MORRIS STATE PARK PHOTOS
Rising above the Bootheel area of southeast Missouri is a natural range of low hills called Crowley’s Ridge. Morris State Park preserves significant natural and cultural features within this region. Many plant species exist within the park and region. Many of these cannot be found anywhere else in Missouri.
Crowley’s Ridge was named after Benjamin Crowley. He was a participant of the War of 1812, as well as, one of the first settlers of the area. The ridge was a primary route of transport, as well as commerce for the people of the region for centuries. In 1999, Jim D. Morris donated 161 acres in this area to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. His wishes were that it could be protected for future generations to enjoy.
The intent of the department is to preserve this as a natural area representing this region known as Crowley’s Ridge. This region only exists in the Bootheel of Missouri, as well as, in parts of Arkansas and Tennessee. The uniqueness of the region, as well as the unusual soil types and rare plant species abound here. These all contribute to make this a prime area for research. It is also perfect for the application of natural and cultural preservation techniques vital to the department’s mission.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources wants to preserve the park’s natural integrity. For this reason, only minimal development of the park will exist.
Morris State Park’s 161 acres are located almost exclusively in Crowley’s Ridge. The natural landscape associated with the ridge harbors more than 300 different types of plant species. Some are native in Missouri only to Crowley’s Ridge. The uplands contain large white oaks, as well as, post and red oaks up to 26 inches in diameter. The middle to ground level layers of the forest contain such species as sassafras, red maple and dogwood.
A hiking trail allows visitors to take a closer look at this unique natural feature of our state. The trail extends through a large portion of Crowley’s Ridge. It will take visitors to the lowest point of the ridge. You will also see the park’s predominant feature. This is a very large soil exposure depicting the natural erosion of the alluvial soil layers typical of the ridge. The trailhead features an accessible walkway, as well as, interpretive panels that leads to an overlook. A restroom, as well as, parking area and water are also available for visitors.
PARK HOURS & FEES