Featured HIKING TRAILS
Running through the Ozarks, the 33 mile Taum Sauk section of the 500 mile Ozark Trail is generally regarded as the trails most scenic and rugged stretch. The hike begins near Edgehill and undulates between ridges and sculpted side hollows, summits Bell, Goggins, and Taum Sauk Mountains and skirts 132-foot Mina Sauk Falls.
Southwest of St. Louis and west of Potosi, the Berryman National Recreation Trail is a wooded 24 mile hiking loop in the Ozarks. Many feel this is the best trail between the Rockies and Alleghenies. The route snakes through 100 feet maples, clinges to ridgelines and passes above deep hollows. It is shared with mountain bikers.
Near Newburg south of the Mill Creek Recreation Area, the Kaintuck Trail burrows into a nice refuge of the Mark Twain National Forest and is open to hiking. The 24 mile trail is also shared by mountain bikers and equestrians while passing a 175 cave (natural tunnel) with limestone wall and slimy boulders. The route passes through green tunnels of foliage, untrampled trail and overgrown logging roads. The rolling terrain is gentle and presents several stream crossings.
Southwest of St Louis and south of Waynesville, the Big Piney Trail is a 17 mile route covering a variety of Ozark terrain in Paddy Creek Wilderness. The 17-mile loop trail can be treked as a 10-mile stretch (north section) or the 7.5-mile south section. The trails are rugged and can be challenging for the inexperienced or unprepared.
Southeast of Springfield and west of West Plains, the Devils Backbone Wilderness Trail is an 11 mile hiking route. The section from the southern Collins Ridge trailhead to McGarr Ridge is part of the larger Ozark Trail.
Near Winona, the Blue Ridge Trail is a 10 mile hiking route. The Blue Ridge Trail covers a variety of Ozark terrain as it winds 18 miles through hollows and across hills. It joins the Ozark Trail at Spring Creek.
Near Winona, the Eleven Point River Trail is a 35 mile route served by two trailheads. This hiking trail is also popular with horseback riders. It is tough to cover the whole trail in one day, so be sure to allow plenty of time.
Near Winona, the Between The Rivers Trail is a 30 mile section of the longer Ozark Trail. Heading south from the trailhead, the first mile is easy hiking, mostly level with gentle slopes. Second mile is mostly uphill, and the next 4.5 miles is a variety of ridges and hollow bottoms. Most day hikers turn around at this point, but you can continue on for another 23.5 miles.
South of St Louis and northeast of Belleview in the St Francois Mountains, there is a 10.5 mile loop trail around the Buford Mountain Conservation Area. Hikers can expect to find solitude and outstanding views on this trek.
West of Farmington, the 8,200 acre St Joe State Park has 15 miles of wooded trails. Some of the hiking trails are quite rocky, while others are good earthen trails. Some portions of the trails follow along small streams. Red Trail is a 7.5-mile loop trail that originates and ends at Pimville Road. Most of the park trails are shared with both mountain bikers and equestrians, so use care.
Near Willow Springs, the 38 mile Ridge Runner Trail consists of two hiking loops combining rolling trail and abandoned forest roads. The Spring-time is spectacular with beautiful wildflowers. The route is shared with both mountain bikers and equestrians.
Southwest of Springfield and east of Cassville, the Piney Creek Wilderness Trail is a 13 mile network of five trails providing access to the Piney Creek Wilderness. The trails are shared by hikers and equestrians.
South of Potosi and north of Lesterville, the 9,000 acre Bell Mountain Wilderness Area has 12 miles of trails open to hiking. A small stretch of the Ozark Trail also passes through Bell Mountain Wilderness.
The Katy Trail State Park is a 225 mile hiking route along an old railroad grade from St. Charles to Clinton. The trail allows users to travel through some of the most scenic areas of the state. The majority of the trail closely follows the route of the Missouri River so hikers and bicyclists often find themselves with the river on one side and towering bluffs on the other. The trail travels through many types of landscapes including dense forests, wetlands, deep valleys, remnant prairies, open pastureland and gently rolling farm fields.