Taum Sauk Mountain State Park
Taum Sauk Mountain State Park has both the tallest mountain in the state, as well as the highest waterfalls. The park has a campgrounds, and a paved trail to the high point, and a lookout tower at the top of the mountain.
Taum Sauk Mountain is names after chief Sauk-Ton-Qua of the Piankashaw Indians, who was called Taum Sauk. Sauk-Ton-Qua had a beautiful daughter, Mina Sauk, and she fell in love with a warrior from a warring tribe.When he was found with the chief’s daughter he was sentenced to death, and thrown off Taum Sauk Mountain. Stricken by grief, Mina Sauk threw herself off the same ledge to her death. A great spirit was moved by her actions, and split the earth, so that a flood of water came forth, washing the lovers’ blood off the mountain side.
Located two hours south of St. Louis, Taum Sauk Mountain State Park is located in the St. Francois Mountains rising over the Ozark Plateau. The mountains are in southeast Missouri, just outside of the Mark Twain National Forest.
Mina Sauk Falls
Mina Sauk Falls is located on Taum Sauk Mountain, and it is the highest waterfall in Missouri. Mina Sauk Falls can be accessed by the Mina Sauk Falls Trail, a three mile rugged trail from the high point on Taum Sauk Mountain through the woodlands to the top of Mina Sauk Falls. If you want to see water going down the falls, prepare your trip so that you can get there after a rain. When it is dry out, the waterfall could be just a trickle or not there at all.
The Ozark Trail runs 35 miles through Taum Sauk Mountain State Park and the St. Francois Mountains. The most popular part of the trail is the 14 mile stretch connecting Taum Sauk Mountain State Park and Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park. The trail starts with the Mina Sauk Falls Trail, and continues down the valley, through the Devil’s Tollgate and towards Johnson’s Shut-Ins.