Photos show what Tower Rock, a limestone formation in the middle of the Mississippi River, looks like before and after a severe drought that caused water levels to plummet

  • Tower Rock, a limestone formation in the middle of the Mississippi River, is now within walking distance.

  • The destination is now popular with tourists, the Missouri Department of Conservation said.

  • The Mississippi River is experiencing historic lows, likely due to climate change.

Tower Rock, a 400-million-year-old limestone formation usually surrounded by the waters of the Mississippi River, is becoming a popular tourist destination, thanks to the river’s historically low levels.

Located in Perry County, Missouri, Tower Rock is usually only accessible by boat, but has now become a haven for tourists who want to climb up and get a closer look.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, the rock, which protrudes 60 feet above typical water levels, is only accessible on foot when water levels drop below 1.5 feet in Mississippi. River Chester Gauge, located near a section of the river between Illinois and Missouri.

However, the outcrop may soon become inaccessible again. MDC officials predict a 3.5ft rise in the Chester gauge as early as this weekend.

“This season’s dry weather has created conditions that have drawn many visitors to the area over the past few weeks,” MDC South East Regional Administrator Matt Bowyer said in a press release.

Bowyer also warned that visitors should not climb Tower Rock and that observers should exercise caution when walking on the dry river bed.

“The Mississippi River is still a very dangerous body of water, even in low weather,” he said. “Please exercise caution. And as always, pack what you pack. Don’t leave trash behind.”

Tower Rock was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

Photo of a 60 foot limestone rock surrounded by water

A view of Tower Rock when water levels are higherMissouri Department of Conservation

Despite the summer floods of the Mississippi River, the Midwest is currently going through a period of abnormal to moderate drought. The region, including the Ohio River and the upper Mississippi valleys, did not receive enough rain to maintain normal water levels, Insider’s Morgan McFall-Johnsen and Paola Rosa-Aquino reported.

These variable river conditions are in line with scientists’ predictions of climate change, creating more unpredictable weather events.

Tower Rock has become walkable a handful of times over the past decade.

As drought conditions in the Midwest are more typical in recent years, being able to walk to Tower Rock may become more common.

“It’s the new normal,” Olivia Dorothy, director of American Rivers, told local station KSDK. “Climate models predicted that this region would become prone to very long and dramatic droughts that would be punctuated by extreme fluctuations and flooding.”

The Missouri Department of Conservation did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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