Johnson Shut In’s State Park was the Easter Weekend Destination for our family for 2015. I scrapped the Table Rock Trip due to conflicts with work and picked one of the few remaining full hook up sites in the newer Campground at Johnson Shut In’s.
This state park has some very unique geological features that are very un-common for this area and apparently any area. The major attraction is the “Shut-In’s” and they did not disappoint, even if it was too cold to venture into the water. For over a century folks have been using this area as natures water-park during the summer. Rock Jumping and water slides through the eroded granite are popular things to do in this ruarl part of the state. My first impression is that this is no place for small kids to swim and play, further up stream might be a better fit.
Unfortunately, this park is known for a more recent even that has changed the landscape in a matter of minutes doing great damage to what took 1.4 billion years to create. In 2005 the upper reservoir of a pump back type power plant failed sending over a billion gallons of water into the valley below. It changed the course of the river, destroyed the infrastructure of the park and leaving everything in shambles with up to 10 feet or more of sediment in the park. The Shut in’s area were filled with boulders, trees and re-bar from the failed structure. Fast forward nearly 10 years and the park is slowly rebounding and I would consider this park to be one of the best state park’s in the Missouri System hands down. As you would expect, the park embraced the disaster and actually incorporate it into part of the unique history. The accident itself is somewhat ironic as the features of the park were created with water over time and yet it took only minutes for water to alter the landscape forever.
Learn more about this park here: mostateparks.com/park/johnsons-shut-ins-state-park
Our home for the weekend in site # 211 in Loop #2. The site was full concrete, clean had water and sewer hookups. I have come to appreciate the large paved pads at camp sites. They are especially nice when it rains. I spent most of the day on Saturday at camp with no shoes.
The site was fairly Un-level but given the geography of the area, this would be necessary for run off. Hooking up the hitch’s bars was a bit of a challenge but really no big deal.
The Camp-Store at this park is one of the best I have seen in a public park. This area is so remote, you do not get cell coverage, TV stations, or even a good radio station. The closest store of any type is likely 30 minutes or more away so having things available should you need them are very nice. This store is stocked with the typical things you find at any camp store such as Ice Cream and treats and a lot of the staples for cooking if you forget something. They also have a large selection of odd items that people must buy like flags, signs, toys and so on. For being the first weekend that it was open, it looked to be very well stocked. The patio also serves as the home for wayward teenagers looking to find out what is going on on Facebook via the Store’s WiFi Hot Spot.
Because there is a lack of info flowing in..(cell service and TV) getting caught in a potential weather situation could be problematic in this location. This campground has concrete shelters within every loop, most within less than 200′ away from most sites. Another welcome change from the tinderbox shelters offered by some of the other state parks.
You can rent bikes here too…even bike trailers.
Full laundry center as well. Everything was very, very clean. Much appreciated compared to other Missouri State parks.
Our rule for Video Games is only when in the RV. Even then, its old school. It gives them something to do after the sun goes down.
New Visitors Center. We didn’t make it inside as both days we were in the park before it opened.
The “Shut In’s”
Sam’s disappointment after being told we were going to head back and eat lunch.
Easter morning BKFST on the Grill.
EB (Easter Bunny) happened to find us here as well. He brought the boys their promised baskets full of hyper active chocolate and treats. He even had planted Egg’s in the grass for them to find.
On Sunday, we hiked the Scour Trail. Its a new addition to the park that allows you to get down into the path of the damaged hillside. The force of the water literally scoured the earth down to bedrock. Some of this has not been exposed in over 1 billion years. Interesting.
The New Re-built Reservoir in the distance. This one is made of concrete.
Snack break before entering the scour.
Max called this the “Cookie Rock”
Who says you cant cook in an RV like home? We had a complete Easter meal including a 8# ham, potatoes, mac and cheese and vegetables.
Roasted Peep’s were surprisingly tasty.
It was a great trip for all of us. Close to home, yet felt like a world away. I know why this place is popular in the summer but our visit made me think this is a good place to see no mater what the season.