Mainstream Adventures

When You Constantly Push Your Limits You Will Never Reach Them

This Underrated Missouri Town Should Be On Everyone’s Bucket List!

Just one-hour south of St. Louis on the edge of the beautiful Ozark mountains you will discover Farmington, Missouri. This quaint little town is surrounded by nine of Missouri’s most scenic state parks, challenging golf courses, an extreme off-road recreation area, hiking trails, and fifteen award winning vineyards and wineries. No matter your interests Farmington is the perfect destination!

Hawn State Park

One of the most popular sites in the area is Elephant Rocks State park. Elephant Rocks is one of the smaller state parks in the area with only about 150 acres to explore. However, there is so much to see and do you could spend an entire day hiking, climbing, and playing within the park. A favorite attraction at the park, is the Elephant Rocks for which the park is named. The Elephant Rocks are a series of boulders that look just like elephants lined up in a circus train. The largest stands over 27 feet tall and weighs in at 680 tons. This massive rock formation, has earned the moniker of Dumbo and is a popular attraction for children and adults alike.

Picture is owned by Kenny Dillingham

Another attraction in the area is Pickle Springs Natural Area. Pickle Springs is a 180-acre natural area that is registered as a National Natural Landmark. This hidden gem located just 13 miles outside of Farmington, is known for its unusual rock formations, wet weather waterfalls, spectacular canyons, and wide range of plant species. Pickle Springs is without a doubt one of the most diverse natural areas in Missouri.

Picture is owned by Midwest Hiking

It’s no secret that some of the best hiking locations in the Midwest can be found in the Missouri Ozarks, and Hawn State Park is certainly near the top of that list! The best way to explore the park is on one of its three named hiking trails! The Whispering Pines Trail is one of the most popular in the entire United States. There is also a gorgeous campground that lies beneath a canopy of lofty pines, and includes both basic and electric sites. 

Hawn State Park This Picture is owned by Doug Neidholdt

Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park is often referred to as a natural waterpark, and is a popular place to cool off during hot summer days. This unforgettable swimming hole is a must see for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike. Cool clear blue water, smooth rock waterslides and spectacular geological formations make Johnson’s Shut- In one of the most popular destinations in the region. There are also great campgrounds on-site and numerous well maintained hiking trails.

Picture is owned by Matthew Montgomery

St. Joe State Park is located in the heart of the old “Lead Belt” of southeast Missouri where much of the nation’s lead ore was mined for more than a century. Today, St. Joe is Missouri’s third largest state park, featuring four lakes, two swimming beaches, equestrian trails, a hiking and bicycling trail, a water trail and picnic sites, as well as two campgrounds. The highlight however is the more than 2,000 acres set aside for off road vehicle riding. These trails make St, Joe the premier off road course in the state.

St Joe State Park

Whether you are seeking a peaceful walk through the woods, a challenging trek in the Ozark Mountains, an off-road adventure, or even a relaxing visit to one of the many charming wineries you will discover it just outside Farmington.

This picture is owned by Justin Smith

Don’t Miss: The Bonne Terre Mine, is located just 20 minutes from Farmington, and is the largest fresh water dive resort in the United States! Bonne Terre Mine offers a variety of activities for the whole family including boat and walking tours, school group tours, scuba diving in the mines’ vast water system, and much more! 

Lodging: In Farmington, you can choose from a variety of locally owned and managed hotels that offer wonderful amenities and friendly hometown service. All of the hotels are located close to area attractions and just a short drive away from Missouri’s most premier wineries, beautiful state parks, and fabulous golf courses. For more information on local lodging, click here.

Pit Stop: Enjoy a picnic lunch and a glass of award winning wine or brew in the beautiful saltpeter cave, located beneath Cave Vineyard at 21124 Cave Road STE. Genevieve Mo.

Extended Play: Take in a round of golf in the moonlight at Pallo’s Par 3 Golf Course. With state-of-the-art lighting which fills the night sky, Pallo’s brings a new aspect to the game of golf.


Logistics: Farmington is located in St. Francois county, 60 miles south of St. Louis, in the southeastern corner of Missouri.

To plan an unforgettable weekend in Farmington visit: https://discoverfarmingtonmo.com

36 Comments

  1. That mine looks fantastic, and the winery too. I need to check Farmington out looks like neat place to visit.

  2. This is exactly what i need several parks all in one area. I will be planning a backpacking trip for early July and this looks perfect.

