Hidden away in rural Madison County, Missouri, is one of the most breathtaking places you can find in southeast Missouri. While our leaves begin to change here in the midwest and everywhere is a work of art, Castor River Shut-ins also known as Amidon Memorial Area looks like a painting I would hang on my wall.
Every year I sneak away to the shut-ins for a family road trip and fall hike with my kids. The cool, crisp water tumbling over the rocks, the reflection of the trees in the water, and the echo of the birds chirping in the trees makes me feel like I am at peace.
Castor River Shut-ins is located on a back road in the middle of nowhere, but that is what makes it so unique. It is isolated from the everyday world and truly brings you back to nature. To be fair, as I sat down and begin to write this article, I could not accurately describe the beauty of the shut-ins, so I am just going to share my photos from our last trip there.
From Fredericktown take Highway 72 east about three miles to Highway J. Turn left (east) onto Highway J and continue for 4.6 miles to the junction with Highway W. Turn right (south) onto Highway W and go 2.4 miles to the end of the pavement. Turn left (east) on CR 208 and drive 1.1 miles to the junction with CR 253. Turn left (north) on CR 253 and proceed 0.9 mile to the parking area and trailhead on the right (east) side of the gravel road.
Things to know before you go to the Castor River Shut-ins
The shut-ins is very family friendly and great for an afternoon picnic, but it is also very isolated and rugged; you must be prepared when you go.
The rocks are very slick, water shoes are suggested.
There are few or no facilities on site.
The hiking trails are very rugged, I would say it is not wheelchair, stroller, or handicap friendly.
You are in the middle of nowhere, there is limited cell service (which could be a nice little break for some).
You will want to pack your camera.
Swimming and camping are permitted at the Shut-ins.
The site is not staffed, it is operated by the Missouri Department of Conservation, but there is not normally any staff there.