Beautiful site, each walk-in was spread apart from each other. We loved it and cannot wait to go back.
So in the winter we can't stay away from the state parks and Johnson Shut Ins is a perfect base to explore the area when it is too cold to tent camp with kids. We got a camper cabin in the first weekend of December and brought our two dogs. The campground is mostly empty this time of year. The showerhouses are clean with hot water and there is a friendly host. We bought firewood at a gas station in Arcadia before we got to the park. Of course it was a little wet but burned OK. I wasn't sure if wood was available in the park because of limited facility openings during the offseason. We walked the Shut Ins trail one morning and it was misty and beautiful. No dogs allowed there though. There is some cell service on the cabin loop. My only complaint is other campers, who let their dogs run loose. Obviously not the park's fault. The cabins are clean and very nice with rockers on the front porch. We visited Elephant Rocks also, where dogs are allowed.
Water and electric at every site. Really nice bathrooms with recycle bins. Totally lanscaped.
Stayed on a Monday -Wednesday in a walk-in spot in loop 5. Every spot was occupied but park was maintained well and good time.
This has long been one of our favorite places to go as a family. The campground itself is perfect for families with lots of activities, especially during the summer months. Everything from walk in tent sites to full hook ups and even a few cabins. Book far in advance though! The Shut Ins themself are up the road from the actual campground and require a good hike back to actually get to the water. It’s all flat but you’ll still want to travel light. While the water area itself is beautiful you do need to be extremely careful. Especially with little ones. There are areas up top that you can hang out with children and let them swim without issue. But the shut ins themselves need to be navigated with caution. Overall this is one of our favorite parks in the state with plenty of fun for everyone!
The shut-in are a classic eastern MO destination with crystal clear water and beautiful bluffs. Campsite are less than 1.5 miles from the swimming area and are very clean and well maintained. Very nice visitors center with cool exhibits. General store at the campgrounds with limited hours. Word of caution.. the shut-in are for strong swimmers only! I would not recommend it for small children. The swimming area below the shut-ins however are fine. Water shoes a must!
Nice park. It’s a pretty long trek from parking to the swimming area with young children and all your gear. I recommend finding a nice pooled in area to swim in. Moving from pool to pool gets dicey. There are some awesome deep pools and “natural slides” but it definitely gets very slippery and you really have to watch the kids. Campground is pretty clean but average for state park.
I want to start by saying that this is an awesome sight to see and experience. With that being said, it is also hazardous and not easily accessible. The shut-ins are rock formations smoothed over by water. They are extremely slippery! Shoes are a necessity. The rocks also become very hot to the touch. There is no easy access to the swimming hole. You must climb up and down the hot, slippery rocks. It is not for the faint of heart, or anyone not physically capable of hoisting your own body out of the water, or small children who do not listen.
Despite these warnings, I was glad that my family was able to traverse the shut-ins. It was adventurous (and a little scary) but very cool to do.
The campsites are very nice. I don't mind the concrete pads they have for camping and parking. We have a camper but used cots when we tent camped so concrete was not a problem for us.
The kids loved the shut ins. We didn't even make it all the way to the back as it was a very long walk. We also visited some of the historical sites in the area.
Johnson Shut-Ins State Park is located on the Black River in Missouri, just south of St. Louis. This makes it a popular location on hot summer days, especially weekends. If you plan to go, make a reservation by calling toll free 877-ICampMO (877-422-6766). This is a State Park with about 80 walk-in, basic, electric, sewer/electric/water and equestrian campsites. Some of the sites have wooden platforms. The park also has a small store located in the center of the campground. Swimming is popular at the park. The “shut-ins” are rock formations where the river is limited by hard rock that it is cutting through. In these shut-ins, the river cascades over and around smooth-worn rock, creating a natural water park. There is also hiking and rock climbing.