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Washington State Park, De Soto

(3.8/5 based on 40 reviews on the web)
Washington State Park is a Missouri state park in the central eastern part of the state located on Highway 21 about northeast of Potosi on the eastern edge of the Ozarks. The park is noted for its Native American rock carvings and for its finely crafted stonework from the 1930s.Stone carvingsThe carvings, or petroglyphs, carved in dolomite rock, are believed to have been made around 1000 to 1600 C.E. and to give clues to the lives of the prehistoric Native Americans who once inhabited this part of Missouri. It is also believed that the park served as ceremonial grounds for these Middle Mississippi people who were related to the builders of the Cahokia Mounds in Illinois.Most of the carvings are of birds, arrows, footprints, turkey tracks, human figures, and various geometric shapes and patterns. The three petroglyph sites in the park are thought to be all that is left of a more extensive site. They make up almost 75 percent of the known petroglyphs in Missouri and contain over 350 symbols.Stone structuresThe park was built during the Great Depression of the 1930s by the African-American stonemasons of the Civilian Conservation Corps known as Company 1743. Their efforts left the park with the historical stone structures that still stand today: hiking shelters, picnic pavilions, and the stones that make up the 1,000 Steps Trail.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We just bought a camper this year and we have been using it a lot in Washington state park. Very quiet state park. 
  • Camp, swim, fish and hike. What's not to like. Most beautiful in the fall with all the trees turning. Just gorgeous! Camp ground is great and close to the pool. Or you can tent camp further away from ...  more »
  • This is a wonderful place to go for the day with lots of outdoor fun things to do. Make sure you visit the petroglyphs! 
Google
  • Great Park, Terrible Cabin Experience Stay: 10/29/16 Our extended family rented a 3 bedroom cabin for the weekend. It wasn't cheap, and frankly, the cabin was a DUMP. Cleanliness was questionable. Bed was as hard as a rock. The grounds were littered with cigarette butts. The "cabin" had an odor, and it wasn't from air-freshners. - it was just shy of nasty, and is in serious need of a major remodeling effort. - We were scheduled to stay for 2 nights, and left early, only staying 1. We bought firewood from the concession, and paid a lot of money for a very small amount of wood. If I had known, I would have brought my own. So, that is the "bad," here are the good points: - The park is beautiful and relatively peaceful. - Great hiking trails. - Pretty river. - Not too far from civilization. I'd recommend visiting the park, but would stay away from the cabins.
  • Good hike with petroglyphs, creek beds, and cliff overlooks to enjoy. Rocky Woods trail marked as 6, closer to 7 according to my GPS, is nice hike. Rocky and wooded, as advertised. I've been twice and the last time was the better of the two, due to ideal weather, overcast and cool.
  • Great atmosphere. Good for lounging next to river. Easily accessible with sparse visitors. Made for a relaxing and quiet experience.
  • Great little 1 bedroom cabin that we rented for the weekend. Very friendly staff, great pool and several really nice playgrounds for kids.
  • Great campground. Was quiet though full. Large lots. Basic sites could use a little TLC