14 Amazing Waterfalls in Missouri

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
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Missouri is a lush forest state with plenty of large cities.

The cliffs, bluffs, and rocky terrain create a plethora of great hiking spots.

With the Missouri River running through it and several creeks, the state is home to at least 14 amazing waterfalls that hikers will not want to miss.

They plunge, cascade, or slowly meander over the rocks.

1. Mina Sauk Falls

Mina Sauk FallsSource: Reggie Person / shutterstock
Mina Sauk Falls

Mina Sauk Falls is on the Taum Sauk Ozark Trail in Missouri.

The trail is 35 miles long and takes hikers through the St. Francois Mountains.

The section of Taum Sauk that includes the Mina Sauk Falls is 14.5 miles – winding between Taum Sauk Mountain State Park and Johnson’s State Park.

There are some easy and other more difficult sections to the trail.

Hikers will wander past oak, hickory and pine trees, and many rocky outcrops.

Mina Sauk Falls Trail is the beginning of the state park hike, where rocky terrain with rock steps will bring hikers to the highest waterfall in the state – 132 feet; it cascades and plunges down into Taum Sauk Creek.

2. City Garden Falls

City Garden FallsSource: Nichet / shutterstock
City Garden Falls

City Garden Falls are manmade and located in St. Louis, Missouri.

They are part of the sculpture park that can be found downtown.

Art, gardens, and fountains are other features of the park, including a path featuring 24 sculptures.

The waterfall was constructed near the children’s area and combined with a 180-foot pool.

The height of the falls is only six feet, making it a modest feature, but it is still a charming and peaceful place for visitors.

The path is flat and easy to walk around, and there are seats near the waterfall to take a load of and enjoy the picturesque scene.

3. Cotton Rocks Fall

Cotton Rock FallsSource: Lauren Hensley / Facebook
Cotton Rock Falls

Cotton Rocks Fall is close to Branson, Missouri.

Visitors can enjoy this entertaining town or get away from it all by taking the 2.3-mile trail through town up Roark Valley Road.

The trail’s entrance is at Westgate Resorts.

The path takes visitors parallel to the resort for a while before leading into the rocky, wooded area.

Hikers will walk alongside Roark Creek, up a few bluffs, and arrive at the falls.

Cotton Rocks Fall has a circulating pump installed to keep the water flow constant, even in dry season.

The trail is pet-friendly.

4. Marble Creek Falls

Marble Creek Falls is part of the Marble Creek Recreation Area and Mark Twain National Forest.

The creek is 20 miles long, rushing through most of the park area, which also includes camping and picnic tables.

Marble Creek Trail is ten miles long and great for hiking or mountain biking.

The trail connects to Taum Sauk in Ketcherside Mountain and is maintained by the state.

Visitors can begin on Crane Lake Loop and take the trail further along to see Marble Creek Falls.

The elevation gain is between 700 and 900, depending on where you start on the trail.

Close to the dam are the rock formations that create the falls.

5. Waterfall Park

Waterfall Park, Independence, MissouriSource: eodellphoto / shutterstock
Waterfall Park, Independence

Waterfall Park is a manmade park space in Independence, Missouri.

The waterfall is over ten feet high, with rocks stacked by people to create the river feature.

The water comes down over a little bridge that also allows the majority of the water to flow underneath.

Waterfall Park was designed for locals to enjoy a green space and includes walking trails, picnic areas, and a playground.

The walking trail is easy – mostly flat – while the waterfall feature makes for some charming photographs.

Further along the river is a tiny waterfall created by a natural rock dam; this smaller dam happens to be in Merriam, Kansas.

6. Dogwood Canyon Falls

Dogwood Canyon FallsSource: Jordan Schaefer / shutterstock
Dogwood Canyon Falls

Dogwood Canyon Falls is in Dogwood Canyon Park.

There is a park admission fee required for visitors, plus additional fees, depending on the activities you want to try out.

If you want to bring your dog along, there’s a $4 charge.

Hikers will need to purchase a walking pass to go along the 6.5 miles of walking trails.

The fees are used for the upkeep of the paved path and the guides who take visitors around the Dogwood Canyon Waterfall, the Amish bridge.

7. Big Piney Falls

Big Piney FallsSource: Shot Stalker / shutterstock
Big Piney Falls

Big Piney Falls offers rocky terrain with a waterfall, as part of Piney Falls State Natural Area.

