3 Iconic Ozark Mountain River Views That You Have to See in Person!

Whether you are a nature lover, a photographer, or just a fan of majestic scenery you should file these under “You have to see it to believe it!” What’s your favorite scenic spot in the Ozarks?

  1. Castor River Shut-Ins: Home to Missouri’s only pink granite shut-ins.

From Fredericktown take Highway 72 east about three miles to Highway J. Turn left (east) onto Highway J and continue for 4.6 miles to the junction with Highway W. Turn right (south) onto Highway W and go 2.4 miles to the end of the pavement. Turn left (east) on CR 208 and drive 1.1 miles to the junction with CR 253. Turn left (north) on CR 253 and proceed 0.9 mile to the parking area and trailhead on the right (east) side of the gravel road. The 1 mile Cedar Glade Trail follows a loop and brings visitors to the shut-ins and glades. Hunting and fishing are permitted.

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Castor River Shut-Ins. Image by Laura (Abernathy) Huffman for Population 91.
While exploring Castor River Shut-Ins save time to explore nearby Farmington and the stunning Arcadia Valley!

  1. Sugar Bowl, Devils Elbow: Once named as one of Missouri’s Eight Scenic Wonders.

From St. Louis take Interstate 44 west to Exit 169 Highway J. Make an (almost) immediate right (west) onto Highway Z, which is an old alignment of Route 66. At first crossroads turn left (south) onto Teardrop Road. Park near the legendary Elbow Inn & BBQ Pit and walk over the 1923 Devils Elbow Bridge across the Big Piney River. The dramatic limestone bluff will be on the left (south).

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Sugar Bowl, Devils Elbow. Image by Laura (Abernathy) Huffman for Population 91.
While enjoying the view at Devils Elbow explore Route 66. Pulaski County Tourism Bureau has a free brochure with turn by turn directions. Ask for their complimentary Visitors Guide also.

  1. Bloody Island Overlook, Painted Rock Conservation Area: The Osage Bluff Scenic Trail will lead you to a burial cairn and the majestic sweeping view of Bloody Island and the Osage River.

From Westphalia, take Highway 63 north, then Highway 133 west 7 miles to the area.

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Bloody Island Overlook, Painted Rock Conservation Area. Image by Laura (Abernathy) Huffman for Population 91.

While in Westphalia be sure to soak in the town’s German heritage. The street signs are in both English & German. Great food can be found at Westphalia Pizza Company or Westphalia Inn.

To see more images from Population 91 follow us on Instagram!

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