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Fun trail to run. A couple of those hills are just plain evil which is always a plus. The trail is marked pretty well and was maintained for the most part. There was a small overgrown section and a downed tree on the path. I'll definitely come back to this one again.

camping
9 days ago

Excellent view and great hike.

backpacking
14 days ago

Did this trail last weekend but had to stop at the creek. Water sources along trail are low because lack of rain and smelled so I would not filter.
Going south bound from Ozark Outdoor, at the 2.5 mile mark there are trees down over the trail and will require you to climb over them.
Overall great hike and beautiful views.

hiking
14 days ago

Very overgrown with lots of trees across the trail. Only 1 tick despite the underbrush. Some truly beautiful areas. Came across only one other family.

backpacking
17 days ago

Not bad trail to overnight— very easy and quick, pretty good for a Missouri trail

Not marked well . The camping spot is not marked well and it is on the side of a hill . The lake is beautiful
Trail is nice a lot of wild life if you plan to camp use a hammock not a tent .

hiking
18 days ago

Not a bad hike overall. Hiked it on 30 Jul, 2018 after a few days of light rain. Made the trail slick on the rocks and muddy in the dirt. Summer tree canopy made it not very scenic but it was a nice day in the woods. Since it's a smaller trail and conservation area, there was some road noise on the portions of the trail near the boundary lines but overall was a quiet place. Lots of wildlife and unfortunately, spider webs all over the trail. Probably could have shaved 20 minutes off the total time if I was not constantly reenacting Harry Potter spells with the stick I was using to clear the webs. The trail itself is nearly impossible to lose as it's basically an ATV trail. The true distance is less than the advertised 8.1 miles. Even with shooting down some of the side trails and loops, I hit 7 miles even right at the parking area. Good hills to get the heart rate up and legs feeling the fun but pretty mild over the rest of the trail.

Hiked this trail Sunday 7-29-18. I did not do the small Taconic Loop, only the main big loop. A couple of steep climbs, but otherwise easy. Trail is actually a well marked narrow 4x4 Jeep road. The hike is 100% in the woods and a few clearings, but no long views of any kind, which I was hoping for. Lots of nice creek beds and rocky drainages, and typical MO hardwood forest. Plenty of wildflowers. Took me about 2 1/2 hours to do about 5.5 miles at a leisurely pace. Very little use, in fact I did not see another person the whole time, but it did rain for a time, which I assume kept folks away. Nice feeling of solitude.

I walked <2 miles on the Moon Loop and got 11 ticks on my clothes. Trailhead off the Ginn Lane was a bit hidden. On the bright side, the sunrise and scenery were beautiful!

Love the scenic river view! Path takes you right on the highway next to traffic so be careful!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail. Climb or descent on river side

trail running
1 month ago

Definitely run this trail in the winter up to early spring or be sure to wear pants. The majority of the trail is narrow and has foliage growing over the path. I wore my very short running shorts and a tank top and ended up with some pretty raw legs. I had 8 or more ticks from the hour and half it took to run it but that was to be expected. If give it a 5 star rating for hikers and 4 for runners.

Nice winding trail, very peaceful. Has some stretches that I would love to come back and run. Also, according to the paper map provided on-trail, it is 14 miles.

A bit rocky for a trail run this long but no problem for hikers. I was fighting with spider webs strung across the trail about every twenty strides and almost stepped on a copperhead so be sure to stay on the lookout for that. There was a really nice view about 2.5 miles in that you can also stop at on the return trip. All in all I enjoyed this challenging run and would recommend it to anyone looking for some really good hill workouts.

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!

Great trail with a beautiful view from the summit. Also sort of busy on the weekend-expect at least one other person/group to set up camp at the top with you if you plan to backpack.

Most of the trail is pretty rocky and steep, so bring good boots and minimal other gear. If you go on the left, expect to go downhill quickly to a river and all the way back up again both ways. Good to refill on water. The left side to camp took is about 4 hours of hiking and going down on the right side of the loop, a more steady decline, took about 2hours.

Be careful of muddy spots caused by horses churning up the path (waterproof your shoes) and also horse poop.

