Everything You Need to Know About Mina Sauk Falls 

Last updated on July 9th, 2023 at 05:11 am.

Mina Sauk Falls is a stunning waterfall located in Missouri’s Taum Sauk Mountain State Park. Mina Sauk Falls, widely regarded as Missouri’s most beautiful waterfall, is a breathtaking natural wonder that attracts visitors from all over the region to witness its breathtaking beauty. On this adventure, you can play in the water, rock hop, and connect to the Ozark Trail for an even longer adventure.

The waterfall is situated in a remote and rugged part of the park, and the journey to reach it is as much a part of the experience as the falls themselves. One of the more popular hikes in Missouri, the falls are a true gem of the Missouri wilderness and a must-see for anyone visiting the area.

Mina Sauk Falls
Photo Credit: Missouri State Parks

Where is Mina Sauk Falls?

Mina Sauk Falls is located within Taum Sauk Mountain State Park, which is situated in the St. Francois Mountains of southeastern Missouri. It’s just 30 minutes from both Elephant Rocks State Park and Johnson’s Shut-Ins.

The park covers over 7,000 acres of rugged and remote wilderness, including parts of the highest peak in Missouri, Taum Sauk Mountain.

Mina Sauk Falls is located near the summit of Taum Sauk Mountain, in a scenic and secluded part of the park that offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

From St. Louis it is a a 1 hour and 45 minute drive to the trail head.

Parking for Mina Sauk FAlls Trail

There is a designated parking lot for the Mina Sauk Falls Trailhead located within Taum Sauk Mountain State Park. The trailhead and parking lot are easily accessible from Missouri Route CC, which runs through the park.

When driving to the trailhead, visitors should look for signs directing them to the Taum Sauk Mountain State Park and follow the signs to the parking area for the Mina Sauk Falls Trailhead. The parking area is located near the start of the trail and offers ample parking for hikers and visitors.

It is important to note that the parking lot to the main trail may become crowded during peak hiking seasons, so it is recommended to arrive early to secure a parking spot. Additionally, visitors should take care to observe all posted parking regulations and be respectful of other hikers and visitors when entering and exiting the parking lot.

The hike to Mina Sauk Falls

To reach the falls, visitors can access the Mina Sauk Falls Trail, which is located at the end of the park’s main access road. The trailhead is well-marked and has ample parking. The trail to the falls is approximately 3 miles round-trip and is a loop trail. It is rated as strenuous due to its rocky and steep terrain.

The average time for the hike is about 1 hour and 15 minutes. However, the rugged and rocky terrain of the trail can make it more challenging for some hikers, so it’s important to come prepared with sturdy footwear and plenty of water.

The trail head starts at an elevation of approximately 1,225 feet and climbs up to the falls, which are located at an elevation of around 1,570 feet. This means that there is a total elevation gain of approximately 345 feet over the course of the hike,

In wet weather, hikers may encounter water crossings along the trail, so it’s important to be cautious and follow any posted warnings or guidelines. Despite the challenges, the hike is well worth the effort, offering stunning views of the surrounding wilderness and culminating in the breathtaking Mina Sauk Falls.

The Mina Sauk Falls Trail also provides access to the Taum Sauk Section of the Ozark Trail, which runs together with the Mina Sauk Falls Trail for approximately one mile. This provides hikers with the opportunity to extend their adventure and explore even more of the beautiful wilderness in the area.

The park covers a diverse range of ecosystems, including forested hillsides, rocky outcrops, and clear mountain streams.

Mina Sauk Falls Height

Mina Sauk Falls is 132 feet in height and is the tallest waterfall in the state of Missouri. The falls consist of a series of cascading ledges, with the two largest drops each measuring around 30 feet high.

Despite its impressive size, Mina Sauk Falls is only active in wet weather and known as a wet weather waterfall.

This is because Taum Sauk Creek, which feeds the falls, does not carry a significant amount of water throughout the year. However, during periods of heavy rainfall, the falls can become a truly stunning sight to behold, as water tumbles down the rocky ledges and creates a mesmerizing misty spray.

Visitors to Mina Sauk Falls can enjoy the falls from a variety of viewpoints, including from the base of the falls, where the rushing water creates a cool and refreshing mist, or from higher up on the surrounding hillsides, which provide breathtaking views of the falls and the surrounding wilderness.

Geology of the Area

The geology of the area surrounding Mina Sauk Falls and Mina Sauk Falls loop is quite interesting and varied. The falls are located in the St. Francois Mountains, which are the oldest mountain range in North America. The rocks in the area are primarily Precambrian igneous and metamorphic rocks, which are some of the oldest rocks in the world.

The St. Francois Mountains are believed to have formed during a period of intense tectonic activity that occurred over a billion years ago. The rocks in the area were subjected to extreme heat and pressure, causing them to be transformed into their current igneous and metamorphic state.

