Find out why the state’s first historic site is worth the trip. In our series on state parks, we will take you all around the state. Each park has unique features and many amenities. Grab your family, friends, and loved ones, and get out and explore.

Photos by Friends of Arrow Rock, Mike Kellner, and Missouri State Parks

AS THE STATE’S FIRST HISTORIC SITE, Arrow Rock holds a place of honor in the state park system. Today, as in the past, it beckons to travelers passing through the Missouri River valley. The Missouri River was and is the dominant geographic feature of the region, and an important Indian trail known as the Osage Trace crossed the Missouri River here. The site was noted by Lewis and Clark on their expedition upriver in 1804 and again in 1808 by William Clark, who deemed it “a handsome Spot for a Town.” Small enclaves of American pioneers settled in the region by 1810.

After the War of 1812, settlers flooded into the area “like an avalanche,” said Baptist missionary John Mason Peck. In September 1821, a party under William Becknell crossed on the Arrow Rock ferry and followed the Osage Trace on what became the first successful trading venture to Santa Fe.

An exceptional visitor center and museum contain exhibits on the Osage and Missouria tribes, the French and Spanish time here, and on American pioneers. The home of artist George Caleb Bingham is a favorite on tours, and the Friends of Arrow Rock, Inc. have restored the 1869 Brown’s Chapel Free Will Baptist Church and the 1881 Brown Lodge (Black Masonic Lodge), now a museum showcasing the black culture of the town. A nearly 2,000-acre federal wildlife refuge borders the site, and walking trails connect to it.

Photos by Friends of Arrow Rock, Mike Kellner, and Missouri State Parks

Arrow Rock appeared on maps as early as 1732. It takes its name from a flinty river bluff that Native Americans used as a place to make flint tools and weapons.

Arrow Rock’s quiet, shady streets even today evoke the nineteenth century. The Friends of Arrow Rock now maintain the Masonic and Odd Fellows lodge halls, which face each other across Main Street. 

Many special events take visitors back to different eras, along a boardwalk and street lined with shops built in the nineteenth century.

The Huston Tavern has accommodated western travelers since the 1830s and still serves hearty fare to its guests. 

Located at 39521 Visitors Center Dr., Arrow Rock , the historic site features camping, fishing, hiking trails, dining, a picnic area, a playground, an information center, and interpretive programs.

167 acres in Saline County.


  • Pierre a Flèche Trail (1.5 mi)
  • River Landing Trail (0.3 mi)

Check out when Hollywood came to Arrow Rock here

Follow this scenic drive of Arrow Rock here.