Lastly, make sure you take lots of precautions to protect yourself from ticks. It seemed like Lone Star and seed ticks were everywhere.

backpacking
2 months ago

We did an overnight hike here. It was great loop for our group. It offered a few challenging hills. Joes creek was about 1-2 way thru and we where able to grab some water. I will defiantly do this loop again ad possibly relay it into the next trail over for a nice 25 mile hike

6/2/18. Used Deep Woods Off for mosquitos and ticks. Still spent 4 hours waving away mosquitos, and my wife and I had literally about 2 dozen ticks on us at the end.

backpacking
2 months ago

Great moderate trail for the first-timer and offers an opportunity for a backpacking/overnight adventure too. The sunset and sunrise are incredible from the summit. There are a few places for water in Joe’s Creek on the North side of the loop. I think the best way to hike is counter clockwise since you’ll be low on water from the first day and camping, and the way back gives you the chance to fill up. Spray up your waistline and your ankles and your exposed areas with big spray since there are a few ticks, but if you’re smart about how you dress and use your tent, it’s fine. Bring some earplugs if you don’t sleep well with the whippoorwill’s chirping at night. :-)

backpacking
2 months ago

Started around Noon yesterday, went counter clockwise as I didn’t want to miss the sunset. The first 1.5-2 miles were challenging with high inclines and a rocky trail. Took a little under 3 hours to get to the summit with a few snack breaks in between (28F, ~25 lb pack). Beautiful scenery and was able to watch the sunset by heading a little further down the trail and over some gorgeous rock formations. Woke up at 5 am to catch the sunset. Back on the trail (did not complete the loop, went back the way I came as I was running low on water) at 6:50. Other campers found water further down the trail, but there was no real water access going counter clockwise. I brought 3 liters (used 2 cups for cooking) and used almost every drop so be prepared. Made it back to the parking lot by 8:45. Great trail for beginning backpackers!

backpacking
2 months ago

Set out to do a 2 night backpacking trip. Hiked 5 miles UP the mountain, set up camp, played around a bit, then prepared to take cover from the storm that, according to the weather man, wasn't supposed to happen. Rode that storm out in the tent (it was only 3pm) and, after checking the weather and surveying the storm headed toward us (twice as big as the first), we decided it was best not to stick around. We hiked 5 miles back down the mountain, literally walking through a creek the whole way and crossing several water falls because there was so much water from the first rain. We made it back out about 30 minutes before the next storm hit. There were at least 2 or 3 more rounds that night. Trail was difficult, rocky and wet. Probably be a great trail in the Fall. Spring rain and Missouri humidity make it difficult this time of year. All in all, a good workout.

Great trail, marked well for novice.
Good variation in terrain, several areas with natural wildflowers. Could vary depending on time of year. Took trail in May and areas that had undergrowth burned and new growth coming up were cool. Several runoff crossings, so pay attention to weather.

backpacking
3 months ago

I hiked in from the Highway A trailhead. I didn’t get started until about 1pm, and with temperatures in the low 90s I took a lot of breaks (41M) and reached the summit in about three hours going counter-clockwise. I set up camp with a beautiful view. There are lots of campsites with fire rings set up. I was low on water and had to decide if I was going to attempt to head down the mountain to reach Johnson Shut-in Creek or continue hiking around the loop counter-clockwise to reach Joe’s Creek. I decided to head for Joe’s Creek, which was about 2.5 hours round trip.

A storm was moving in, and I cooked dinner and watched the lightning show for a while before retiring to my tent. A loud, spectacular thunderstorm began around 9:30pm and went on non-stop until around midnight. After it ended , I emerged and enjoyed the post-storm darkness for a while before finally falling asleep. I hiked back down the same way in the morning. I saw a few wild turkeys and lots of lizards and turtles. The ticks were thick.

I only saw one other hiker, but I heard a couple of guys at a campsite about 100 yards from me, I assume they’re the ones that posted about heading down the mountain during the storm.

2nd time @ Bellé Muerto. Drove to Ottery Creek Campground at 2am and had the Camp to ourselves. Woke up around 10am and Hiked to the Summit (2.5 Hours, 6-/+ miles with small detours. Set up camp at the summit and walked down to Shut In Creek. The hike down to creek is short (1/2 mile) but intense, especially during the summer with so much foliage. Swam in the creek and then headed back up out summit camp around 6pm. We started making food and watched a storm in the distance which appeared to make its way around us. By sunset the storm had moved close, and by dark we were immersed in a pretty intense thunderstorm. After watching several strikes of lightning hit nearby Lindsay Mountain & Shut In Creek we decided to get off the mountain. Panicking in the dark with very heavy rain we got lost and ran around for about 20 minutes before finding the actual trail. Then with all of our gear we ran through intense thunder & lightning the 6-/+ miles back to car in a little over 1 hour.

One of the scariest nights of my life. Pure terror. Very humbling. Always check the weather before camping on summits and if a storm brews unexpectedly don’t wait to see if it will miss you or not. The radar told us that the storm was not going to hit us.

Bell Mountain is one of the tallest summits in the surrounding area & one of the rockiest summits in Missouri. That can either be really cool or dangerous as well.

