Castor River Shut-Ins Natural Area (Waterfalls and Hippo Rocks)

August 8, 2016

My friend Brenda, a school teacher, wanted to take one last summer visit to a Missouri natural wonder before going back to the classroom, so we headed out this morning for Castor River Shut-Ins Natural Area. Departure was the usual 4:00 AM so I could take advantage of the sunrise light. Upon arrival and a short hike, I crossed the river with my wading shoes so I could get a nice angle on the featured waterfall, during which time I slipped and hit the deck the first of three times for the morning.

After pulling my shoulder bag out of the water, I checked its contents, which included my wallet and a Canon 300 f/4 lens, and found them relatively dry. I was none the worse for wear, except for a few bruises and abrasions to my body and ego. The rest of the morning was one slip and slide after the other; it was downright impossible to find any traction along this ornery reach of stream. As Brenda watched from the shoreline, I’m sure her concern was buffered by amusement.

Castor River Shut-ins Natural Area is a part of Amidon Memorial Conservation Area, near Fredericktown. It features a narrow reach of salmon colored, granite boulders, not unlike those at Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park, and every bit as impressive. Some consider the boulders to be “elephant rocks” but I see them as “hippo rocks” because they are in the water and not quite as big as elephants. Although the site is not as popular as Johnson’s Shut-ins, I still recommend avoiding it on weekends unless you enjoy throngs of swimmers and sunbathers. This morning, as expected, we had the place to ourselves.



A hippo rock along the shut-ins reach. See what I mean?



A longer view of the Castor River cascading over and between the pink, granite bedrock.



The lower falls of Castor River Shut-Ins.

It was a perfect morning for a visit to this wonderful natural area. The clouds were persistent, allowing me more time to photograph the entire reach before the light became unacceptably harsh. We finally pulled ourselves away from this stretch of Missouri beauty to head back to a Huddle House we spotted on the way down. Brenda had left her house at 3:00 AM and neither of us had eaten any breakfast so a nice morning meal was in order. By the time I got home, I was ready for a nap. Although they had been sleeping all morning long, Salem and Lily, our two kitties, were happy to join me for a few hours of rest. Good times!

Thanks for looking,


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6 comments on “Castor River Shut-Ins Natural Area (Waterfalls and Hippo Rocks)”

  1. You might have slipped down in the river, but you didn’t slip up on the images! I’ll also wait for Brenda’s pics of this morning. I’m sure she must have been worried to see you falling…and relieved to see get up again. Thank you for the lovely account. I’m googling “Huddle House” now! Deepa.

  2. These are really beautiful images Danny.

  3. What a Beautiful place. I have to go there myself, sometime, and take a dip in that crystal stream. I am sorry that you had such a difficult time, with getting your footing, in the stream. I am glad that you are alright. Thank’s for sharing.

    Art Tilley

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