is it worth the drive?!
Taum Sauk is the highest point in the state of Missouri, and for those scoring peaks I guess it is a must do... but, we are talking about a drive to a parking area then a paved sidewalk up to the summit... less than quarter mile with really no gain. So...
Taum Sauk Mountain is the high point of the St. Francis Mountains, Iron County and the State of Missouri.
Taum Sauk Mountain is a walk-up summit that is ADA accessible. It is the 41st highest State high point and is located in Taum Sauk Mountain State Park. The park is also home to the highest water fall in Missouri, Mina Sauk Falls, which drops a total of 132 feet in three distinct drops. It is best visited in the wet spring months or after a rain for best flows. The fall colors in Taum Sauk Mountain State Park are some of the best anywhere with yellows, reds, and the ever green pines.
Fortunately, the trail to Mina Sauk begins at the same place, so adding on that nice little 3 mile loop makes the drive up to the trailhead worth the effort.
According to the legend of Mina Sauk (the daughter of Chief Taum Sauk), a spring in the mountain which contributes to the flow of the falls was formed by a bolt of lightning sent by the Storm King. The chief of a hostile tribe who had made love to Mina Sauk was captured and killed and, according to the legend:
"... the young captive was thrown from ledge to ledge, being caught on the points of up-lifted spears. His grief-stricken bride, calling a curse down on her tribe, leaped from the highest ledge and was dashed to death beside the body of her slain lover. The Great Spirit invoked the Storm King, causing a cyclone to utterly destroy the people of Taum Sauk. A bolt of lightning striking the mountain top caused the stream of water to flow over the ledges into the gorge below, to wipe away the blood of the young lovers. On the banks of the stream sprang up flowers of crimson hue, which grows there today, by the overflowing water and which are known as Indian Pinks."
This information was excerpted from a book by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources titled "Geologic Wonders and Curiosities of Missouri". This is a must have book for outdoor adventurers in the Show-Me state.
This is a state park area, camping fees and permits are required.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.