For a directory and links to lodging, accommodations and campgrounds near Johnson's Shut-ins State Park, please click here.
JOHNSON'S SHUT-INS is open!
To contact the park, please call: 573-546-2450
Johnson's Shut-ins camping reservations click here.
Johnson's Shut-ins cabin reservations click here.
Activities: hiking, swimming, picnicking, camping, bird watching
1.5 billion years ago,
violently explosive volcanoes hurled hot gasses and ash into
the air. The ashes and gas fell and cooled, forming rhyolite
rock. A billion years later, shallow inland
seas swallowed the ancient, worn-down mountains, burying the
igneous rock under thousands of feet of sedimentary rock such
as limestone, sandstone, shale and dolomite.
This immense natural playground is the primary feature of
the 180-acre Johnson’s Shut-Ins Natural Area, only a
portion of the 8,549-acre Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park.
Most of the park, including the shut-ins and two miles of
river frontage, was donated in 1955 by Joseph Desloge, a St.
Louis civic leader and conservationist from a prominent lead-mining
A relatively rare area in the St. Francois Mountains region, the 18-acre Dolomite Glade Natural Area is the only dolomite glade represented from the St. Francois Mountains section of the Ozark Natural Division. Some plants, including Missouri’s Evening Primrose, Sandwort, and Englemann’s Adder’s Tongue Fern are found nowhere else in the park.
There are an abundance of recreational activities in the 1,100-acre East Fork Wild Area in which the major portion of the park’s biological and geological diversity is protected. Many of the over 900 species of plants that have been discovered in the park are located only in the East Fork Wild Area, including several types of rare plants and the largest Virginia Witch Hazel in the state. The wild area has a wide range of natural habitats, from upland ridges, bluffs and wet meadows, to bottomland woods which boast Oak, Hickory, and Shortleaf Pine, trees durable enough to grow in the thin, rocky soil. Like the Johnson’s Shut-Ins Natural Area, the wild area is dotted with several glades, the equivalent of a desert in Missouri. The barren, rocky areas provide open scenic views and support drought-resistant plants such as Flame Flower, Pineweed, and the Prickly Pear Cactus, as well as animals such as scorpions and the rare eastern collared lizard, or “mountain boomer”.
The nearby 4,874-acre Goggins Mountain Wild Area was acquired by the parks division of the Department of Natural Resources in 1993, and was designated as Missouri’s largest state wild area in 1995. The Goggins Mountain Valley contains the Wild Area as well as the Goggins Mountain Hiking and Equestrian Trail which opened in 2000. This valley will become the new home of the campgrounds for Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park, which were destroyed in the breach of the upper Taum Sauk Hydroelectric Plant Reservoir atop Profitt Mountain on December 14, 2005.