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Nestled among the highest mountains in the Missouri Ozarks, Arcadia Valley is known for beautiful vistas, lakes and streams, rocky gorges and many hiking trails.  The valley is home to the cities of Arcadia, Ironton and Pilot Knob, all founded in the 1800s. Each retains its own charm and personality. Because of its elevation, clean air, and the rolling mountains that surround it, the Valley has been compared to the rolling mountains of New England.

Iron County Courthouse

At the heart of Arcadia Valley is the historic red brick Iron County Courthouse.  It was built in 1860, and during the Civil War was used as a hospital. The façade bears the marks of cannon fire damage from the War between the States. This magnificent antebellum structure is Iron County’s first and only courthouse and is listed on the National Historic Register. (click images to enlarge)

Battle of Pilot Knob

The Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site commemorates the Battle of Pilot Knob. The fight took place when Confederate Major General Sterling Price swept north through Missouri in September 1864 towards St. Louis. He attacked the fort, which guarded the iron mines and the railroad that carried iron to St. Louis for gunboats and industry.  The site details the bloody battle between Price’s forces and the greatly outnumbered Union troops led by General Thomas Ewing Jr. and the daring late-night evacuation of his small force. Exhibits display artifacts, fascinating photos of individual soldiers, some posed with an array of guns, and letters that give intimate glimpses into the thoughts of the men.  Every three years–the next in September, 2020–Civil War buffs re-enact the battle, complete with uniformed soldiers, horses, tents and artillery. (click images to enlarge)

Elephant Rocks State Park

The valley’s landscape is deceptively pastoral since the hills are actually quite rocky. Ancient granite from 1.5 billion years ago juts from hillsides and caps mountain tops. At Elephant Rocks State Park, this exposed granite has eroded into amazing pachyderm-sized boulders. A paved one-mile Braille trail winds through the boulders. Signs in Braille and English point out touchable features along the trail such as stoneworkers’ names carved into the granite and a curved iron rod for anchoring a crane that lifted granite blocks from a quarry. Granite from the quarry was used to build streets in St. Louis and the pillars at the Governor’s mansion.  (click images to enlarge)

Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park

Canyon-like shut-ins, talus slopes and open glades are the principal features of this area.  A short walk will enable visitors to see the rhyolite rock that originated from volcanic eruptions.  The flow of water from the East Fork of Black River along fractures in the ancient rocks has carved the nearly vertical gorge which is a great place to swim in the summer. (click images to enlarge)

Taum Sauk Mountain State Park & Mina Sauk Falls

Nearby Taum Sauk State Park claims Missouri’s highest point at 1,772 feet–not spectacular by Western standards, but it produces a nice view. A loop trail leads to the highest point and to the state’s highest wet-weather waterfall, Mina Sauk Falls.  The Taum Sauk section of the Ozark Trail passes through the park and continues on 12.8 miles to Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park, where the East Fork of the Black River flows through a narrow section of hard volcanic rock.  (click images to enlarge)

Millstream Gardens

Dramatic rushing waters cascade through Millstream Gardens Conservation Area offering breathtaking views of the St. Francis River. Through boulder-strewn shuts-in, the river provides a spectacular setting for the annual Missouri Whitewater Championship Races each spring. Kayaking enthusiasts from around the globe, armed with their skills, challenge its untamed waters. (click images to enlarge)

Black River

Located about 15 minutes from the Valley, floating on the Black River is a tranquil treasure not to be missed. Experience a relaxing trip through the shimmering waters of Missouri’s clearest stream. Seasoned and first-time floaters alike can choose from canoes, rafts, tubes or kayaks. From a misty morning rendezvous to a festive group float in the sun-drenched afternoon, Black River caters to your every whim.  (click images to enlarge)

Immanuel Lutheran Church

The Historic Immanuel Lutheran Church in Pilot Knob was constructed in 1861, inspired by German immigrant August Gockel. When the Battle of Pilot Knob began on September 26, 1864, the church was taken over by the Northern Army and used as a headquarters and hospital. A book that was used to copy,  send and receive telegrams during the war, is still in their possession. The church still has its original hand-hewn pews, altar, chandeliers, pull down coal oil lamps, crucifix and candleholders and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.  (click images to enlarge)


Ironton’s Bike Park is an exciting new downhill park located in the rolling hills of Southeast Missouri.  With trails for different skill levels, combined with great local amenities and attractions, riders can do much more than ride a great park.

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