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Ozark Trail (spurs) Map
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Did this with the boy scouts. Trail has several highlights, the falls, high point in the state, backpack camping. Just a good hike.

Hiked west from Johnson Shutins trail in the day use area of the park, to the Ozark trail junction. Then we followed the OT blazes west over highway N and north toward Tom Sauk mountain. Very rugged terrain most of the way. Trail blazes are difficult to find in more than a few places. Keep an eye out for the hikers cairns, they kept us from getting lost more than once. Also if you don't see any blazes for a while look for two horizontal nails in the trees about 4 inches apart. They mark where a blaze used to be. That also served to keep us on the trail a few times. Very nice hike other than the trail not being very well marked in some places. Watch out for hogs. My brother and I jumped a small herd rooting right in the middle of our path.

Challenging in the first mile but after that wonderfully flat and the views are amazing!

I'm not exactly sure why the this section is so different from every other trail in Missouri, it just is. Great time, just bring water. You may have easily done a 5 mile trail without needing water before, but there's 5 miles and then there's 5 miles on the Taum Sauk.

Rugged. Lots of ankle turners. Best views in the state.

Great trail! It’s for sure rugged. Expect to be looking down a lot, but, make sure to stop and take in the scenery. My wife, daughter, son, two dogs and I did a quick 3 miles in from Taum Sauk mountain and stayed the night. The waterfall was a trickle, however, still a pretty awesome site for Missouri. We saw a lot of fence lizards and turtles. The coyotes were also having a great time throughout the night, but, never came very close. All in all a very nice and well marked trail.

This trail is incredible! Beautiful terrain and scenery all the way to Taum Sauk Mountain. Definitely a challenge; make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks because you'll be out there for awhile!

Me and my husband had planned to go to the very southern trailhead near Hendrickson and hike up from there to the highway 172 spot. Upon following the map to where the trailhead was suppose to be, we found we were lead to someone’s house and the map showed the spot was behind their house. We went to inquire to see if they knew about the trail but nobody was home so we just went to the highway 172 entrance and hiked in and out. Curious as to where the actual end point is now.

There are pretty views and rock formations, mostly shady woods with open sunny glades closer to Johnson Shut-ins. Oh and rocks, rocks, rocks.

We hiked from the Taum Sauk trailhead to the Highway N trailhead, 13.5 miles. We did this over 1 ½ days. We have done several day hikes but this was our first overnight backpacking trip so we wanted it to be fairly short. We traveled from St. Louis to the Highway N Trailhead with two cars then shuttled ourselves to the other end. We didn’t start hiking until lunch time so stopped a couple miles in at Mina Sauk Falls to eat. It was just a trickle of water that day but still a neat area to eat and explore.

Based on other reviews we expected the trail to be rocky and it sure is! Really only a few short sections the whole way were without large rocks. It got to my hips the second day. (I’m 49). My college age son and his friend faired better than my husband and I but after a section with a lot of rock slides they commented “that section sucked”. We did a lot of training preparing for a different hike and were used to 40 lb. packs and a 2mph pace. I had a lighter pack but we only managed about 1.5 mph.

There were two nice camping areas by Taum Sauk Creek and one a little further down. We tried out our water filtration system at the creek but camped further on at the last spot. It is by a ravine with a storm creek that may have water some of the time but didn’t when we were there. We expected to dry camp though and had brought extra water. The map we got from the Ozark Trail Association showed all the water sources and was accurate.

Chiggers and spiders were pretty much the only wildlife we encountered. After about four miles in we didn’t encounter other hikers either. I’m sure the hot August weather had something to do with that. We enjoyed the solitude and quiet at our camp site.

The trail was really well marked. I read a previous review before going that said the trail was not well marked. Someone must have done some maintenance between those times because we didn’t need our map or compass at all. Many of the blazes looked new. When we got to the end we car camped at Johnson Shut-Ins State park and enjoyed the shut-ins the next day. Overall a nice three day weekend.

hiking
3 months ago

we only hiked for 30 minutes in/30 min out. pretty easy trail that ran parallel to the st. francis river.

