Located west of Sainte Genevieve off
of Route 32, Hawn State Park is a pristine example of Missouri's eastern
Ozark sandstone country. Located at the eastern edge of the St. Francois
mountain range, this primitive park has some of the Missouri's most
beautiful and significant landscapes. The 4,953 acre park is located in
the LaMotte sandstone basin, an area of the state where exposures of
sandstone create unusual landscapes. The acidic soil of the area supports
lush upland forests of shortleaf pine, Missouri’s only native pine tree,
and hardwood stands of white oak, shagbark hickory, and red maple. In the
spring the flowering azalea and dogwood trees provide a
spectacular show. A diverse selection of flora and fauna can be found in
the park’s sandstone canyons and clear sand-bottom streams, many of
which are unique to the area. The initial acreage of the park was donated
in 1952 by Helen Coffer Hawn, a retired school teacher from nearby Sainte
the park is the 2,880 acre Whispering Pine Wild Area. On windy days a
whispering sound can be heard as the breeze rustles through the shortleaf
pines. Two trails have been constructed in this area. The Whispering Pine
Trail was constructed in 1976-77 with the help of the Ozark Chapter of the
Sierra Club and is considered one of the best hiking and backpacking
trails in the state. Consisting of two loops, the north loop is 6 miles
long and the south loop is 4 miles long, the trail allows day hikes of
varying lengths. Because of its size the area provides excellent
opportunities to observe nature. While on the trail, watch for many
species of birds, especially tanagers and warblers. Wild turkeys,
white-tailed deer, raccoons, gray squirrels and owls can also be seen
along the trails.
Pickle Creek Trail is a 1 mile long
trail that follows Pickle Creek, which is a shut-ins stream. The creek is
one of the state’s most unique Ozark headwater streams having carved its
course through the sandstone bedrock. In areas where the sandstone
overhangs the stream, a cool climate exists and plants more common to
climates farther north such as rattlesnake orchid, hay-scented fern,
partridge berry, and ground pine can be found. There are over 20 different
species of fish that can be found in the stream including the rare
silverjaw minnow. Hikers are asked to stay on the trails to minimize the
damage that can be done to the rare species of plants that can be found in
Hawn State Park is listed on the National Audubon Society's
River Birding Trail. They report that there are at least 84 species of
birds, 31 which are confirmed breeders. Historically, the area supports
Brown-headed Nuthatches, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, and Bachman's Sparrows. Henslow's Sparrows and Pine Warblers are common in the summer months.
The Missouri Audubon Society
checklist for birds that can be seen at the park.
Hawn State Park offers basic and electric
campsites. Services available include reservable sites, a dump station,
showers, water and laundry. Campsites 1-9 are open year-round. Campsites
10-50 are open April through October; from November through March,
campsites 10-50 are used only for overflow camping. For reservations,
there is a required two-night minimum stay on weekends from April through
October and major holidays from May 15 through Sept. 15.
camping fees and additional information visit www.mostateparks.com/camprates.htm
Visiting Hawn State Park
Summer Hours (On-Season)
From March 15 through November 14: 7:30 am to 9 pm
From November 15 through March 14: 7:30 am to sunset
From April through October, the Park office is open Wednesday - Sunday: 12
pm - 4 pm.
There is no charge to visit Hawn State Park.
Directions: Take I-55 to MO-32 (Sainte
Genevieve exit) and travel west to the park entrance (approximately
for the Park Office
N 37° 50.284'
W 90° 14.025'
for the Trailheads
N 37° 49.790'
W 90° 13.822'
Hawn State Park
The Overlook Trail is a
short paved asphalt trail that serves as an excellent
introduction to the geology and habitat of Hawn State Park.
The trail leads to a small overlook of Pickle Creek valley,
with a view of some of the pine and oak-covered hills in the
park. Along the path, you will find interpretive signage
about the pine woodlands and the Lamotte Sandstone that
forms the regions bluffs, knobs, and box canyons.
Pickle Creek Trail
This entire trail follows
Pickle Creek, a typical Missouri shut-ins stream. This type
of stream has carved its way through the surrounding
sandstone with the result of a clear, sandy-bottom creek
strewn with water-sculpted granite boulders and exposed
sandstone bluffs. The trail is a point-to-point hike,
although a loop hike is possible by returning on a portion
of Whispering Pine Trail that traverses the bluffs on the
opposite side of the creek.
Whispering Pines Trail
This trail is generally considered to be one of the best
hiking and backpacking trails in Missouri. The trail
consists of two loops that provide the opportunity for day
hikes of varying lengths or longer backpacking trips. The
trail leads beautiful mixed hardwood and pine forests.
Extensive exposures of sandstone and granite can be explored
along the banks of Pickle Creek and the River Aux Vases. The
North Loop is 6 miles long and the South Loop 3.75 miles
This trail crosses several
wet-weather creeks and has scenic views from large exposed
sandstone rock outcrops. The trail travels through a mixed
hardwood and shortleaf pine forest where deer, wild turkey,
and owls can be seen or heard.
Learn more about the Sainte Genevieve