In my last article, I wrote about the beautiful and stunning Buffalo River located deep in Arkansas. In this article, I’m writing to tell everyone about Grand Falls. Located in Joplin, Missouri, Grand Falls is 163 feet across and created by a ledge of solid chert rock. It is also the largest continuously running waterfall in Missouri. Grand Falls is part of Shoal Creek that eventually flows into Spring River in Kansas. It’s been called by some people, Miniature Niagara Falls. At one time it provided energy for Joplin’s 1st electrical power plant in the early 1890’s. In 1903 it was further developed and featured a theater, boathouse, a German village, and even a dance hall. Also, the Missouri Pacific Railway at one time offered hourly round trip tickets to the Grand Falls, and it was the best-known tourist attraction. However, all of that is no longer there except the remains of the concrete walls from the power plant on the west side of the falls. Grand Falls today is known as a spot where people swim, fish, float, hang out on the creek beds and even barbecue. Tourists stop here to take pictures, couples come here for engagement pictures and seniors even take their senior pictures here. For some people, they even believe it’s a romantic spot to come with your date and just star gaze.
So, what is Grand Falls for me? It’s a place that as a teenager I used to hang out with friends during the summer. We would go there and swim and even jump off the falls. Sometimes we would go behind the falls and swim under the water (Warning: there are lots of rocks and always the chance of getting hurt). I like to come down and either float or swim, a 3-4 hour stretch of the creek down to another local hang out off shoal creek. It is a spot where I like to go down and fish from time to time. But most of all it’s a spot I like to go when I just want to clear my head, to stop and think and reflect on life. It’s a place that if you are having a bad day, it’s nice to take a walk down to the creek bed, a place where I like to find a spot and sit listening to the rushing water, listening to the sound of nature looking at the night sky or even observing wildlife.
If you have never been here, I encourage you to make the drive to Grand Falls. Stop and enjoy God’s beauty, take in the surroundings and reflect on the beauty of nature. Take advantage of the creek. Fish, cross over what the locals call Low Water Bridge, go to the park and hit the trails of Wildcat Glades where you can see more of the beauty that is in Joplin. Take a hike to what we call Mother Nature’s Crack and hike the bluffs above Shoal Creek. Take a friend, your wife, your family and enjoy the day. Capture the moment with a picture or two. Most of all stop and breathe in the fresh air, listen to the sound of the water and let it cleanse the soul. After all, as I said in my last article, Nature: It’s good for the soul.