Rural Missouri Magazine

Missouri's largest waterfall
Grand Falls, Joplin

by Heather Berry

One of Missouri’s least-talked-about wonders is located on Shoal Creek, just south of Joplin. Grand Falls, Missouri’s largest natural, continually flowing waterfall, is like a miniature Niagara Falls. On a breezy day, you’ll feel the mist hit your face. It’s exhilarating to find a natural, beautiful spot such as this on a warm summer day in the Missouri Ozarks.

You can climb down a bit of umber-colored chert, also known as flint, as you head toward this scenic stop. One of the widest waterfalls in the state, Grand Falls is caused by unusually thick layers of chert rock.

Although Missouri does have higher waterfalls, they don’t flow all year like Grand Falls. During high water, the height of the falls increases to roughly 25 feet.

As you walk toward Grand Falls, be sure to take in the beauty of the rock formations. The chert is often pocked with pools of water, making tiny natural swimming pools for frogs or small plants to grow and abide.

To reach the falls from the junction of Interstate 44 and Highway 86, go south one mile, cross Shoal Creek and turn right immediately after crossing the bridge. Follow the drive along the south bank of Shoal Creek for three more miles. Be on the lookout for the falls on your right. The approach from the north side is on private property.

For more information, contact the Joplin Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-657-2534.


Rural Missouri | June 2020 Issue

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