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Grand Gulf State Park

Ozark Mountains + Highlands, Missouri

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Grand Gulf State Park

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  • Heading northwest on Natural Bridge Trail from the parking lot.- Grand Gulf State Park
  • Middle point of Natural Bridge Trail.- Grand Gulf State Park
  • Looking west over the gorge on Natural Bridge Trail.- Grand Gulf State Park
  • Looking up the stairs going to the parking lot along Interpretive Loop.- Grand Gulf State Park
  • Bottom of the gorge along Interpretive Loop.- Grand Gulf State Park
  • An old waterfall path on Interpretive Loop.- Grand Gulf State Park
  • The bottom of trail on Interpretive Loop.- Grand Gulf State Park
  • Looking east from the bottom of Interpretive Loop.- Grand Gulf State Park
  • - Grand Gulf State Park
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Good for a short hike. Beautiful tree canopies. Relaxing atmosphere.
Cons: 
Hard to view certain areas. No official trail to the bottom of the gulf.
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Region:
Ozark Mountains + Highlands, MO
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
152.00 ft (46.33 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
1.05 mi (1.69 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
587.00 ft (178.92 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

This beautiful little park is often referred to as the Missouri's "Little Grand Canyon." The Grand Gulf is a cave system in the Ozark Mountains that was once much larger than it is today. It is estimated that the roof of this cave system collapsed 10,000 years ago, and it left the vertical-walled canyon that can be seen today.

From the parking lot there are two marked trails that are good for short hikes. The Natural Bridge Trail is 0.8 miles round trip, and it takes you on top of the Natural Bridge, which is the remnant of the old collapsed cave. Several offshoots from this trail will either take you to small lookouts of different areas or they will lead you to the bottom of the gulf. There is currently no official trail to the bottom of the gulf, so if you decide to take one of these trails, do so with caution.

As you exit the trail back into the parking lot, continue down the right side onto the walkway. If you stop at the center of the walkway you can look down the gulf and imagine how it looked so many years ago. The Interpretive Loop Trail continues down the walkway, and it is maintained very well with carved steps. This trail is 0.25 miles round trip, but it takes you all the way to the bottom of the cave system. Here you will see a very small spring coming out of the cave wall. This is water percolating from Bussell Branch, which is an offshoot from Mammoth Springs nearby. You are welcome to go off trail in this park during the dry season and explore the caves to your heart's content. After you finish the Interpretive Loop Trail you will end back at the parking lot, where you can eat a picnic and enjoy nature.

Make sure to wear tennis shoes or hiking boots due to the rocky terrain. Sandals are not advised.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

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(1 within a 30 mile radius)

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