Plan your visit
The historic village of Arrow Rock is an ideal getaway for a day or an entire weekend. The town, a National Historic Landmark, evokes the warm spirit of the past and is full of friendly people, great restaurants and shops, and fascinating historical attractions.
Begin your journey to the past with a visit to the old-time Country Store, the town's tiny post office, and the interesting period shops on Main Street, better known to locals as “The Boardwalk.” Other highlights include the J. Huston Tavern, the oldest continuously operating restaurant west of the Mississippi; the Arrow Rock Station, where diners enjoy a year-round Christmas display; Catalpa restaurant, recently voted Best Restaurant in the Best of Rural Missouri reader survey; and, of course, the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre, Missouri's oldest professional regional theatre, producing popular professional theatre from June through November.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources operates a museum and visitors center in the village that recounts the rich history of the area. The Friends of Arrow Rock, with offices on the Boardwalk, offers tram tours of village attractions, including the National Historic Landmark home of famous American painter and one-time Arrow Rock citizen George Caleb Bingham, and the home and shop of renowned gunsmith John Sites.
Or explore this amazing village on your own. Take a leisurely stroll around the village to take in the beautiful historic architecture and visit the shops and attractions you'll discover along the way.
The fun doesn't stop at the city limits. Check out the driving tour, which takes you past historic sites dotting the countryside west of Arrow Rock.
The village also provides the perfect backdrop for many events throughout the year. Each October, the Annual Arrow Rock Heritage Craft Festival brings thousands to Arrow Rock. The village hosts other events, including the Spring Garden Show in May and and the Arrow Rock Ice Cream Freeze-Off in September. Spirits, Shadows and Secrets of Arrow Rock on the weekend before Halloween lets you explore the mystical side of Arrow Rock alongside professional paranormal investigators. The impromptu parades on Easter Sunday and 4th of July are a true slice of Americana.
Extend your stay by reserving a room at one of the village's fine bed and breakfasts, or camp at the adjacent Arrow Rock Historic Site campground.
Hiking trails through the woods to the river and the scenic Big Spring offer nature lovers and history buffs alike a pleasurable experience. For sportsmen, The Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge is a short downhill hike from the village.
Many Arrow Rock merchants operate seasonally with hours that are subject to change, particularly in the winter months. When planning your visit, it's best to call ahead to find out what will be open that day. Detailed information on bed and breakfasts, restaurants, Lyceum Theatre, State Historic Site, shopping, tours and events in the Village are easily available and can be found in the Directory section of this Web site.
If you are planning to camp, make your reservations in advance. Basic campsites and improved sites are available, to make a reservation call 877-422-6766. You may also reserve online at www.mostateparks.com/arrowrock/camp.htm.
How to Get Here
From Saint Louis
Arrow Rock can be reached by taking 1-70 to Missouri Highway 41 North. If you are headed West from St. Louis, take Exit No. 98. If it's beautiful countryside you're looking for, then the short drive (about 11 miles) to Arrow Rock won't disappoint.
From Kansas City
Traveling East from Kansas City take Exit 89 and follow the Arrow Rock State Park signs to Highway 41 North. The short drive (about 11 miles) through rolling wooded hills and rural pastures takes you through the picturesque town of Blackwater. If you're up for a backroads excursion, it's just as enjoyable and more relaxing to drive through the apple and peach orchards near Lexington and Waverly. From Kansas City take U.S. Highway 24 East, then U.S. Highway 65 East to Highway 41 South.
Boone's Lick Region and the Katy Trail
While in Arrow Rock you may enjoy visiting the picturesque towns of the Boone's Lick region. Boonville, Glasgow, Fayette, New Franklin, Rocheport, Pilot Grove, Blackwater, and Marshall are a short drive away. Each town is unique and has a rich history of its own to share. The Katy Trail passes through or near most of these towns. Visit city Web sites for a listing of attractions and events throughout the year.
The Boone's Lick Region is rich in history. In 1804, Lewis and Clark reported the presence of many saltwater springs in the area that now comprises Howard, Cooper and Saline counties. The largest of these salt springs was the Boone's Lick. The area around this spring was ideal for settlement and for many years "Boone's Lick Country" was a primary destination for pioneers moving west.
Nathan and Daniel Morgan Boone, sons of famous frontiersman Daniel Boone, formed a partnership with James and Jesse Morrison in 1805 to produce salt. Brine water was poured into iron kettles and heated to boiling on a stone furnace. As the water evaporated, salt crystallized in the bottom of the kettle. The salt was shipped by keelboat on the Missouri River to St. Louis. Salt, which was indispensable at the time for preserving meat and tanning hides, was produced at the site until approximately 1833.
The Arrow Rock State Historic Site Visitor Center Museum provides an overview of the history of the Boone's Lick Country. You may choose to visit the actual site of the salt lick across the river from Arrow Rock on Highways 87 and 187. You may reach it by traveling through either of two Boone's Lick towns, Boonville or Glasgow.
The 52-acre Boone's Lick State Historic site features picnic facilities and a short trail that winds its way to the spring site, where wood remnants of the salt works and an iron kettle are still visible. Outdoor exhibits interpret this unique saltwater environment and center of frontier industry. Artifacts from the salt manufacturing industry were excavated at the site, and some are on display at the Arrow Rock State Historic Site visitor center. A Folk Heritage Festival is held at the site every Labor Day.