Review – Johnson Shut-ins Campground

A few weeks ago our troop camped at Johnson Shut-Ins State Park in southern Missouri. The campground was completely rebuilt following the Taum Sauk hydroelectric power station disaster in 2005.

The water rushing from the breached reservoir destroyed the old campground

In December 2005, the resevoir on top of Proffit Mountain breached, sending a 20 foot crest down through the park. The old campground was obliterated, but fortunately it being midweek in December there were no campers there at the time. The park superintendent and his family did get swept away and suffered serious injuries though. A good portion of the settlement money for the disaster paid for a new campground on property just to the north of the main park. The new facilities are very nice.

We camped in the special use area which is only for group camping. This is by far the nicest special use area I’ve ever seen at a Missouri state park. We had our own pavilion with plenty of tables, a fire ring, and several BBQ pits. The biggest treat of all – we had real bathrooms and a showerhouse right there. Most of the special use areas I’ve been to in the past have only had a latrine and you have to head over to the main campground if you want a showerhouse. This was luxury camping for Scouts! That was nice, because we had some first time campers with us and it made the experience a little easier for them. View some photos of the facilities.

There were lots of people at the Shut-Ins. It was beautiful weather for March - it was actually in the 80's. The water was still to frigid to go in though, so everyone was just perched on the rocks.

On Saturday we went on a day hike at Taum Sauk mountain. (Read about Taum Sauk Mountain State Park in this post.) On our way back, we stopped at the main part of Johnson Shut-Ins park and let the Scouts wade in the upper part of the shut-ins.

Overall, this was a great camping experience. Our troop is planning a float trip in August. The campmaster is considering floating the Black River, so we might use this campground again if it is available.

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