Bell Mountain Loop Trail is a 11.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Belleview, Missouri that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Oak and hickory are the predominate tree species, with some areas of natural oak-pine and some short leaf pine plantations. Upland brush and red cedar make up a small portion of the vegetative component. Blackjack oak, winged elm, hickories, sumac, and native grasses are found on the glades. Lichens abound on the exposed-surface rock. Some areas on Bell Mountain that were cleared in the 1940's now have almost pure stands of Northern Red Oak. Shut-in Creek crosses the area. It is a perennial spring fed stream with several shut-ins, or gorges along its course. Steep talus slopes intersect the stream course at several locations. Joe's Creek is another small perennial stream within the Wilderness. Bell Mountain Wilderness provides a unique habitat situation not typical of the majority of Missouri's Ozarks. The predominately oak-hickory forest is interspersed with pine and scattered glades resulting in a diversity of plant species more common to old growth forest. This habitat situation favors mature forest species such as pileated woodpeckers, wood thrush and oven birds.
Excellent trail with a nice view of the surrounding hills and reservoir. We went right at the split which I thought made hike. Would certainly do again, hopefully to camp at one of the many established primitive sites
Nice trail, great view at the top. Two sections with fairly strenuous inclines. Would hike again
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.
My all time favorite hike in Missouri - hands down. Took the long route from Highway A for a total of 12.2. Fantastic views at the top and I was glad I had 8 miles down before taking a nice long break at the top. Enjoy this one any route you take up!
Nice places to camp near the crest.
Started off at the south trailhead and used the OT for a short bit. The trail has a handful of blazes but is still easy to follow. At a few of the overlooks you can see several cairns left by the artsy hikers. Once I made it to the top, the trail became my favorite in Missouri. Next time I hike the trail I will be camping on it.
Hiked in about 8 miles from the south trail head to the summit and camped, it was about 6 miles out the next day. Trail was groomed and not many rocks to trip over. There were a few hills without switchbacks but nothing too bad. A pretty walk in the woods, there were a few overlooks and rock outcroppings, but nothing spectacular. It hadn't rained in a few days, or maybe weeks, but there was plenty of water in a large creek going in and out, and one or two smaller tributaries. I wouldn't drink the water from the ponds near the summit.
There are two campsites. One is a fire pit in the woods near the summit with no view, the other is a fire pit on an overlook, and there were tons of places to pitch a tent along the ledge in both directions. After setting up camp I climbed around in the rocks a little, the trees thin out near the top so there are interesting little rock strewn meadows with lichen and moss everywhere. Neat place. I met a cute little baby copperhead on a big rock, but surprisingly didn't see or hear many animals.