Explore future plans - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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mountain biking
4 days ago

I loved it! Osawatomie - Pomona.

hiking
7 days ago

Beautiful trail. Climb or descent on river side

beautiful and challenging. well worth the trip.

Definitely not my favorite trail to go hiking on. Take tons of water with you. My friend and I arrived at the trail at 10:00 am, it was about 77 degrees out. Getting to the bluff was not too bad besides walking through thousands of spiders. (If you are the first one on the trail, take something with you so you can get the spiders out of the way.) On the way back we almost died (somewhat being dramatic but not really.) It was 95 out when we began our hike back. So stay hydrated!!

The end result is absolutely beautiful. However, what some people fail to mention is the amount of spiderwebs you have to hit down. My friend and I were the first hikers of the day—we had to knock down (not exaggerating) about 100 spiderwebs WITH spiders on them.

We got to the (beautiful) bluff, hung out for awhile, and went back. The hike back nearly killed us. It was pushing 100 degrees and the hike up the mountain was horrid with all of the bugs buzzing around.

I would advise doing this trail when it’s cooler out because of the amount of bugs, spiders, and hills you’ll have to go up.

hiking
12 days ago

This hike isn't too difficult and the view is AMAZING. There is a place in the bluff where you need to crawl through a small opening, which may be difficult for dogs and some people. One of the most beautiful views I've ever seen.

Hit East Inlet at 8:30 on a Sunday morning (7/8). There were only a few cars in the lot and there appears to be plenty of parking. In the first 30-40 minutes I spotted two moose in the meadow area. A few families walking through that area, but at about 2.5 miles in, there were only a few others. A lot of rocky incline enroute to Lone Pine, nothing too bad, well marked. I ate lunch at Lone Pine, for the first 10-15 minutes I was the only person there. Two other groups trickled in. I continued on to Verna, which was steep and rocky but again nothing too difficult - the wildflowers were amazing up there. So much color. On the way back down I passed a moose that was very close to the trail, he didn't seem too happy I was there but I passed without incident. After reading another comment, since I was hiking alone I did wear a bear bell and brought spray just in case. A lot of birds, small animals and moose. Long trail, but doable for a day hike. I would love to have had time to get to Spirit and camp out.

hiking
13 days ago

There were numerous spots where we had to cross streams. At one point near the end, we were staring across a river at the spot where the trail continued... on the other side.

Hiked this trail today. We ended up going close to 7 miles round trip. The trip down to the bluffs is pretty rocky so you .definitely need good shoes and some poles would be good too. It is mostly downhill in and mostly uphill out. But so worth it! We didn’t go the whole way in the goat trail but the part we did see was pretty amazing and we saw some amazing rock formation in the bluffs. One part looked like some kind of cave dwelling the view of the buffalo river was also pretty spectacular as well. I would like to come back in the fall when there aren’t as many trees blocking the view on the way to the bluffs.

My 4 year old and I completed this trail June 18-20th 2018, we were very slow paced. it was absolutely beautiful and we made camp near the waterfall. The spots to set up for a tent are small but worked. Ticks and spiders were bad, but that's to be expected. We are deer, a bob cat, lots of butterflies and fish in the creek. Many water sources along the way with creek crossings. I would count this as more of a point to point trail that can also be made into a loop with the East side. We started and finished and what All Trails considers the middle with their out and back. Be prepared for rough driving and no cell service. There was steep drop offs and lots of rocks along the path but as said my 4 year old daughter and I managed. I'd love to go back to the area on the fall when ticks aren't has bad.

backpacking
17 days ago

Spent the weekend here at the beginning of June. The trail is clearly marked, but very overgrown and sometimes hard to see past the overgrowth. There's a beautiful campsite near a creek and one right past a dirt road. Plenty of camping spots near the waterfalls. It was strenuous. The climbs can be rough. A lot of loose rocks and larger rocks and roots. Wear very comfortable shoes that are water resistant. You have to cross some creeks.

It’s a good one day hike if you start in the morning or a a late evening with one night of camping, it’s pretty but not a lot to do if you plan on spending a day there. There are a lot of ticks!

Nicely kept. Well marked and easy to follow. Gets muddy fast and there are tons of different rock sizes throughout the path. Be sure to wear supportive shoes. We went in summer so the hike was pretty much just through tree canopies without much of a view but he bluff has a great view for a lunch time stop. Overall a pretty hike with a challenging hike back the the trailhead.

I love this park so much. If you do both trails, it leads you to a beautiful scenery. One downside about St. Francois this year is the mosquitos, and ticks. We discovered at least 30 ticks on my dog and 10 on us each. If you find a really strong repellent, I suggest checking it out or waiting for cooler weather!

Tough Trail but we really enjoyed it. It rained 2 days before we started so there were 2, shin high, water crossings before getting to Barkshed campsite the first night. You can filter water from those locations and also at Barkshed. Ticks we're in abundance! We lost count how many were on our bodies and inside our tent.

A must hike if you are in the area. It’s worth driving down from KC, as did a couple I met on the trail. Not a solitude hike - I met 10+ people and two horses on the trail, and more at the trailhead. If you need to cool off after, hop in the Buffalo at Ponca.

Great for trail running. I prefer to run it in reverse. It isn’t as hard on your feet and knees at the end when you end at the trail head. The full trail is beautiful, but the shortcut is just as challenging.

Beautiful moderate hike. Certainly a long one. Bring lots of water and snacks. Traverse through marshy meadows, forest, by rivers, past pristine lakes. Absolutely lovely!!

