Whispering Pines Trail is a 9.2 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Ste Genevieve, MO that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and backpacking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Whispering Pines Loop Trail is a 9.2 mile loop trail consisting of two loops: the north loop is approximately six miles long and the south loop is approximately 3.75 miles. It meanders through a beautiful mixed hardwood and pine forest, crossing through streams and over scenic ridges. This trail is arguably the best, most scenic trail in the state. It has a little bit of everything, unusual rock formations, beautiful creeks, old forests, panoramic views, and wildlife. The trail can be strenuous at times, but the climbs are worthwhile as they afford fantastic views of the surrounding mountains. There is a connector trail that allows this trail to be cut in half to make a very nice shortened day hike. There are three backpacking campsites along the trail to accommodate an extended trip. This is one trail that should not be missed!
My favorite trail; it takes a lot out of me, but I love it!
Thick forest with lots of rocks and boulders. Nice views from the ridge line
very beautiful hike. Hard at times. great bluffs towards end of North Loop.
Nice trail for hiking but very difficult for running due to the rock formations. Did the 6mi north loop and would come back for a hike but not for a trail run. Also, not clearly marked.
Completed the north loop in just over 3 hours this past weekend. This is one of the best day hikes we've had in Missouri. It's a well-marked path, with a perfect combination of scenic overlooks from up high, and river crossings down low. There are a few climbs to make it challenging, but definitely a rewarding experience. Highly recommend!
Awesome trail. Did both the north and the south trails as part of an overnight trip with my dog. There are three designated campsites for backpackers (labeled 1,2,&3 on maps produced by Hawn SP) all very well maintained with plenty of space for multiple groups to stay. There are many water sources throughout the park (as always you should treat the water if you plan on drinking it). Campsite 1 is located on a connector trail that cuts the north loop in half. This is the only campsite without a water source nearby. Campsites 2 & 3 both have water sources relatively close (water source for 2 runs right by the campsite ; water source for 3 within 800ft). All trails in the park are very well maintained with plenty of markers located at eye level on various trees. Didn't have to spend a lot of time checking maps which allowed me to enjoy the great views a lot more. As the trail's name suggests you will see lots of massive pine trees. These trees provide a great feeling of seclusion and allow you to feel closer to the southern Missouri wilderness as the forest sounds creep through the empty space. There are also more than a few great views from outcroppings and small cliffs located along the trails. They do seem to have pretty strict standards regarding staying on trail however there a multiple small well established foot paths to explore little unique areas of the park just off the main trails. Among the knee deep (depth at the time of my hike on Apr 16-17) creeks and streams are a few neat rock formations including a couple grottos and very small waterfalls. Additionally if you are a hiker that likes to see lots of flowers and different vegetation this is a great hike for you as dogwood trees are quite common amongst countless varieties of ground flowers and plants. Overall this trail has everything a hiker can ask for in Missouri. I will be sure to make it back out to this park for years to come.
We did the north loop. It's well marked but somehow I got turned around at one of the bluffs so didn't do the loop. But I loved this trail and will be back to complete the loop. Still managed to get in a good 6 miles. Just felt bad that Ben had to help me figure out where I was. I called the park center. Remember to download All Trails map before you head out on the trail as you won't get service good enough to download it once you are there. :)
The Hawn St Park trails are among the most beautiful in Missouri. Hiked all loops with a full backpack in training for a future through hike.
I think the White Oaks Loop is quite beautiful with a relatively open forest dominated by oaks. Several streams and abundant views of gentle hollows and rock outcroppings. It's a marked contrast from the Whispering Pines Loops (which are dominated by pines). It's the easiest of the three loops, and its seems to be the least busy.
The Whispering Pines Loops are, of course, the signature trails of this park. Bluffs, outcroppings, knolls, streams, cascades, "swimming holes," grottos, pine forest - make for a very beautiful and interesting trail experience.
Trail Challenge: Overall, for a serious backpacker, I rate these trails "easy" with a touch of "moderate." They just do not have the difficulty of terrain or elevation change or altitude to make them challenging or "strenuous." The moderate component is due to some short climbs, occasional rockiness underfoot, and some potentially deep stream crossings. (Trail length does not factor in.)
Overall, the trails are absolutely wonderful, gorgeous and totally enjoyable. One of the top hikes in MO.
I'd say this trail was 25% rugged ozark trail with big rocks and steep climbs, and 75% easy walk through the woods, but the easier parts were also beautiful and serene. The majority of the trail runs parallel to a creek or stream. I did this in March with no bugs and perfect weather.
All of the rugged areas were on the "North Loop," which is a stated 6 mi and would be a great day hike in itself.
Nice trail as a quick getaway near st louis area. completed the 10 mile loop late morning/early afternoon. fairly easy hike with a few creek crossings and a couple decent "peak" views.
Excellent trail Hiked the stated 9.75 over two days with a backpacking group, worked counter clockwise to campsite 3 and hiked out in the morning. There is plenty of signage for connector trails to shorten the hike if you like. Someone with a GPS clocked the first day at 8 miles, and 4 going out, significantly longer than stated. What made this trail so great is that it was very well maintained, well marked, and very clean. It's only for foot traffic so no ruts or horse poo. Another great thing about it was the abundance of water. It hadn't rained in weeks and Pickle and Aux Vases were running, as well as numerous tributaries at small intervals. Very convenient for filtering water.
What it lacked in grand views with the fall leaves on it more than made up for in interesting rocks and creek beds. The campsites were even signed(!) with fire pits and big ole rocks for seating. There were interesting formations around campsite 3 and I only wish we'd explored more. The hike was mainly pleasant ridge running through pines, a few short steep climbs, and very small sections clambering up and down rocks.