The Ted Jones Missouri State Park, also referred to as the Jones-Confluence Point State Park is a public recreation area in St. Charles County, Missouri. Encompassing 1,121 acres, the site is most well-known for being the starting point of Lewis and Clark’s adventures and the spot where the Mississippi River and the Missouri River meet. The park is part of the Mississippi Greenway and is from the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area.
The Missouri and Mississippi Rivers are the two longest rivers in the United States. The Mississippi River stretches approximately 2,320 miles, while the Missouri River is about 100 miles long. At the Ted Jones Missouri State Park, the two rivers intersect. Travelers and tourists can see this vividly at the park as the two rivers are visibly different colors, the Missouri River being darker in color.
In 1804, Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark began their expedition at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. The goal of the expedition was to be the first to travel westward and reach the Pacific Coast. Though they were unsuccessful at discovering the Northwest Passage, in November of 1805, their goal was accomplished to set their sights on the Pacific Ocean.
From the 1500s onward, the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers were used as a passageway for travel and trade by many European visitors and a home for Native Americans dating centuries back.
In 2001, the location of the current park was purchased through a grant from the Danforth Foundation. Then, the Western Rivers Conservancy gave the land to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Metropolitan Parks and Recreation District.
The Ted Jones, Missouri State Park, opened May 9, 2004, and is managed and maintained by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. It is named after Edward D. “Ted” Jones, founder of Edward Jones Investments, and his wife, Pat Jones, who donated $2.2 million towards the Katy Trail. The Katy Trail is a recreational rail trail that runs 240 miles along the Missouri River. Trails from the Ted Jones Missouri State Park eventually intersect with Katy Trail, which also connects to Lewis and Clark, being part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.
Visitors may come to visit the park to see the confluence first-hand. Admission is free, and the park is open from 8 a.m. to a half-hour after sunset. Aside from the confluence, the park is home to a wide array of wildlife, particularly birds. These include blue herons, bald eagles, geese, gulls, pelicans, and many kinds of songbirds. In addition, visitors of all ages can enjoy biking and hiking trails as the park is open to those of all ages, making it an excellent spot for family adventures. The Confluence Park Trail is 0.30 miles long and is an easy, 10-minute hike with leashed pets allowed.
The Ted Jones Missouri State Park is open all year round.