With the ancient St. Francois Mountains, the unspoiled natural landscape and the cool waters of the St. Francois River and Big Creek, Sam A. Baker State Park has something for everyone. Whether getting away for a day of relaxation or spending considerably more time exploring the region, it's certainly worth the trip. A boat launch offers access to the river, and anglers hook bluegill, bass, crappie, sunfish, goggle eye and catfish in the river and creek. Canoeists float the Big Creek in spring and early summer, while the river is a good float year-round. Several miles of hiking, backpacking and equestrian trails provide glimpses of the area as the early settlers found it. To explore the natural and cultural history of the park, visit the park's visitor/nature center. Visitors can spend the night in either the rustic cabins or one of two large campgrounds featuring modern restrooms, hot showers, dumping station and laundry facilities. For horse lovers, a separate equestrian camp is provided. The shaded picnic area is equipped with a playground, covered shelters and picnic tables. If guests prefer to eat indoors, the dining lodge overlooking Big Creek features excellent country cooking. At Sam A. Baker State Park, the possibilities are endless and the choice is all yours.
Dennis C. on Shut-in Trail
Beautiful little hike !!!
Great hike! This place has it all. Great trails for both hiking and horseback. Stayed in one of the hiking shelters that had a fireplace and offered amazing views of the valley and river. Well worth the trip and time. Trails definitely live up to their rating as "rugged" and there are many elevation changes which add that extra challenge for serious hikers. Will be going back to complete the entire 16 mile loop.
Did the big loop, about 13 miles. Went counterclockwise and stayed at the last shelter making for a quick one mile out the next day. Moderate trail, a little rocky, well marked. Plenty of shortcuts on inner trails if you're with a group. River is very nice, as are shelters.
Leigh N. on Mudlick Trail
Tough! It was our first backpacking trip. A lot of steep inclines but overall was great. We stayed at Backpack camp 2 near the creek. The hike out of the camp was tough. Next time we will definitely stay in one of the shelters - shelter 1 has the best view.
Civilized park with trails that felt less civilized (good). Elevation shifts were unexpected, as I did not do my homework! Really enjoyed the meandering trail through the autumn leaves as well as the goat-track switchbacks that led to the river. The shelters are nicely kept, and on a chilly day, it was a nice surprise to stumble upon a small fire smoldering in the hearth. I will return to complete the other trails at this park!