Heavily forested hillsides, clear-flowing streams and solitude are all features to be found within Big Sugar Creek State Park. Nestled deep within southwest Missouri, Big Sugar Creek State Park preserves a portion of the Elk River Section of Missouri's Ozarks. This area of the state has a distinct natural history, featuring many plants and animals that are less common or absent in other areas of Missouri. Some typify the southern plains, including armadillos, while others, like the Ozark chinquapin tree, are restricted to the Ozark highlands. The Elk River watershed, which includes Big Sugar Creek, is a portion of the Arkansas River Basin that extends into Missouri. It brings with it a unique fish population, including the Neosho orangethroat darter. Because of the park's natural significance, 1,613 of its 2,082 acres have been designated as the Elk River Breaks Natural Area. Ozark Chinquapin Trail, a three-mile loop trail through the natural area, follows a small bedrock stream, between towering hills, before heading up into the upland woodlands and glades. Big Sugar Creek State Park is still in the development stage. Future amenities planned include a day-use area, a special-use camping area that will be available for use by organized youth groups and a canoe launch.
Amber P. on Chinquapin Trail
I was blown away by this trail. it was harder and easier that I thought all at the same time. Beautiful and secluded. I would be nervous taking children(especially younger) the full length, especially the back half, due to rugged terrain and drop offs. There are many, many areas where you have to pay attention while walking. Make sure you load up on the tick repellant and sunscreen and you're good to go!
Awesome little loop trail. A little creek follows most of the trail and must be crossed several times. The creek was low and easy to cross but had enough water to provide small water falls, crystal clear pools, and the sounds of running and falling water. The nature and scenery are quite diverse and include features such as moss covered trails, fern covered hillsides, solid rock creek bed, lots of rock outcrops and small bluff lines. It's an easy trail and would be a great one for families. I plan to go back in the spring.
Kenny R. on Chinquapin Trail
Nice day hike on an easy trail. Very quiet & peaceful on a warm December day. I've hiked the trail 3 times in the past 5 days. Nice place to get away and think and see some beautiful rock formations and bluffs. I'm an avid barefoot hiker and it gets pretty rocky in some places but it is a nice trail to hike barefoot...just have some shoes handy just in case. Next time I'll take my hammock and string it up and just enjoy the silence. Can't wait to see what it looks like in the Spring.
This is a fun little trail for somebody just looking to be out in the woods. There's nothing too dramatic as far as scenery goes, still worth checking out.
The best part is at the east end of a loop you will come to a clearing. Keep looking to your right, there is a old piece of farm equipment that a tree has nearly engulfed over time. It's pretty incredible to see.
My family and I loved this trail. The kids had a blast with all of the stream crossings, and my wife and I enjoyed the many photogenic moments that came about from the beautiful wild flowers and the bedrock streams.
The trail was a bit over grown, and the warm day made it plenty buggy, so we checked for ticks a couple of times just to be sure.
We saw a deer, or maybe an elk, as it ran away (whatever it was, it was big). We also had a snake cross our path, which gave the kids a good scare.
All in all, it was fun trail. It can be narrow at times, and runs close to some cliffs, but it was a good hike and a great day trip for the family.
Once we found the place, it was a great hike. Different types of terrain making it interesting and fun. Love the little yellow square tags on the trees. Gave us a sense of security knowing we were still following the trail. 60 degree weather in December made it a great day to hike.
Good for exercise and getting away from people. It is nothing terribly exciting though. The left side of the loop is the scenic part as it follows a larger creek bed and has some pretty rock formations and bluffs. Looked to be some little caves up the hill too. It is rocky. Bigger, unstable rocks.
Decent hike, short, scenic, and not technical at all. We brought the whole family... 6 month old, 2 year old, 5 year old and a teenager. Trails are well marked, a little narrow in a few spots, but nothing the troop couldn't handle on their own.
My only recommendation ... bug spray, seed ticks are abundant!
This is an absolutely gorgeous trail and definitely one of my favorites. I would suggest going when the weather's been dry because you cross the riverbed many times. It is somewhat difficult and narrow at points, but it's worth it. There's also an option for a shorter trail which is nice if you don't want to do the whole thing. I would definitely recommend this trail.
Completed this trail this morning. Getting there was the first adventure. If you want the scenic route, search for Big Sugar Creek State Park and let the GPS guide the way. If you're looking to hit the TH, you'll need to head to the south side of the park on Big Sugar Creek Rd.
My wife and I chose to head NE with our Chocolate Lab and make the 3.1m loop. The trail was well marked (Blazed in Yellow). A couple of the markers had QR codes that peaked my interest. I took a picture of one and I'm hoping I can read it in after I get a QR Reader installed.
The dog had plenty of places for him to cool off as it rained earlier in the week. With a bunch of rain, be prepared for several water crossings and possible flash flooding. At one point, the dog decided to play "Evil Knievel" and jumped towards the water, only to find it was a little farther drop than he thought. He decided to slide the rest of the way down and quickly realized he couldn't get back up. We had to run down the trail a bit to show him a better path out but other than that no issues. Ironically, he didn't stray too far the rest of our trip.
Overall, it took about 90 minutes to complete. Our major complaint of the day, seed ticks everywhere. We spent a considerable amount of time pulling them off us and the dog at the TH and back home.
Some have made references to being a family friendly location. I would say an extremely well behaved child would have no issues but there are plenty of locations where the trail is only a single person wide and has 3-8ft. drops, usually to the creek. While I can't speak for all children, I would say an average 10-12 year old would have no issues, but would be concerned bringing a child smaller than that.