Rock Bridge State Park - Visual Journey...Missouri
 
   
Order Print
Rock Bridge State Park is located just south of Columbia, MO on Highway 163. It is named after the park's natural bridge which is actually a cave roof that remained after the rest of the cave collapsed. The park has three trails totaling 4.5 miles which can be used for hiking. Some trails may also be used for mountain biking. There are thirty-three picnic sites and a picnic shelter at the park.
During the 1820's the rock bridge was used by the farmers of Boone county as a location for a grist mill. To power the grist mill a small dam was created under the southern opening of the rock bridge using rock from a nearby bluff. Later a general store and a blacksmith shop were built nearby and the rock bridge became a location for the residents of the area to gather. The small quary nearby became a stage for plays and was used for political rallies. In the mid 1800's a paper mill was built and later McConathy Rye whiskey was produced in the area. When the distillery was destroyed by fire in 1889 the blacksmith shop and store were moved to a hill nearby, and called Pierpont, which means "Rock Bridge" in French.  
 
   
Order Print
 
 
   
Order Print
Rock Bridge State Park has many caves, streams, sinkholes, and underground waterways. Oceans covering the area 300 million years ago deposited layers of organic material which formed what is called the Burlington Limestone formation by geologists. Water coming up through this limestone bedrock caused openings to form. When these openings filled with water they created underground streams. Over the years some of these openings dried up and left caves in their place. When this happens near the surface, the surface collapses causing sinkholes. The Devil's Icebox is a double sinkhole that was created after the roof of a cave collapsed. It now is an entrance to the six mile underground cave system. This cave is only open to spelunkers who have obtained permission from the park superintendent to explore the cave. 

Park hours are from dawn till dusk year-round. For more information call the Park Office: 573-449-7402.
  Return to Visual Journey...Missouri