Buford Mountain State Forest Trail is a 9.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Middlebrook, Missouri that features a river and is rated as difficult. 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
This 10 mile loop climbs up and then around Buford Mountain's 5 peaks, then loops around the back side of the mountain. The trail is steep and rocky, with excellent views of the Belleview valley from the Fourth peak. Buford Mountain covers 3,829 acres. In the mid- to late-1800s, the charcoal industry flourished in the Belleview-Arcadia Valley. Old charcoal kilns still remain over the entire mountain. The highest peak of the mountain is 1,740 feet above sea level. With most of the mountain hardened by granite known as Rhyolite, the area yields little permanent water. Limestone stream beds mark the base of the mountain. Several wet weather springs can be found over the area; these are usually dry, however, during summer. The areas most outstanding feature is its glades, ranging in size from less than 1 acre to over 10 acres. These glades provide many scenic views and excellent opportunities to observe glade plants and animals. Because of the sensitive nature of the plant and animal communities and very thin soils common to the glades, activity on the glades is restricted to walking only.
My rating is for the entire 10 mile loop. I would give a 4 star for the trip up to Bald Knob. Bald Knob offers a great view, but beyond that on the back side of the trail system it is just loaded with bugs and spiders. The elevation changes and long uphill climbs made for a challenging hike especially in the sections covered in small boulders. I will revisit, but will only go as far as Bald Knob without a doubt.
very tough hike. A hike to Bald Knob and back would be a 4 star hike. We did the full trail and not much past the view. Elevation changes the entire hike. The view on top is def. worth the hike up. No one on trail which is always nice. would def. go again. Would just hike to Knob and back.
The view from Bald Knob is amazing but the back half of the mountain is fairly boring. I really enjoyed the intense elevation changes. Very lightly trafficked with tons of spiderwebs
First mile/mile and a half is rough, but not bad after that. It's a nice, long hike, that seems to be traveled pretty lightly. I was the only one on the trail to my knowledge, which is nice.
one of the toughest hikes I have done. For 3.5 hours it poured, which didn't make the climb any easier. I was grueling and challenging but totally worth it. I would definitely do it again, but not in the rain!
Challenging hike because of the elevation changes and inclines/declines, but rewarding. The view at Bald Knob was worth every step. I took the east loop first and it seemed longer, which made getting to Bald Knob even more rewarding.
I thought this was a pretty challenging hike.. if you take the left leg of the loop, there is a killer hill that is about 1 1/2miles long, or maybe more..kicked this old lady's rear for sure..
the trail was even more difficult because of the loose Rocky path.. causing you to choose your steps ..but, the view is pretty spectacular. and the feeling of accomplishment at the end of a hard mountain hike...
ps.. the little spring flowers are blooming..
Challenging hike. The view at Bald Knob was great! Good weather. Will return.
If looking for a physical trail this one would be a good candidate doing the 10 mile loop. Some good scenes as well.
We love this trail, a good place to train and enjoy the day. Has some good steep long hills, one lasting almost 2 miles. However the view at Bald Knob is incredible, very rewarding!
Great trail! It's a longish loop with several good sized hills, a couple of great valley vistas, and lots of rocky glades. With all the leaves down it can be a little difficult to stay on the trail in the valley, the only blazes are are the intersections and maybe one or two more signs in obvious places stating "trail." It had been dry for a while but there was one running stream along the trail, several ponds and a few dry creek beds. As previous reviewers have stated, there are no switchbacks on this trail and you will find yourself moving straight uphill for continuous stretches. You've also got to watch your step as the path is rocky. One of the camps sites surprisingly had a large metal grill. I wouldn't tackle this trail if you aren't in decent shape, though, it is one of the more challenging I've been on in the area.
Buford mountain is what I would specify as "The Perfect Trail" why it is only rated 4/5 stars, I'll never understand. Why is it perfect? It has everything you could hope for from mid-Western America. Unless you're a fantasy romantic and we're hoping four hundred feet cliffs and beautiful waterfalls. But no, it has a rough beginning to ward away weaker, uninvested tourists. But has enough pretty spots and junctions to keep wore avid hikers going. Sure, there are a few times when you're stuck going uphill through the woods for an hour or two, but it's the hard work that makes it worthwhile. Buford mountain is a responsible parent who gives their children bountiful gofts, but makes them work for it so they'll appreciate it more. Instead of the cheap whore-to-the-public places like Elephant rocks! (Don't get me wrong Elephant rocks is a pretty cool place is just way too easy and anyone can get to it without having to work for it). Bringing some water or even a camel back and some food is highly recommended for this trip, there are a lot of rough mountains. Personally I have hiked this trail four times and have even camped overnight on the peak the view of the stars and the landscape are best at dusk.
I get the feeling that there aren't many people that come up on this mountain trail. It's rugged, and not an easy trail. My wife and I did the abbreviated version of this trail, that is we only went to the fourth summit, a bald knob with great views of the Belleview Valley.
The trail is rugged, to say the least. The main gate at the lower parking lot was closed (an attempt to keep out youth looking for a party spot, I'm told), so you have to walk the first half mile up to the second parking lot. Your first mile from the upper trailhead is straight up Buford Mountain's South slope. It's a very rocky, steep trail. We were exhausted when we hit the top. After that, the trail runs up and down between Buford's five peaks. The trail is more overgrown the further in you go, but it's hard to lose sight of the trail completely unless you leave the trail to explore the many glades you come across.
Overall, unless you're just looking for a challenge, the views from the Bald Knob may not be worth the climb up and back down, but they are beautiful. The overall trail is 10 miles, but the trip to the Bald Knob and back is a little over 6.
This was actually my second time hiking this trail. The first time I did the whole 10 miles. The second trip I went to camp on Bald Knob. It is 3 miles out and is a treeless peak. It has great views as well as plenty of places to set up a tent. The moon was brite and the night was warm. Great hike but with any trail in Missouri make sure you have plenty of tick repellant.