Make the great escape to Missouri's wilderness - Taum Sauk Mountain State Park. The park provides 7,501 acres of solitude amid unspoiled land with a wilderness quality hard to find in today's world. Taum Sauk Mountain State Park is located in the St. Francois Mountains, one of the most rugged and scenic areas of the state. Almost 1.5 billion years ago, volcanic eruptions of hot ash settled and cooled to form rhyolite. Erosion has left only the roots of these mountains behind, now dotted by oak-hickory forest and rocky glades. Taum Sauk Mountain literally stands above others as the highest point in Missouri, rising to 1,772 feet. An easy walk leads visitors to the top. From there, the moderately rugged three-mile Mina Sauk Falls Trail continues to the tallest wet-weather waterfall in Missouri. Mina Sauk Falls drops 132 feet over a series of rocky ledges. A portion of this trail also serves as part of the Taum Sauk Section of the Ozark Trail. Farther down the trail lies Devil's Tollgate, an eight-foot-wide passage through volcanic rhyolite standing 30 feet high. The Ozark Trail continues on to the Highway N trailhead at Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park, a distance of 14.4 miles. Taum Sauk Mountain State Park features a campground of 12 basic campsites, with drinking water and a vault toilet nearby. A special-use area is available for non-profit youth organizations. A nearby picnic area allows visitors to relax and enjoy lunch under the trees after a day of hiking.
This was a great hike! I added a stretch of the Ozark Trail after I reached the Falls and rather than immediately continue on the loop I went out to the Devil's Tollgate plus around a half mile. Stopped for lunch near the water. Beautiful day today temps in the high 50s-may have reached 60. Stunning. I would rate this hike in my top 3-4 of all time. Next time I would like to continue on the OT to the Johnson's ShutIns if I can arrange a ride. (mileage reflect just the track to turn around point...actual mileage doubled)
We loved this trail. I would rate it as a rugged trail, not easy. Hiking boots are a must, rocks can slippery. We hikes right after a rain, so it was quite wet. Trial markers were good until the second half of the trail then you had to kinda look for them. Defiantly recommend doing the whole trial.