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

To Do Map

My adult daughter and I day-hiked this trail in late September 2017. It is nice little trail. No water. The trail is well marked, especially the u-turn at the north end. It would be easy to miss the turn if not for tape marking it. Some very nice glades and views of Black River Valley along the eastern section of the loop.

The route shown in the map follows along the lake. it isn't really a trail; it's a 'road'. There are no trees along the trail, and your view will be mostly the highway and a coal plant. I'd rate this hike easy as it's completely flat. More of an easy walk around the lake than a hike. Dogs and 6 year old had fun, though.

This trail needs some maintenance. There are 20-25 fallen trees that are down on the trail. For someone day hiking this is not an issue but there are camping sites along it which requires more gear and larger packs.

1 month ago

Great trail! According to my Fitbit it was closer to 8 miles... will definitely be back!

Beautiful, beautiful views.

First time hiking the Mark Twain Forest. Trail head was actually for two different trails, in the same campground, Greer Rec Area north of Alton, Mo. Well kept campground, trail head was easy to find (see photos). Ample parking and restrooms too. The trail was well marked in the beginning but as time went on the markings were scarcer, some needed replacing. Trail was covered with leaves (its December) but able to be followed if you pay attention. Would have given this a 5 rating except the description was wrong, this trail is much longer than described. The distance "Out" is actually about 7.5 miles, one way, which would make a 15 mile out and back, not 8.8 miles. I stopped at 5.1 and made a cross country trek of about 1/4 mile and dropped down to the River Trail for my return and still ended up with 8.2 miles. So, the "loop" at the end of my "out" venture is not a trail as I had to trail blaze it down a small canyon. I hooked up with the River Trail and came back that way. All in all it was a nice hike, but next time I will stick to the "Upland trail" to the end and allow myself more time. A word of caution, the River Trail will be full of bugs and snakes come warm weather, so prepare accordingly. No worries on the upper "Upland Trail".

1 month ago

Hiked this trail yesterday (11/24) after we had quite a bit of rain and it wasn’t too muddy! The trail head was pretty confusing, and I completely lost the trail at one point as well, but all it all I did really like this trail! Loved all of the moss especially!

2 months ago

Beautiful hike with various terrain changes. We went 11/3, early AM, after rain, many new leaves on paths, if it weren’t for trekking poles would have fallen four times. No ticks, skeeters, spider webs, nice. Trail head (TH) marking, signage poor. We took off from area 1/2 mile off TH. We finally found the TH, which we thought was end of trail but it wasn’t; very confusing! We were temporarily bewildered (lost) and walked 3/4 mile on road to get back to car. Blazing’s are confusing, and not very generous.

Well defined trail. Easy but good variation. Beautiful.

This is a review of the Cannon Trail. The trailhead is at the opposite end of the parking lot from the pavilion which is next to the creek. There are no blazes but the path is well-defined and all intersections are properly posted. The trail is almost all earthen with very few areas with small rocks.

At just over 6 miles per my GPS track, this trail is much improved over my last hike here about 3 years ago. I hiked it counterclockwise this time which starts off quite flat while the trail follows Big Creek.

If you've driven the loop around the park (I recommend you do that first for orientation), you know that the front section is the low elevation and the back is the higher elevation. Hiking CCW makes the ascent more gradual but there are no steep ascents in either direction. This is a fairly gentle topography.

Kids should have no trouble on this trail. All the same, the trail is never far from points where you can easily "bail out" to the loop road running through the park. At those points you will often find additional parking areas with modern vault toilets and water fountains usable in season.

Did this one on a cold Sunday morning. Went clockwise at the spur as advised. Last 1/3 can be tricky if you’re not paying attention. Inclines were not hard at all. Phone died at the ten mile marker but gps had me at 10.40 once I got back to the sign. Great hike if you’re looking for a longer one. I’ve now knocked Johnson shut ins off my hiking list and I’m on to the next park.

Only hiked a few miles on easy terrain. Good easy hike with plenty of markings.

Easy peasy. Nice little trail.

wide diversity of flora + types of terrain. wouldn’t say it was a hard or difficult hike - perhaps moderate largely due a lot of vegetation or fallen trees coupled with narrow pathways at times. fairly quiet + unpeopled.

3 months ago

Lots of cool views and just enough hills to get a nice little work out in. Took us a little over three hours. Not a heavily trafficked trail which is cool but there was an insane amount of spider webs across the trail which got really annoying after about a mile of running into them. Overall I’d say it was a good hike.

One of the only local places in relation to St. Louis where there’s some freedom to do as you please. Atv/dirt bike trails are narrow and hard to see if someone is coming the other direction. The place gets packed in the flats near the parking but if you hit the trails you’ll get more freedom. Overall it was a great time just wish there was more to explore as I found myself quickly hitting the same spots as I rode around.

4 months ago

Giving two stars due to the abundance of TICKS! The first mike of this trail is narrow and through scrub timber. The creek bed is cool - neat rocks, sometimes you have to take the bank - no clear trail through these sections - no way to avoid walking through brush and weeds. We got 2 miles in and turned back because we realized our legs were covered with tiny ticks. Would not do this one again.

Old double-track trail. Very old, though, so not as unpleasant as double-track sounds, although you could drive a car along most of the trail.

Very rocky in the initial ascent, but only for that first mile.

Beautiful glades. Only saw one other party, although it was a Thursday.

4 months ago

Good mix of open and wooded. Several nice views. I hiked 2 days after heavy rains and there were tons of beautiful fungi. I saw a few lizards and walking sticks. Otherwise, animal life was minimal. Lots of good rocks for collecting.

5 months 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.

5 months ago

Good trail, didn't see snakes, got a couple ticks. a little bit of experience hiking, makes this trail real fun. couple places to camp, no idea if you're allowed to or not though. this is a low maintained trail and that includes the road up to the trailhead. small cars can make it but its rough. i plan on hiking it again and probably camping off the trail.

One of my favorite places to go and experience each season in Missouri. There are plenty of birds and other animals to see while walking, the trails are taken care of and it's usually not crowded.

Great trail to hike with lots to see. Horses also use the trial and there was a tremendous amount of manure on the trail today. More than I've ever seen on this trail

mountain biking
6 months ago

It’s really wide but there is still plenty of rocks and roots to have a good time on a mountain bike. There is lots of signage, however I wasn’t always sure which sign I needed to follow. Over all a great ride.

trail running
6 months 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.

Fun trail that runs mostly along a ridge line at the start and passes through woodland and then a Shortleaf Pine forest. There’s a rest area between the woodland and Shortleaf Pine forest that is next to a small lake and has a picnic table. Other neat little ponds can be found next to the trail.

After descending from the ridge and passing some large flat rocks and other rock formations, the trail runs next to a wet weather creek for a couple of miles, which it crosses a few times. The trail is overgrown in several areas along the creek but the path is well worn from trail riders so it’s easy to find. We passed at least ten riders while on the trail. The last 3/4 mile back to the trailhead is on a gravel road. I logged 9.2 miles for the mapped trail.

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.

Relaxing with kiddos

7 months ago

Beware of ticks, they were falling from the trees on us at the campsite. The trail from creek to the campground is very overgrown but manageable. Enjoyed my time on Lower Rock Creek as always! This is an unofficial trail that is not maintained, be prepared for less than ideal conditions.

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