Points of Interest:
- Take a dip in the famous shut-ins surrounded by billion year old rocks.
- Marvel at the forces of nature responsible for creating this shut-in.
- Admire the tenacity of the plants eking out a living on the granite rocks.
The story of Johnson’s shut-ins starts over a billion years ago when the igneous rocks here, pink granites and blue-gray rhyolites, were formed from volcanic activity. Igneous rock is one formed from molten rock, magma, and other volcanic materials (e.g., ash deposits). Granite rock (a type of igneous rock) is formed from magma that cooled below the earth’s surface and then was exposed later. Rhyolite rock (another kind of igneous rock) is formed from magma and volcanic ash and debris flows that spewed out onto the earth’s surface and then cooled.
Above the park the East Fork of the Black River flows through a broader valley formed in dolomite bedrock. Then the river hits the more resistant igneous rock and the valley becomes narrow and steep-sided or “shut in.” Along the banks of the stream look for the Ozark witch hazel which blooms in late winter and early spring.
This natural area is within Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park. The 2 mile Shut-Ins trail provides access to the natural area. Inquire at the park office about the hiking trail. To reach the park office: from the intersection of Highway 21 and Highway N north of Pilot Knob (Iron Co.) go west nearly 13 miles to the park entrance on the left (south). Follow the signs to the park office. Swimming is allowed in the shut-ins at your own risk.