This post is one in a series of 52 posts featuring a Missouri State Park of the Week for each week in 2015. To find all Missouri State Parks of the Week posts simply click here, or visit the “Outdoor Adventure” category on the homepage. Happy exploring in 2015 and enjoy the show!
If the state gave an award for the quietest park, Big Sugar Creek State Park might win it.
The park is off a backroad of McDonald County near Pineville in the far southwest corner of Missouri. Once you arrive at the small parking lot, you hear no drone of a distant interstate. Indeed, you hear no evidence of civilization.
The park has one trail – the 3.25-mile Ozark Chinquapin Trail, which follows creek beds piled with white slabs of limestone up a forested ridge, and back down.
The park is in a wilderness setting that is a refuge for the plants and animals that live there, and a treat for the hikers and backpackers who visit them.
A vault toilet is at the parking lot, but there are no other manmade improvements at the park.
The mature forests demonstrate how prescribed burns, which mimic naturally occurring wildfires, maintain the open character of the woods with grasses and wildflowers in the understory.