Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park Trail

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Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park

Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park Trail is a 2.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Lesterville, Missouri that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 2.5 miles Elevation Gain: 328 feet Route Type: Loop

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

partially paved

river

views

wild flowers

no dogs

A wheelchair-accessible .30-mile trail leads to an observation platform over the flowing waters of the shut-ins. The trail becomes more difficult, continuing up a stairway. Entering the East Fork Wild Area, Shut-Ins Trail follows natural tread through oak-hickory forest and small glade clearings, eventually returning to the main parking lot. This somewhat loop trail involves some short rocky climbs and a long series of stairs. You may also encounter some water crossings in wet weather. This trail is for day-use hiking only. No pets are allowed on Shut-Ins Trail.

The Shut Ins is the best part of this trail. Breathtaking view & the water is quite refreshing on a hot day. Most of the trail is rocky. Recommend hiking shoes. Great hike!

hiking
muddy
23 days ago

Great trail! Easy side of moderate. Beginning is paved/ wooden planks w stairs

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Great hike! The blue trail starts when you leave the bridge/boardwalk. From there you hike up and up and up on a small trail that is not paved. Beautiful views. When you loop around and finally start to descend the blue trail isn’t as easily marked. Just keep following the clearest path that has been cut through the vegetation. There are a few spots that bring you right to the river when you descend and it’s beautiful!

hiking
1 month ago

I really enjoyed hiking on this trail last week. The walk along the boardwalk is very scenic, and the views only seem to get better once you get onto the trail. I really enjoyed getting to smell the evergreen trees that we don’t have much of in the city along the upper part of the trail. Very excited to come back and enjoy a dip in the river when it gets warmer.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Very unique Missouri hike. The path was rocky with sharp elevation gain here and there, nothing too crazy. Every view was beautiful, there was always something to look at. The trail took you high on the bluff through rocks, down through the trees and by the water. Would recommend!

One of my favorite MO trails, with one caveat - visit in the off-season. The shut-ins are like a theme park during the summer. During our visit in early April we only passed 5 other hikers. The trail follows the bluff overlooking the river, before dropping down alongside the river. Views from the bluff are beautiful - the shut-ins truly are one of the coolest things this state has to offer. The trail itself is very enjoyable, even if it weren’t for the scenic views. This is a location I’ve been to many times, but never hiked the trails - I wish I had done so sooner. The is a park I’ll return to time and time again.

hiking
2 months ago

My son and I hiked this trail in June. Nice and hot. We capped it off with a swim in the river at the end, which was simply amazing. Highly recommended.

hiking
3 months ago

My husband proposed to me in the river. He almost dropped the ring but recovered nicely! The hike was easy and the water was nice. A little bit crowded but we went further down to where we were the only ones around. The rocks were really cool there, too. There were some that were purple and orange and red... I’d recommend this hike, even if you have little ones. Just be careful when climbing the rocks, my husband saw a huge snake. Thankfully he was up front and I didn’t see it. I’m terrified of them.

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
snow
4 months ago

Finished the shut ins trail today, a few nice waterfalls on the way, nothing mind blowing, but nice. Some of the terrain was slick and treacherous, I can't say that it would be to kid friendly going the whole span of the trail. The shut ins are beautiful and were where we spent most of our time taking pictures. I enjoyed this trail a lot. I'm sure I'll do it again when it's not so icy.

hiking
6 months ago

Boardwalk makes accessibility easy. Stunning views, rushing river sounds ~ can’t beat it.

hiking
rocky
8 months ago

Second time at Johnson’s, I brought my husband because I wanted him to experience it. The nature center should be everyone’s first stop. They really did a spectacular job. There is a giant 3D map showcasing the St. Francois Forest area topography to help you understand the formations. The shut-ins have been busy both times I’ve gone but it hasn’t stopped my group from doing all the things we wanted to do. There is a short paved trail leading from the parking lot to the water with a bathroom along the way. At the end, you can follow a staircase down to the rocks or admire everything from the boardwalk lookout area. The rocks are very smooth, I’ve seen all ages playing and jumping around on them. Once your feet or shoes get wet it is very difficult to keep jumping around so be careful of that. Last, my one critique is that I wish visitors would be more conscious of the litter. Teach kids to be responsible and parents may need a reminder too. Signs posted say no eating in the park but I have seen food wrappers to beer cans wedged between rocks. Also beach towels, floaties, socks, water shoes. It kind of smelled like a dirty diaper in some places because of the trash mixed with a hot day.

hiking
over grown
rocky
8 months ago

I hiked the trail backwards, so I didn't see the shut-ins until the very end of my hike. The shut-ins was a nice little reward for the end, but the hike was pretty steep going backwards. Would've been a lot easier starting at the shut-ins. Some of the steep parts would be pretty difficult for people with mobility issues or anyone without proper shoes. The trail around the shut-ins was pretty overgrown and there was a lot of little trails leading to the river below the shut-ins. The actual trail was pretty empty, and I only ran into two other groups on it. Go during the week, and plan for a little extra time to take in the view at the top and to sit by the river.

hiking
over grown
rocky
8 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

I will be coming back for sure

hiking
over grown
rocky
8 months ago

Great trial! I should have had hiking shoes, but it was good! Glad I read the trail was reallly over grown. Just keep going 10-15 minutes and you'll see the blue markings again.

hiking
9 months ago

This was a fairly enjoyable hike, took me a little over an hour to complete. I was glad I wore my hiking boots. Follow the blue markers. I did the hike counter-clockwise which took to me to the shut-in’s at the very end. I didn’t go in though, it was pretty crowded (Labor Day) and I wondered about the bacteria levels.. overall not a bad hike.

It was a nice hike had some very beautiful views there was just a few spots where the grass was over the trail and we missed a trail marker but did not go too far before we noticed The best part was the after hike swim it was a hot day and we got to cool off in the water before the drive home My recoding is a little messed up because I did not hit record till we hiked a little ways and then I forgot to stop it after it was over and we were going to swim

hiking
rocky
10 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

Trail was nice, just a little too public for my liking. Be prepared to endure crowds for the first part until you hit the actual dirt trail.

hiking
over grown
10 months ago

Fun, quick hike (75-100min) before enjoying the Shut-Ins. Beautiful views of the shut-ins and interesting and varied but not-too-difficult terrain. Sections of loose rock, so trail shoes are recommended. Tall, overgrown grass for about .20 before ascent/after descent depending on starting point.

hiking
10 months ago

Really easy, enjoyable trail. The shut-ins are fascinating and very refreshing in the summer!

hiking
rocky
10 months ago

Definitely a bit more difficult climb in areas. The trail itself after the swimming hole had a lot of spider webs across the path so I'm not sure how frequently people take the full hike. Blue markers for the trail were a little confusing in places but we followed the AllTrails map just fine. Beautiful views.

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