Description - **Note: This information was provided by www.mostateparks.com.
Driving along the rural highways in southeast Missouri, travelers may notice an abundance of farmland. Amid this farmland though, near East Prairie, 1,029 acres of the area's original landscape has been preserved and stands out above the rest. This island of trees in a sea of agriculture is known as Big Oak Tree State Park.
Flood plains covered with giant trees that once greeted early explorers to the "Bootheel" region of the state have been preserved in Big Oak Tree State Park. Trees within the park are unsurpassed in the state for size, with six qualifying as state champions of their species and two registered as national champions. Beneath the trees lies a luxurious undergrowth of woody vines that flourish in the swampy land. Large baldcypress trees with their unique "knees" make their home in the park's cypress swamp, the only one of its kind in the state park system.
A boardwalk traverses through the park, providing access to the park's unique landscape. An interpretive center near the boardwalk provides educational displays explaining the natural history of the park. With more than 150 species of birds, several considered rare in the state, the park is a favorite with bird watchers. After a nature hike through the forest, visitors can enjoy a picnic lunch under the open shelter or at one of many picnic tables nestled beneath the lofty trees.
- One picnic shelter is available for use and can be reserved for $30 per day. If not reserved, the shelters are available at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis. Occupancy is approximately 75 people. Two large grills, electricity and water are available at the shelter. Ten picnic sites are scattered throughout the park. To inquire about reserving the shelter, please call (573) 748-5340.
Recreation - Big Oak Lake provides 22 acres of fishing. The lake is stocked with catfish, bass, bluegill and crappie. The borrow pit or moat surrounding the lake is also available for fishing. Swimming is not allowed.
A boat ramp provides access to the 22 acres of Big Oak Lake. The boat ramp is open all year, except during managed hunts. There are no launch fees.
Climate - Missouri experiences four distinct seasons with an average yearly temperature of 54 degrees F. Summer temperatures reach 90 degrees F often and are plagued with high humidity levels. Nighttime lows during the summer dip slightly near 70 degrees. September brings cooler fall weather with less humidity. By October nights begin to cool significantly and the fall foliage changes to brilliant hues of orange, red and yellow. Winter months bring an average of 24 inches of snow and normal temperatures average between 20 and 45 degrees F. Spring is characterized by wet weather with temperatures reaching between 32 and 60 degrees F.
13640 South Hwy. 102
East Prairie, MO 63845