Piney Falls has an upper and lower cascade that is fairly short for each.

The elevation gain is 383 feet.

The hike is two miles and it is not a loop-style trail.

Visitors can reach the waterfall from either Missouri or Tennessee; in fact, it is closer to Grandview, Tennessee, but well worth the hike across the state line to see the falls.

8. Rocky Waterfall

Rocky FallsSource: Scott Sanders / shutterstock
Rocky Falls

Rocky Falls has a long history – perhaps the most extensive one in the Ozarks.

The rhyolite porphyry – which is the reddish-brown rock – stains the waters an interesting color, but also helps date the surface to 1.5 billion years ago.

The rock erosion has brought the soil and old lava to the surface.

The stream has a quick flow, most would consider it a river, but it is known as a creek to the locals.

Rain makes the water even more rapid magnificent; there is even a little pool that forms at the bottom of the gently sloping waterfall.

9. Forest Park Falls

Forest Park Waterfall in St. LouisSource: Weidman Photography / shutterstock
Forest Park Waterfall in St. Louis

Forest Park waterfall is in Forest Park, which is a manmade area near St. Louis, Missouri’s Children’s Hospital and Art Museum.

Forest Park is a historic park space, with the river running through it, plenty of hiking trails, and even Pagoda Circle.

Some call the waterfall ‘Forest Park Falls’, while others call it ‘Flegel Falls.

’ The Flegel Falls were built in 1937 and were meant to mimic the World’s Fair Cascades that were once on Art Hill.

The waterfall is short but beautiful in terms of landscaping and the pool beneath.

Visit the park and take the long hike around to find the falls.

10. Hickory Canyons

Hickory CanyonsSource: Jeri Kropp / Facebook
Hickory Canyons

Hickory Canyons is on the Hickory Canyons Natural Area Trail.

The waterfall is at its most beautiful after rain.

Hikers will be led to the end of a 0.5-mile track to arrive at the waterfall.

There are a few rocky bluffs as hikers continue along the path.

The rock cliff is in a step style, which keeps the cascades from being a direct plunge.

11. Meramec Falls

Meramec FallsSource: Emily Heart / shutterstock
Meramec Falls

Meramec Falls in Meramec State Park occur on the Meramec River.

The flow of the river helps it go over bluffs to pools beneath.

The state park has caves and verdant forest land, making it a great place for a day-long visit.

Guests can enjoy more than 13 miles of hiking trails that range in difficulty from easy to moderate.

Whether one is interested in walking or not, there are also swimming, fishing, rafting, and boating activities available.

Meramec Spring is the 5th largest in the state – close to St. James.

The James Foundation runs the springs, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim after hiking around the waterfall and various other trails.

12. Grand Falls

Grand FallsSource: Jeffrey L Watson / shutterstock
Grand Falls

Grand Falls are near Joplin, Missouri.

The falls run along Shoal Creek.

Although the word ‘creek’ implies a small area of water, the creek is extremely wide.

A natural dam helps the water slow down over a smooth surface before it returns to rockier terrain and falls again down a shorter outcrop of limestone.

The wide expanse creates an interesting flow, with swirling pools of water.

13. Hodgson Mill Waterfall

Hodgson Mill WaterfallSource: Keiki / shutterstock
Hodgson Mill Waterfall

The Hodgson Mill Waterfall is part of the Old Hodgson Mill in Dora, Missouri.

The waterfall is a natural element that helped the sawmill transport the milled wood down the creek.

Visitors can take Missouri Highway 181 to Hodgson Mill, a 19th century mill.

The waterfall is less than five feet high, but the smooth rock surface keeps it flowing smoothly.

It is easy to reach the waterfall from the mill parking area.

There is also a great photo opportunity with the mill nestled prettily behind the falls.

A natural pool lies at the top of the falls, which then flows into a rockier surface below, churning up a little water spray.

14 Amazing Waterfalls in Missouri:

  • Mina Sauk Falls
  • City Garden Falls
  • Cotton Rocks Fall
  • Marble Creek Falls
  • Waterfall Park
  • Dogwood Canyon Falls
  • Big Piney Falls
  • Rocky Waterfall
  • Forest Park Falls
  • Hickory Canyons
  • Meramec Falls
  • Grand Falls
  • Hodgson Mill Waterfall