BEAUTIFUL hike, BEAUTIFUL summit. 5/5 as always

20 mile day. the night of reckoning. the night we all almost died.

im not the best at expressing how I feel,
but if last night taught me anything, it's that I do not want to be left on a bad foot with anyone.

5/14/2018 the trip that almost didn't allow me to come back

a constant reminder at how easy it is to take things for granted. even what u love.

life or death sitatuion how do you react, how do you keep your thoughts together?


from this day on, everyday is looked at like a life or death situation
when I lay down and go to sleep, I die, my mind leaves, and portals back.
wake up and restarts,
intake, release, reflect, increase, decrease.
every sunset is a day, I'm never going to get back.
every night is my lightning storm.
5/14 thank you so much for sparing me,
and letting me intake the most valuable lesson
how precious LIFE is

I enjoyed the entire experience as it is hard not to when out in the beauty of the world. More water would be valuable if you are looking to spend some time on the summit. An epic hike, I will be back xo

backpacking
3 months ago

Very scenic for how short the trail is. A very nice distance if you want an easy 2 night backpacking trip or are short on time. Lots of good campsites near the summit. Busier than some other trails in the area but their was enough room for around 5 groups to make camp when we went. Make sure to bring enough water or a good filter as their are not many good water sources near the top. The trail is easy enough to follow and would definitely do it again.

backpacking
3 months ago

Backpacked with my friend and dog to the summit. Initially went the wrong way; where we were supposed to cross the street, we took a left and followed the Ozark trail for ~4 miles. Realized we went wrong way once I got some cell service and opened the map; by that time it was 6pm and time to set up camp. Next day, headed out around 7am and made our way across the stream, the road, and up the trail. First couple miles were a bit challenging, with moderately steep grade and a very rocky trail. (for reference: 19, male, great shape; first time backpacking. load was too heavy and will not make that mistake again!!) There were some breaks in the treeline on the way up with great views, perfect for taking a break. Definitely enjoy that as you won't get a similar view until the summit. Took us ~3 hours to get from the road to the summit -- probably won't take that long if you don't have a really heavy load like we did.
Got to "summit" -- and I say "summit" because while being the highest point, there really isn't too much of a break in the treelines -- that said, where there are breaks, it's an incredible view. There are many protruding rocks (boulders?) which gave us great views. Caught timelapses of the sunrise. We set up camp and realized we were pretty low on water. While there was a pond near the beginning of the loop, it was pretty muck and we'd read something about Joe'sCreek being a viable source of water. We came across no such creek on the way to the summit, so i'm assuming that creek was located on the clockwise way of the loop (we went counterclockwise -- summit is much closer that way). So, we did what naive amateurs do and decided to decline the mountain, a mile due east from campsite, as we knew there was a river "Shut-in Creek" down there. Went from ~1700ft elevation to ~700ft in the span of a mile, through the thick. Let me tell you-- it was hard. There was no trail, and we had to go through some thick areas. We were heavily protected from ticks and the like, but still. Took ~20 min to get down, hit the river which was B E A Utiful as can be. The Hike back up was difficult -- about 45 min. In retrospect, we should have just made our way to Joe's Creek. But, it was our first time, and we sure learned from it. A couple other groups set up camp on the summit. Made some friends. You wouldn't believe how many stars there are when there's no light pollution. Awe-inspiring.
All in all, a great first backpacking experience. The Hike down was considerably easier; we made it back to the car in less than half the time it took to go up. My dog, Skipper, did well. K9 Advantix 2 days prior, and a flea/tick collar is a must. Found a lot of dead ticks on him. Kinda cool. Will definitely go back -- a bit more prepared next time.

backpacking
3 months ago

Beautiful scenery, nice laid out paths.

Solid loop with everything a regular hiker could want. The full loop is 10.5 miles with most of the climbing out of the way early. The hike starts with a steady climb straight up to the highest point of the hike. Once to the top of Burford Mt you follow the ridge line to summit at 5 different peaks. The first peak is the highest point but is covered in small trees with no view, the second peak has large glades and rock structures to cross. The third peak is similar to the first. After the 3rd peak you will reach the portion of the trail where the actual loop starts. Keep left to reach Bald Knob in about a half mile or stay right to reward yourself with the views at Bald Knob at the end of your loop. The hike from trailhead to Bald Knob is just over 3 miles. Bald Knob is located on the 4th summit of the ridge. Continue on to the fifth summit and then back around the loop to peak #3. The trail does not have switch backs so expect steep and rocky conditions. Hiking poles come in handy for the trip back down Buford Mt for extra stability.

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