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Big Oak Tree State Park

Park Information

A visit to Big Oak Tree State Park is a visit to Missouri as the first explorers saw it. Towering hickory trees and oaks form a canopy that averages more than 120 feet in height and the soaring trees and marshy terrain translates visitors back to when southeast Missouri was dubbed “Swampeast Missouri.” The trees and wetlands make the park a prime place for wildlife as well as picnic sites and shelters that are shaded by trees that have seen centuries of history. A self-guided boardwalk trail and an interpretive center tell the story of this rich landscape.

Park Hours

Park Grounds:

6 a.m. to 10 p.m., year-round.

Park Office hours

  • Summer Hours (On-Season)
    April through September
    10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday
Sometime between 1936 and 1938, the Missouri State Society Daughters of the American Revolution published “The Old Tavern; Book of Recipes,” which contained more than 700 recipes from DAR members and the J. Huston Tavern at Arrow Rock State Historic Site. The recipes offered a unique glimpse into our food culture during the early years of the 20th century. On page 36 is a recipe for buttermilk biscuits: “Add to ½ sifter of flour, 1 scant tsp. soda, ¼ tsp salt, 2 level tsp. baking powder. Sift into mixing bowl. Cut in with fork 2 heaping tbsp. lard, 1pt. buttermilk. Turn onto floured board, knead to soft dough, Roll 3/8 inch thick. Bake in greased pan in hot oven. 30 biscuits.” You can try the recipe itself or enjoy the fine food served today at the J. Huston Tavern, the oldest continually operating restaurant west of the Mississippi. For more information, visit http://www.mostateparks.com/park/arrow-rock-state-historic-site.