, let’s just say that some magma cooled slowly, some erosion happened, and voila! Elephant rocks, meet blog reader. And to impress you with some stats, here goes: some of these boulders (new ones are constantly being exposed!) weigh over 600 tons and stand over 20 feet tall. (That’s like over three LeBron James’ high!) Dumbo, the patriarch of these fake elephants, is 27 feet tall, 35 feet long, and 17 feet wide. Weighing in at 162 pounds per cubic foot, Dumbo boasts 680 tons. The Elephant Rocks provide amusement for all: history buffs like to read the names of the 19th century miners who carved their names into the rocks, kids love to climb them, and parents love to take pictures of their kids pretending to push the rocks. Oh, and you’ll earn points on the Post Grape-Nuts Fit “What’s Your Mountain?” GeoChallenge. (You didn’t think we’d go a whole park post without mentioning that, did you?) Really, it’s a win-win attraction.Rock Climbing and Rappelling
Since this park is all about rocks, it only follows that visitors would be allowed to rock climb and rappel in certain areas. You can only participate in these adventurous activities with a permit, which means you must obtain said permit from the park office before your visit. The sport is also only allowed during some months. To find out said months and more information, contact the Park Office at (573) 546-3454.Braille Trail
Sometimes we’re poets, and we don’t even know it. Other times we’re hikers with a range of ability. That’s why the Braille trail is so excellent. The hiking trail gives you a perfect view of the 7.5 acre Elephant Rocks Natural Area. It’s also specially designed for people with visual or physical disabilities, making it the first of its kind in Missouri State Parks. The Braille Trail has also been designated as a National Recreation Trail. Taking the trail will lead you by a quarry pond filled with animal life, the top of the elephant rocks, and an overlook where an old red granite quarry site used from the 1860s-early 1900s is visible. The asphalt trail also features interpretive signage accessible to disabilities. If you aren’t feeling the signs, just download this MP3 file they have with the same information! And lest you forget about the main event, (the reason we’re all here, the adventure to end all adventures) you’ll earn points for your GeoChallenge.Picnic with the Pachyderms
The park encourages you to pack a picnic lunch to eat amongst the granite boulders. Only thing cooler than that? If you were eating a picnic lunch with ACTUAL elephants.Now that we’ve virtually hit the hot spots, it’s your turn to actually do so. So head to pocketranger.com and click on the Missouri “What’s Your Mountain?” GeoChallenge. (Or just follow that link.) You’ll get to see all the things we talked about – plus even more.