3.5/5
The views from the outcropping are one of a kind. You can see the river and surrounding terrain for a great distance, and everything looks kind of stereoscopic from that height. There are some cool formations and paths in the outcropping itself, too.
The views along the way, however, aren’t good. In fact, you’ll spend most of your time looking down to find sure footing on the chunky/rocky path. The view is definitely worth the hike, but you’re looking at ~2hrs of sort of boring travel in order to see it.

I did a small backpacking trip with a few teenagers on this trail, and we all had a blast. Well marked trails and a nice campground!

This trail was intense. Pretty difficult. I did it as an overnight. It has some very beautiful spots along the way but the rocky terrain chewed my feet up. Make you have good boots that fit well. Junction camp is not easy to find. Stay at rock hole. It’s nice there in the evening. I shared part of the creek that night with a beaver. He was chill, though. It’s pretty dry out there right now, which was a bummer. Looking forward to doing this trail again in the fall.

Trip dates:: 6/15-17. You want to enjoy lakes in close proximity to each other? Do this hike. We enjoyed a two night three days backpacking trip here. Stayed at the Solitaire campground. From here all the lakes from Verna lake n on is accessible all the way to Fifth Lake which is the very last lake on the map. Its marshy and about a foot deep in but if u don’t mInd then by all means head up towards the Fifth Lake- it’s gorgeous!! Lots of downed trees and the trail is not maintained after Verna Lake and you will see a sign that will indicate that. Lots of water and gushing falls. Bonus: a few actual man made steps makes the uphill hike a beautiful photo op. Lots of vista points as well. Very busy trail head but thins out and it’s just you and the wild as you go higher. A bear crossed our path on the way out. Never happened to us in our 12+ years of backpacking. Reminder that this is CO and is there’s very much “wild” left in the wilderness.

hiking
1 month ago

Fun hiking trail! It's well kept, and marked good enough to reach the end and back with no issue. Waterfall is AMAZING, but more for its structure than anything else. Highly recommended if you can appreciate an aggressive hike from the Compton Trailhead. River was dry so no human traffic from river. We saw more wildlife than humans which is the kind of trail we like. Ran across 2 primitive camp sites, but no camping near the fall. A few pointers...remember, it's down and back (which is up) from the Compton Trailhead. If you can't walk or run 5k on flat ground, then this trail is not for you. Watch for rattlesnakes. We saw 3-4 ft rattler on the rock steps. If you use the post office as a landmark to find the trailhead, it's gone...looks burned down. Overall, a fantastic hiking experience!

backpacking
1 month ago

A beautiful loop plenty of water great camping spots! If it your first time dont underestimate this trail it’s a tough one. I am definitely doing it again!!

hiking
1 month ago

This was fun! Minus the fact that we were the first on the trail and dealt with ALL the morning spiderwebs, it was a very unique hike. The reviews are all correct - bomb down and hike up. We actually found that it took us longer going down however bc we were being so cautious with footing.

While the waterfall was barely flowing, it was still nice to get underneath and cool off. We took lunch and ate down at the falls. Really beautiful and worth the hike down.

The hike up was a challenge but not crazy. Just about an hour of uphill hiking and lots of stairs. We took a few water breaks and heart rate breaks and had a great time!

backpacking
1 month ago

The reviews of this trail range wildly. But if you go no further than these two sentences the take home is that it’s not that difficult and the stream crossing are easy.

I went at the beginning of June and while it got warm in the afternoon most of the hike is shaded anyway so it didn’t matter much. I started at the trail head Little Missouri/Athens Fork junction at 8:00am. I hiked counter clockwise so I did the ridges first. While they weren’t easy the only one that’s challenging is Brush Heap.

First night I camped alongside the creek on the eastern portion (about 11.6 Miles from my start) of the Viles Branch Horse Trail. Arrived around 3:00pm.

I was going to camp a second night but the remaining sections of the trail were very straightforward and easy. I did lose the trail a couple of times at two of the stream crossings but found it quickly. I ended up hiking through this last day. Started at 9am and was back at the Missouri/Athens Fork trail head around 4:00pm.

This hike is rocky, but well worth the spectacular view. Leave your Chacos at home and wear trail shoes or hiking boots!

I really enjoyed this hike and Lake Verna did not disappoint, but it was long! This was the longest day hike I have attempted (I hike very slowly...it took me 5 hours to get there...) and while I would have enjoyed seeing Spirit Lake, I didn't have it in me. Next time I should backpack and stay at one of the backcountry sites and split it up. What I liked about this hike was the variety of terrain: meadow, cliffs, aspens, pine forests and so many waterfalls! Lone Pine Lake was not that exciting, but Lake Verna was beautiful.

backpacking
1 month ago

The reviews of this trail range wildly. But if you go no further than these two sentences the take home is that it’s not that difficult and the stream crossing are easy.

I went at the beginning of June and while it got warm in the afternoon most of the hike is shaded anyway so it didn’t matter much. I started at the trail head Little Missouri/Athens Fork junction at 8:00am. I hiked counter clockwise so I did the ridges first. While they weren’t easy the only one that’s challenging is Brush Heap.

First night I camped alongside the creek on the eastern portion (about 11.6 Miles from my start) of the Viles Branch Horse Trail. Arrived around 3:00pm.

I was going to camp a second night but the remaining sections of the trail were very straightforward and easy. I did lose the trail a couple of times at two of the stream crossings but found it quickly. I ended up hiking through this last day. Started at 9am and was back at the Missouri/Athens Fork trail head around 4:00pm.

Great views of the Buffalo River - loved the bluffs and winding trail along the rocks. No ticks were found, although a ranger did mention that some of the lesser traveled trails nearby had many problems with this. Loved the views--beautiful!

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