    • Not sure if it was mentioned in this article, but also check out Hickory Canyon in Ste. Genevieve County. Actually not too far from Pickle Springs and Hawn State Park

      • Yea the canyon does look nice, I’m planning on hiking hawn, pickle springs, elephant rocks, and the canyon. Shoud make an exciting trip. Thanks for the recommendation.

  3. This place looks fabulous, and its not a two day drive to get there.

  4. Hiw do u even find these places? Farmington wound never even be on my radar. For real though i can tell why u went here. Looks legit i need to get down this way. That elephant rock thing looks awesome.

  5. I have been to Johnson shut in twice. I need to hit up that trail at hawn, looks to be a good hike. Cool place i will be back for sure.

  6. I didn’t expect all this from a town called Farmington. Dirt roads and cows maybe, but never expected this many wineries and the beautiful parks.

  7. Doug Ellenberg

    June 6, 2019 at 1:38 am

    We do an annual family camping trip every summer. I would really like to stay at one of these parks just to experience someplace new. Do you have any information on the available sites or even a link i could check out? Thanks

  8. Oh wow, this sounds like such a neat little day trip we are always looking for new places to take the bikes out.

  9. We are planning on coming down over the 4th of July weekend! My husband and I love exploring new places. Farmington seems to have some nice variety, i can’t wait to see the sites! I will post some pictures when we get back.

  10. Guess i never realized Missiouri had so many great parks. We spend a lot of time hiking in Shawnee, guess we need to expand our horizons a little bit.

  11. So I’m getting ready to plan a trip down this way, where is the absolute best place to spend the night? Hotel/motel? Also wondering about dining are there any good steak houses or seafood restaurant’s in the area?

    • The Hampton Inn is very nice, and 12 West is a great dining option.

    • My backpacking trip was a big success. I hiked the trails at Hawn, Elephant rocks, pickle springs and hickory canyon. Hawn was by far my favorite of the bunch but they all had a lot to offer. Next year i want to go to the shut ins but i was out of time on this trip. Farmington is a nice area to visit however i will not recommend staying at the quality inn. Next year i will find something nicer. I’m posting pictures on alltrails.com of all the parks if anyone is interested. Thanks for turning my attention towards Farmington i had a great time.

  12. Do they rent the quads or do u need to bring your own? Is there jeep and dirt bike trails or just quads?

  13. That winery looks really cool!

  14. Any Rv parks near by?

  15. I know it’s a little further south, but you forgot to mention Sam A. Baker State Park. They have primitive and electric campsites and cabins! It’s an awesome campground. We have been going there since I was a kid!

  16. Farmington looks amazing! I see some great hiking in the area, is there any nightlife? Shows? Clubs? Live music? Etc Etc? Thank you!

    • Hi Mel, sorry it took so long to get back to you. I had to do some research. Actually the nightlife is quite good in Farmington! Some of the most popular locations are, Twin Oaks, Sand Creek, Crown Valley, Papas Vineyard, Charleyville, Chaumette or the Cave Winery. Crown Brewery is also a great choice. Many of the local wineries have live music and other events. Hope this helps, have fun!

  17. Last weekend We decided to take the bikes out for a ride and ended up In Farmington. Very nice relaxing small town, spent the night at the Hampton inn. It was about what u would expect from a Hampton inn. The next morning we rode out to elephant rocks and enjoyed a short hike. The park was very nice and hardly anyone was there. After the hike we decided to stop by the cave vineyard it was a little out of the way but well worth the trip. Next time we need to bring the car so we can take a few bottles home with us. Overall we had a nice experience and we will likely be back this fall.

  18. We decided to put our faith in you and spend our vacation in Farmington. We visited the Shut in hawn and pickle springs we also stopped by the bone bone tere mine and cave vineyard. We had a fun trip and saw some beautiful sites. Thanks for helping plan our trip is was a pleasent break from reality.

  19. We just spent our 3 year anniversary here. Stayed at the Hampton inn and enjoyed a picnic lunch at elephant rocks. It was great having most the park to ourself. We also got to visit the cave vinyard. Very pretty setting but the service wasn’t great. Hopefully next time we can hike tjrough one of other parks and visit that mine boat tour. I really enjiyed this destination article. You need to do more of these with all the local attractions. We love riad trips.

  20. I’ve been to all these hiking places ! Pickle Springs is my favorite I have been wanting to go to the winery in a cave 🍷maybe this month🍷

  21. This looks like such a neat area. I beat its beautiful in the fall.

  22. So many places to hike and play i love it

  23. Golf in the dark could be fun

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