Visitors Guide to
Hawn State Park

12096 Park Drive
Sainte Genevieve County, Missouri

Accessible Parking Accessible Picnic Facilities Hiking Trails Wildlife Viewing Accessible Camping Accessible Restrooms

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Located west of Sainte Genevieve off of Route 32, Hawn State Park is a pristine example of Missouri's eastern Ozark sandstone country. Located at the eastern edge of the St. Francois mountain range, this primitive park has some of the Missouri's most beautiful and significant landscapes. The 4,953 acre park is located in the LaMotte sandstone basin, an area of the state where exposures of sandstone create unusual landscapes. The acidic soil of the area supports lush upland forests of shortleaf pine, Missouri’s only native pine tree, and hardwood stands of white oak, shagbark hickory, and red maple. In the spring the flowering azalea and dogwood trees provide a spectacular show. A diverse selection of flora and fauna can be found in the park’s sandstone canyons and clear sand-bottom streams, many of which are unique to the area. The initial acreage of the park was donated in 1952 by Helen Coffer Hawn, a retired school teacher from nearby Sainte Genevieve.

Within the park is the 2,880 acre Whispering Pine Wild Area. On windy days a whispering sound can be heard as the breeze rustles through the shortleaf pines. Two trails have been constructed in this area. The Whispering Pine Trail was constructed in 1976-77 with the help of the Ozark Chapter of the Sierra Club and is considered one of the best hiking and backpacking trails in the state. Consisting of two loops, the north loop is 6 miles long and the south loop is 4 miles long, the trail allows day hikes of varying lengths. Because of its size the area provides excellent opportunities to observe nature. While on the trail, watch for many species of birds, especially tanagers and warblers. Wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, raccoons, gray squirrels and owls can also be seen along the trails.

Pickle Creek Trail is a 1 mile long trail that follows Pickle Creek, which is a shut-ins stream. The creek is one of the state’s most unique Ozark headwater streams having carved its course through the sandstone bedrock. In areas where the sandstone overhangs the stream, a cool climate exists and plants more common to climates farther north such as rattlesnake orchid, hay-scented fern, partridge berry, and ground pine can be found. There are over 20 different species of fish that can be found in the stream including the rare silverjaw minnow. Hikers are asked to stay on the trails to minimize the damage that can be done to the rare species of plants that can be found in the park.

Bird Watching
Hawn State Park is listed on the National Audubon Society's Great River Birding Trail. They report that there are at least 84 species of birds, 31 which are confirmed breeders. Historically, the area supports Brown-headed Nuthatches, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, and Bachman's Sparrows. Henslow's Sparrows and Pine Warblers are common in the summer months.


Hawn State Park offers basic and electric campsites. Services available include reserveable sites, a dump station, showers, water and laundry. Campsites 1-9 are open year-round. Campsites 10-50 are open April through October; from November through March, campsites 10-50 are used only for overflow camping. For reservations, there is a required two-night minimum stay on weekends from April through October and major holidays from May 15 through Sept. 15.

For camping fees or more additional information visit the Missouri State Parks website

Visiting Hawn State Park
     Visiting Hours
          Summer Hours (On-Season)
               From March 15 through November 14: 7:30 am to 9 pm
          Off-Season Hours
               From November 15 through March 14: 7:30 am to sunset
From April through October, the Park office is open Wednesday - Sunday: 12 pm - 4 pm.
There is no charge to visit Hawn State Park.

Directions: Take I-55 to MO-32 (Sainte Genevieve exit) and travel west to the park entrance (
approximately 11 miles.)

GPS Coordinates for the Park Office
N  37°  50.284'
W 90°  14.025'

GPS Coordinates for the Trailheads
N  37°  49.790'
W 90°  13.822'

Hiking at Hawn State Park 
Overlook Trail
300 Feet
This trail is rated Easy The Overlook Trail is a short paved asphalt trail that serves as an excellent introduction to the geology and habitat of Hawn State Park. The trail leads to a small overlook of Pickle Creek valley, with a view of some of the pine and oak-covered hills in the park. Along the path, you will find interpretive signage about the pine woodlands and the Lamotte Sandstone that forms the regions bluffs, knobs, and box canyons.
Pickle Creek Trail
.7 miles
This trail is rated Easy This entire trail follows Pickle Creek, a typical Missouri shut-ins stream. This type of stream has carved its way through the surrounding sandstone with the result of a clear, sandy-bottom creek strewn with water-sculpted granite boulders and exposed sandstone bluffs. The trail is a point-to-point hike, although a loop hike is possible by returning on a portion of Whispering Pine Trail that traverses the bluffs on the opposite side of the creek.
Whispering Pines Trail
9.75 miles
This trail is rated Difficult This trail is generally considered to be one of the best hiking and backpacking trails in Missouri. The trail consists of two loops that provide the opportunity for day hikes of varying lengths or longer backpacking trips. The trail leads beautiful mixed hardwood and pine forests. Extensive exposures of sandstone and granite can be explored along the banks of Pickle Creek and the River Aux Vases. The North Loop is 6 miles long and the South Loop 3.75 miles long.
Overlook Trail
3.75 miles
This trail is rated Difficult This trail crosses several wet-weather creeks and has scenic views from large exposed sandstone rock outcrops. The trail travels through a mixed hardwood and shortleaf pine forest where deer, wild turkey, and owls can be seen or heard.

Learn more about the Sainte Genevieve area.

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