Big Piney Trail is a 17.1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Plato, Missouri that features a waterfall 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
Paddy Creek Trail is a rugged 17 miles through typical Ozark forest of hardwoods and pines with rocky outcroppings, and with seasonal waterfalls. It has several creek crossings over Paddy creek and several scenic bluffs overlooking the Big Piney River. Considered one of the best trails in the state.
Beautiful!!!! Do your prep for this one. Novice beware! Lot's of opportunities to get it wrong here without adequate gear and experience. Camped at Lil Paddy Creek where it joins with Big Piney River...awesome site. Challenging terrain, plentiful water...worth the drive for sure.
I hiked 2.5 miles of this trail on 01/18/2017 from the Roby Lake Trail Head, to the junction of the North Loop and South Loop. I took the South Loop route (counterclockwise). The first pine grove you come to was a disaster with more than 60 trees down making the trail impassable, probably from recent freezing rain or winds. Bushwhacking was required to get around it all, multiple times. The trail register showed no other hikers in the last 12 days so not a lot of use this time of year. Made my way atop a ridge and camped for the night in heavy fog. Left in the morning so cannot speak to trail conditions the rest of the way. District ranger office was notified, the first time I have had to notify anyone of such bad trail conditions, the rest of the trail that I was on was fine with just the occasional downed tree.
I hiked this trail in the fall and while it opened up the view it also dropped leaves on the trail which isn't marked with blazes and can at times be hard to follow. I printed a map on line and still ended up taking a small detour. Without the map I have no doubt there would have been many more. There are other trails and paths that cross this one and without a reference losing the right trail could be easy. Also water sources are few and far between. I carried 3 quarts and a filter on this trail and got by fine, though the tempatures were mild. With that said this was a beautiful trail and I really enjoyed it even with the extra mile I accidentally added to it.
The trail was moderate. Had a great time. The trail at the eastern end is not well marked. Need to pay attention when getting ready to turn around at that point. Water is much more scarce in the fall. Suggest to back in what you need, except when next to Big Piney Creek. Definitely would do the hike again.
Great trail once you get out past the trailhead. Really liked the changes of elevation and how narrow the trail is. It makes you feel like you're hiking off the beaten path. Enjoyed the small little stops like the mini waterfalls. Only did a 3rd of the north loop, but plan on completing the entire thing with an overnight very soon.
awesome trail with some beautiful scenery. could use a few signs at some of the intersection.
poorly marked intersections, ended up doing a figure 8 between both small loop and large. amazing views and plenty of campsites. the water crossings were all under 8 inch deep water.
Have to pay attention to walk this one, quite a few unmarked intersections. There are some good views on the eastern end, water to filter throughout.
great, long, few more trail markers would be nice. but didn't get lost
Went down south loop to waterfall. it is pretty there. had lunch not a lot of bugs but we were well covered and bug sprayed. lots of big rocks on tail so you send a lot of time looking down to avoid tripping. Great Day Hike and we are beginners.
it was very nice me an my son went camped one night did the south loop going back for sure
It's a good trail with a few nice bluffs, small waterfalls, native wild flowers, and rocky climbs. there are some nice places to camp as well.
Not a bad trail. Kind of rough with a 60 pound pack on your back and finishing it within 24 hours. The trail can be kind of confusing at some places but nothing too bad. I did hear what seemed to me like a larger predator that wasn't scared off by my loud noises wandering around at night. It's very secluded and the sounds of of the forest are amazing when it's calm out. This was very early spring so not a ton of vegetation.
I did the trail over a 2 day trek. I did the trail counter clockwise. There was a lot of different nature scapes along the trail, creeks, waterfalls, and forests views. The main waterfall is toward the end of the North loop (or beginning if you start there first). There is a much smaller one on the beginning of the South loop. A lot of nice places to camp along the way and water sources if you bring a filter
Great Trail! Tall cliffs, waterfalls, and multiple creek crossings. Plenty of water to filter at creeks and waterfalls. We hiked counterclockwise (south loop first). Don't follow the pink ribbons. The orange blazes later in the trail were accurate. Backpacker Magazine's waypoints (on their website) were helpful. Comfortable three day hike with perfect weather!
Great hike, trail needs maintenance. A lot of variety.
My son and I experienced this trail on Feb 13th. We started at the Roby Lake trailhead parking lot and took the South loop. The signage was fine and the trail was easy to follow, even in winter. As mentioned by others there is enough up and down to get some excercise, but plenty of flat areas to make some time. About 10-15 minutes up the trailhead there is a "Y" where the north and south branches divide. Around 90% of the area are Oak trees with a frew groves of pine trees. You'll be walking along, and then all of a sudden you will find yourself in the pines. There is a scenic overlook on the South trail that is nice. You work your way up to a plateau of pine trees with rocks around, and there are some fairly sheer dropoffs which provide for some spectacular views. Eventually you come to another (second) "Y" where you can continue on with the south, or switchover to the north trail. We continued on with the south, and camped about 2 hours in on the right side of the trail in a grove of pine trees. We never saw or heard anyone. That night we had a sleet / ice storm and fortunately we had stored some try wood under our hammocks so that we could build a quick warming fire in the morning. It never went above freezing the whole time we were there. The hike back felt strenuous due to the cold, fatigue, and weight of our packs. The trail was a bit slippery due to the frozen rain, but we made it back and was able to drive out again. Overall it was a great time in a beautiful area, and would recommend it.
Great trail, pretty easy for average fitness levels. Watch your step! Horses use this trail regularly enough. Even in February, the primary creek/stream with the waterfall was running. Didn't need water, but would have felt safe enough drawing from it. But there were numerous creeks dried up for the winter, so buyer beware depending on the time of year you hike. Plenty of dead wood on the trail for fires and ample space to set up camp anywhere on the trail. The camp sites at the trail head are nice too; right next to the lake.
A group of three of us did the entire loop as a 3 day, 2 night backpacking trip in the winter. We did the loop counterclockwise beginning at the Roby Lake trailhead. Overall it's a very nice hike with typical Ozark mountain terrain. Small creeks intersect the trail as it rolls over hills of pine forest. The trail seemed tailored to equestrians. The designated campsites on the south trail of the loop were far from water sources and mostly on top of windy plateaus. The north trail was similar. I would rate it a 5 but the trail is NOT marked. We used a paper map and GPS to stay on trail. This is important as you cross the creek to do the north loop. Also, someone marked alternative trails with pink ribbons--these do not mark the trail. The waterfall at the end is really pretty.