I hiked this trail plus several more miles to hw 21. The trail was well maintained as well as the camp sights. You gain elevation quickly and enjoy a challenging hike with rewarding views. Not much water so bring plenty.

For Missouri this is some great hiking/backpacking. It is rugged, and some decent hills that will get you out of breath. You have access to go to the top of Russell Mt. and Taum Suak Mt. along the way. I went in March, so the waterfalls a mile or so past Taum Sauk were flowing. Slept at a campsite about a 1/8 of a mile away from the falls. Without the leaves on the tree you get to see some pretty cool views along the way. During the summer the views would be much more limited. Devils Tollgate is about another mile down the trail past the falls. Give your self time to hike it, the hills and the rocky trail will slow you down a bit. The Taum Suak section of the Ozark Trail is the best hiking and backpacking in Missouri.

I must be a terrible hiker. People on here claim to start at the Bell Mountain Wilderness (Highway A) and get to the peak (Taum Sauk) in 6 hours with 30lbs packs and what have you. Bell Mountain to Taum Sauk is a 30 mile trail. That's 10 minute miles. Plan ahead and give yourself some time. It took us about 14-15 hours to complete across two days. Saw some boars, very pretty waterfall, amazing viewpoints. Everything you can need to know about this trail is located on the OzarkTrail website.

backpacking
9 months ago

My husband and I hiked this trail last summer and it was a great experience! Definitely a rugged trail, and any visitors should be fully prepared with water and water filtration systems if they're planning on a longer trek. The views were worth any difficulties!!! We were also surprised by several cleared campsites along the way that weren't on the MO State Parks map.

backpacking
9 months ago

I did Bell Mountain Wilderness to Taum Sauk Mountain State Park. This portion of my trip was absolutely beautiful! It was rocky, rugged, and steep; give yourself plenty of time. I planned to camp here; it took me 6.5 hours to finish this portion with a 30lb pack. I recommend doing this in the fall, winter, or early spring as there will be some overgrown areas. Ketcherside Mountain had some amazing views. Please leave no trace!!

The best way to help the Ozark Trail if you notice something amiss is to report it using their tool: http://ozarktrail.com/tripreport.php
That said,I hiked this trail from the hwy 21 parking lot through to Taum Sauk one year ago, Jan 2017. I'm about to do it again tomorrow, hoping there are no downed trees but will make do.
It's a beautiful winding trail with plenty of elevation change and water features.
Bring first aid and flashlights and plenty of warm layers this time of year. Never know if you'll end up stuck out there for a night. Be smart.
I remember it to be challenging but totally doable for regular hikers. Definitely gets the heart rate up so anyone with asthma should bring their inhaler.
if you're hiking with someone you can do the longer trail that starts at hwy 21 and ends at Taum Sauk, I think it's about 12 miles. One person parks at Taum Sauk to get you back to your car at hwy 21.
Enjoy!

backpacking
11 months ago

I went on this trail in October of 2017 with my boyfriend. We started at Hwy 21 and had every intention to backpack to Taum Sauk, Mina Sauk and Devils Tollgate however the trail had different plans. Not even 500 yards in we were attacked by bees in a ground nest. The first 2 miles of the trail were decent with few trees down but then by mile 3 -4 we were forced off trail due to bulldozed sections leaving massive piles of trees across the trail. We climbed over where we could and went around through the woods when we couldn't. At about Mile 4 the trail and all markers disappeared. Debris on the trail or go downhill. No markers to lead the way and the map was too vauge. We camped trail side and left hiked out the next morning. Went to Taum Sauk Trail head and finished our hike. Hopefully the trail is looking better in that section now.

Good scout trail

hiking
Friday, December 01, 2017

hiking
Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I would like to second what Matt Hodel said (note: he's one of the people responsible for us making it off the trail alive this past weekend). Posts on here indicating that this hike takes less than 6 hours were misleading and nearly got us killed. If Matt and his buddy, Eric, had not been on the trail, the ending would have been very different.

