The views at the top were so pretty and made me realize how nice Missouri is. However, the trail isn't that well marked and we went a mile on the north trail instead of being on the loop. Our total distance was 15 miles and it took us 6.3 hours to hike but we did stop and take some breaks. The trail itself is very hard to see in the winter because the leaves are covering everything. But it was a fun trail for beginners that can easily be completed in one day!
The views from the top make it all worth it! I usually hike 12 miles a day no problem, but the suggestions in the comments boxes recommended camping and staying the night. They were right!! It was so beautiful from the top, we didn't want to leave. I hiked counterclockwise and suggest grabbing water in one of the creeks while you can, because if you loop around there is only one "pond" on the way down that offers hardly drinkable water. The trail is fairly easy and smooth all the way to the top. This trail does require some uphill effort though, which is probably why its rated as moderate. Will definitely hike/camp again!
Awesome trail, we did it after a rain so it was basically a stream running down the trail which made it a higher difficulty. The views from the top were amazing even on a cloudy day. The sun peeked out on our way down so we stopped to take in the sunset. I'll definitely be back.
My new favorite trail near St Louis.
Well carved trail, easy to navigate. Slopes are pretty mild and easy to ascend/descend. Beautiful views at the top, with several fire rings and places to set camp. Water sources more limited near Bell Mountain; most creeks I ran across with water were on the western section of the trail.
Fun trail with a great view and camping at the overlook. We came in from the northern trailhead (not marked on the map here) off A and 2228. Made for a nice, relatively easy hike to the overlook in the afternoon and were able to set up camp. Hiked the rest of the loop, going clockwise back to start. It's a long hike up the hill in the way back north but once you hit the top, the rest seems like a snap back to the trailhead.
Due to flooding on the Ozark trail we decided to go to "higher" ground and ended up at Bell mountain. Started our trip at the A hwy TH. The trail quickly starts to climb but not at an extreme grade, very manageable. When you get to the loop/split go right especially if you are wanting to stay overnight. There are multiple spots to make camp, we opted for one right out on the ridge. The sunrise in the morning is absolutely beautiful, we had a clear, warm morning with dense fog down in the valley. Leaving the ridge you'll continue down before heading west- then south. There are 2 water crossing with good "camp sites" . From there its a looong trek back up to meet up with spur to TH.
If backpacking overnight refer to map and make sure to refill all water containers as there is no other reliable water source until you come off the ridge. Also good luck finding any down trees/wood for a fire on ridge.
Overall it was a great "plan B" and would recommend it.
Not a bad trail to start out on for a first time hike. The trail was well marked for most of the 11.6 miles. With the climbing of the mountain and all of the rocks on the path, I would definitely get prepared for this hike. Overall a great trail!
the trail was awesome but very difficult if you do the entire 12 miles in one day. it can be done but shouldn't. 12 miles may not seem too long for an experienced hiker but I assure you, it will take everything you have to finish. you start at the base of the mountain and it has an elevation climb of about 1,700 feet. You climb the whole 1,700 at least twice from base to peak and also have to descend. So at the very minimum you do at least another mile just in elevation ranges. The trail is not blazed at all which made it confusing in some areas. The view at the peak is absolutely incredible though. There are areas where its difficult to fight through the trail due to it being overgrown in the summer and the bugs/spider webs were absolutely relentless. Wear glasses and a bandana to keep gnats away! They followed us most of the hike, so long that i gave them names!
I would definitely hike this again but it will most assuredly be an overnight.