Famous Missouri Landforms


Missouri, or the Show-Me State, is a gateway to the Midwest combining southern and Midwest culture in a unique blend. It was the 24h state to be added to the United States. Missouri is home to several famous natural landforms such as the Ozark Plateau, St. Francois Mountains, the Mississippi River, and the Missouri River.

Ozark Plateau

  • The Ozark Plateau is a highland area of roughly 50,000 square miles extending into four states: Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas. In Missouri, the Ozark Plateau is located in the central and southern areas of the state. This plateau is often referred to as the Ozark Mountain Range as well, but due to weathering, it is more rolling plains except for the higher Boston Mountains. Branson is a popular tourist attraction located in this region.

St. Francois Mountains

  • The St. Francois Mountains contain the highest elevation point in Missouri, Taum Sauk Mountain. This is the location of state parks, forests, local wildlife, hiking trails, and more. These mountains also house Missouri's tallest wet-weather waterfall, Mina Sauk Falls. Visitors can explore St. Joe State Park which has miles of bike and equestrian trails and plentiful trails for cross-country skiing. Elephant Rocks State Park is a popular attraction for children who have the opportunity to climb rocks and name rock formations shaped like elephants.

Mississippi River

  • The Mississippi River is one of the most famous rivers in the United States covering parts of 31 of the 48 continental states. The Mississippi River runs along the eastern border of Missouri. It meets up with the Missouri River and forms the largest drainage area along its route in this state. Visitors can explore the Great Rivers Scenic Byway where the Mississippi, Illinois, and Missouri rivers all join.

Missouri River

  • The Missouri River is a tourist destination and flows through the Missouri National Recreational Park. It is home to several endangered species. It once ushered Lewis and Clark and fur trappers. For advanced canoe paddlers, the Missouri offers opportunities to canoe depending on river conditions. Bow Creek Recreation area is available for camping. Campers must hike or boat to this destination and honor the parks "leave-no-trace" policy.

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  • Photo Credit missouri outline image by Kim Jones from Fotolia.com
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