In addition to the ancient rocks, the area around Mina Sauk Falls also features a number of interesting geological formations, including exposed granite and rhyolite formations, as well as unique rock formations created by weathering and erosion over time.

Overall, the geology of the area adds an additional layer of intrigue and natural beauty to the already impressive natural surroundings, making it an ideal destination for anyone interested in exploring the geological wonders of Missouri’s wilderness.

Other Popular Hikes at Taum Sauk

In addition to the Mina Sauk Trail, Taum Sauk Mountain State Park offers several other popular hikes for visitors to enjoy. One of the most well-known is the Devil’s Tollgate Trail, which takes hikers on a winding path through some of the park’s most beautiful and rugged terrain.

Along the way, visitors can enjoy a breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape and discover hidden gems like the Devil’s Tollgate, a unique rock formation that has become a favorite among park visitors.

Other favorite hikes in the park include the Ozark Trail, which winds through the heart of the park and offers stunning views of the valley below, and the White Oak Trail, which takes hikers through a beautiful forested area filled with wildflowers in spring and early summer.

Nearby Camping and Lodging

There are a variety of camping and lodging options available near Mina Sauk Falls.

Camping is a popular option, with several campgrounds located within Taum Sauk Mountain State Park, including the Ozark Trail Taum Sauk Section Campground and the Taum Sauk Mountain Campground. Both of these campgrounds offer basic amenities, such as tent and RV camping sites, fire pits, and picnic tables, as well as easy access to the Mina Sauk Falls Trail and other nearby hiking trails.

For those who prefer more traditional lodging options, there are several nearby hotels and cabins available for rent, such as the Arcadia Valley Cabins and the nearby town of Pilot Knob, which has several bed and breakfasts and small motels like the Shepherd Mountain Inn.

Overall, whether you prefer camping under the stars or the comfort of a cozy cabin, there are plenty of options available to help you fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty and outdoor adventure of the Mina Sauk Falls area.

Additional Outdoor Fun Near Mina Sauk Falls

There are a variety of other nearby attractions to explore on your return trip, such as Elephant Rocks State Park and Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park, which offer additional camping and lodging options, as well as stunning natural landscapes and recreational activities.

Wrapping it Up

Taum Sauk Mountain State Park offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore Missouri’s highest point and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding natural landscape. With short and paved trails leading to the top of the falls and longer, more challenging routes like the Mina Sauk Trail, there is something for hikers of all skill levels.

Along the way, visitors can enjoy stunning views of the park and the surrounding area, as well as learn about the rich cultural history of the region. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a more rocky route, the park’s diverse trail system offers the perfect time to experience the beauty of Taum Sauk Mountain and all it has to offer.

Mina Sauk Falls FAQ

Is Mina Sauk Falls the highest waterfall in Missouri?

Yes, Mina Sauk Falls is the highest waterfall in Missouri and drops 132 feet.

Can you see the waterfall from the top of Taum Sauk Mountain?

Taum Sauk Mountain is 1,772 feet above sea level and is Missouri’s highest point. From here you can see Mina Sauk Falls from the summit, where there is a stone observation tower that offers panoramic views of the park and the surrounding area.

What is the best time of year to hike to Mina Sauk Falls?

The best time to see the falls flowing is after a period of heavy rain or snowmelt, which typically occurs in the spring or early summer.

Important Items to Consider Bringing on a Hike

hiking boots

Bringing these items on any hiking in Missouri adventure, you’ll be better prepared for any unexpected situations that may arise, and you’ll increase your chances of having a safe and enjoyable hiking experience.

  • Water: Staying hydrated is crucial while hiking, so bring enough water for the duration of your hike.
  • Food: Bring enough snacks or meals to keep your energy levels up throughout the hike. My favorite snack to bring are the Rise high protein bars, plus a bag of nuts and dried fruit.
  • Navigation tools: Bring a map, compass, or GPS device to help navigate the trail.
  • First-aid kit: It’s always a good idea to have a basic first-aid kit in case of minor injuries or accidents or even blisters on your feet.
  • Sun protection: Bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.
  • Warm clothing: Even on a warm day, the weather can change quickly, so bring a warm layer just in case.
  • Emergency shelter: In case of unexpected weather or an emergency, bring a lightweight emergency shelter, such as a tent or bivy sack.
  • Lighting: Bring a flashlight or headlamp, even for daytime hikes, in case your hike goes longer than expected.
  • Communication devices: Bring a fully charged cell phone or a two-way radio for emergencies.
  • Personal locator beacon: For remote hikes or more dangerous terrain, consider bringing a personal locator beacon that can send a distress signal to emergency services if needed.

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