I'm not personally in bad shape (though I could stand to lose 20 lbs), and by "not in bad shape" I mean that I lead a hiking group, do several 7+ mile hikes a month, and did a half marathon a month all last year —but this trail really kicked my backside.

When I read the under 6 review on here (and I'm not disputing that you did it, just saying that's not the norm for this trail), I did the math, and "it checked out" — our group hiking speed is a 24 min mile. But this trail is not your average hiking trail — it's littered with rocks, ankle-turners, almost throughout — I would say that 80% of the trail is being generous. And when you add to that, that the leaves had just fallen and it was drizzling, that's really going to slow you down.

So, based on calculations, we thought we would be off the trail in daylight, in 51° weather. Instead, we were still 2+ miles from the summit, at the most treacherous part of the trail, with one headlamp for every two people.

We had sent our 2 fastest hikers on to the summit with one of the radios, and between that and spotty cellphone connection, we were able to get ahold of rangers and keep warm around Matt & Eric's fire until we were rescued.

We started at 10:30 am, reached the power lines (the mid-way point) around 2:30 pm, where we ate lunch, sunset was approx 4:48 pm (with last light at 5:16 pm), we reached Matt & Eric's camp at 6:40 pm, were able to get through to rangers by 7:45 pm, were rescued at 8:30 pm, and made it back up to the top front country camping area by about 10:30 pm.

The ranger said that it's a 12 hour hike, and the State Park website even posits 14.5 hours, although it also lists the trail as being 14.5 miles.

All this is just to give a cautionary view, so that no one else comes here to find info, and gets in a predicament like we did. It's a beautiful, must-see area — just be wise. This is a point to point trail — once you start, there are no quick exits — you must go all the way to one end or the other.

backpacking
Monday, November 20, 2017

There are some very impressive reviews of hikers doing this section in under 6 hours. If you want to get someplace fast, drive.

This section of the trail has a duration recommendation of 14.5 hours. (https://mostateparks.com/trails/taum-sauk-mountain-state-park)

I️ think a healthy hiker that stops to enjoy lunch and take in a few views would be closer to 10 hours. If you are not conditioned to rugged hiking, you may use every bit of 14 hours.

backpacking
Saturday, October 28, 2017

Did this trail with the scouts as a backpacking trip. Great part of the state to hike. recommend as an extended backpack trip.

backpacking
Sunday, October 22, 2017

We started at the end of the Trace Section where the OT crosses Hwy 21 and hiked the beginning of the Taum Sauk section to the Goggins Mountain Spur Trail (approx 16 miles) and then exited the trail via Goggiins Mtn loop. Major creeks had plenty of water as well as the spring near Padfield Branch Creek. (Located behind an old shed.) There were established campsites near most water sources and at most overlooks. Only saw about 6 other people on the trail. The trail was well-marked and maintained except for downed trees just south of the intersection with Bell Mountain Wilderness loop. Great Hike!

By the way...the route shown with this thread is NOT the Taum Sauk section of the OT.

Monday, October 16, 2017

love the trail.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Just finished the full trail - actually is about 13.5 miles total. This is a nice trail, but rough! No rain in the area has dried up most of the water sources, especially if you start at Johnson Shut Ins - no water for approx 10 miles, pack smart! Otherwise a wonderful and unforgettable trail!

backpacking
Friday, September 01, 2017

Not an easygoing trail. More tics than I have ever seen.

We did part of this trail last Fall. it was beautiful. It took a couple hours to do it. I would love to hike the entire thing sometime.

hiking
Sunday, August 06, 2017

Trail was in great shape and well marked. Took us about 5 hours and 45 mins to complete it.

Well marked. Thick swamps and had to trail blaze just to continue. Not well maintained. No clean water to filter or treat. Otherwise pretty good

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