Explore Vacation Ideas - 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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backpacking
4 days ago

I loved this trail. It takes you deep in the woods, and it has many great views and sights to see. Highly recommend it. I made a video with some highlights from my trip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUQxymOH9iQ

Falls were okay. We started at bike trail from fountain flat drive making it just under 10 miles. Bike trail open and mostly flat only one set of bikers passed us on our hike. Saw some bison off in the distance and one elk. Bike trail offered great prairie views and was gravel with some old broken pavement spots. From bike rack into falls was poorly maintained trail with some trash along the way. Heavy traffic and typical tourist racing to reach distinction, snap their selfie and push they way back out. If you can time it right the falls are nice but if your traveling with younger children skip the extra miles of the adding the bike trail.

hiking
18 days ago

This trail was a blast and make no mistake, very challenging. We started from the Daly Creek Trailhead, and headed up the trail around 730 am. We went clockwise on the loop,and were glad we did, because at about mile 13 or so, there is a mountain to climb that is essentially straight up and very challenging, but coming down would have been much worse. The last 5 miles (after the previously discussed incline) was challenging and felt long, but it was worth it. We did see a Grizzly about about mile 15 (1 mile from completing the loop) and that was cool. He/She took off up the mountain at light speed and it was cool to see. The views on this hike were amazing, and worth every step. My wife and I were proud to complete it together and it took us about 9 hrs, 30 minutes with about 3-40 minutes of breaks for meals, snacks, etc.

Relatively easy summer hike with some gorgeous river/lake views. Not busy at all, we only ran into two other hikers. A big thank you to Nikhil's review, without which we wouldn't have brought the bug spray. Mosquitos were brutal.

backpacking
1 month ago

5-25-18
First time coming here in warm weather. I prefer early spring for sure. What a difference a month makes. I came in mid-April and it was perfect for overnight backpacking.
This time, I tried a different section than usual and planned a day hike to the scenic overlook near the campground. I brought my 11y.o. for the first time. We had to turn back because the trail was completely overgrown and it essentially vanished. We bushwhacked a couple hundred more yards hoping it would clear a bit but no luck. The thorny growth covering the trail was too thick and tall for my kiddo to manage at his height. I love this area but will definitely limit my hikes to fall and spring when there's less vegetation. To my surprise, I only found one tick on me! I think the tick population has exploded since then.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome day hike for an active adventurer. Super cool views on both sides of the ridge. Lots of pretty butterflies but of course there are mozzies and horseflies as well. Bring bug spray if you want to hang out and relax! Going to Bighorn Peak is worth the extra 3/4 mile roundtrip to see some bighorn sheep. If you start early watch for grizzly bears. Saw one a few miles in, as other reviewers have stated (7/14/18).

Beautiful hike! Longer than what it says here. Can't get far without a Bug spray though, the mosquitoes will suck you dry!

Great trail. What others have said is true. You need a full day for this hike. If you come in Daly Creek trail in the morning bring extra socks our feet were soaked because of the dew on the grass. Prepare for ups and downs on the rim. Some cool features on this hike are petrified wood (and large tree stumps) and also wildlife. We encountered a grizzly on trail but he ran the other way. Trail also had a good amount of snow at the top at the end of June.

Saw a grizzly bear near campsite WF2 7/9/18

backpacking
1 month ago

loved it

Amazing views and great trail. Be ready for a very wet hike if you go in June. I had to wade 2+ miles through 6 inch water. It was definitely worth it but it might be better later in the summer.

We started this trail at Artists Point as the early part of the trail is closed for reconstruction. The first mile is along the Grand Canyon and has to be seen to believe. Incredibly beautiful , if somewhat scary if you have a problem with heights. Then it veers off right via Clear Lake though mostly wooded areas which had a lot of fallen trees and muddy areas due to recent heavy rainfall to be negotiated. Hiking poles a big help. Our trip there & back totalled 8km , enjoyable but the first mile makes the trail.

ticks! south loop overgrown

hiked 6/21/18. I clocked 11.5 miles. we walked clockwise doing the 6.5 miles first. trail was flooded in places. took shoes and socks off twice on the way to the lake but was dry after that. gorgeous views the whole way. watch out for falling trees if windy. trail is obvious.

backpacking
1 month ago

Tough trail. Lots of loose rocks and grade changes. Challenging but fun. Ticks are abundant.

backpacking
2 months ago

So. Many. Ticks.

backpacking
3 months ago

Amazing! We had a blast on a spring hike.

backpacking
3 months ago

Did the entire 17 miles over a 2 day trip. Stayed the night on the scenic overlook near the campground. Their are some nice views at the scenic overlook and on the south loop, however the trail was very overgrown with little markings. The trail itself is very rocky and deteriorated at some points and brush had grown up and completely covered the trail for over a mile in some sections. Even with adequate preparation it was sometimes hard to know where the trail was. Watch for creek crossings and game trails as it is easy to lose the trail around these. Overall, the trail would be very nice with some maintenance and waypoints. I would not go again in its current condition.

backpacking
3 months ago

This is a spectacular trail. It has great views, tall pine trees, waterfalls, creeks and a river (if you go further east off the main trail when the trail cuts back west at its most eastern point). I debated on whether to take the South loop first or the North loop first and chose the South loop, which I’m glad I did.

The South loop has some nice views early on and several water sources. The trail is fairly easy to follow until you get to the river crossings before the Paddy Creek Recreation area where there are other trails in the area that you may be tempted to follow (we were). A map, compass and/or GPS go a long way in avoiding backtracking here.

When heading back on the North loop there is a great camping spot with a beautiful view of the valley (it is marked as waypoint 10 on the map referred to in the review before this one, which was a great review that helped us navigate this trail). An Eastern Whip-poor-will perched in the tree over our tents and sang part of the evening and again at dawn. Ovenbirds were everywhere calling “teacher, teacher, teacher.”

The hike back to the trailhead on the North loop can be very rocky and “rooty”. It is an easy place to twist an ankle or lose your balance. The trail climbs and descends several times before arriving back at the trailhead so make sure to stock up on water, especially in the hotter months when some of the water sources on the North loop may be dry.

The tallest pine trees on the trail were on the last quarter of the North loop heading back to the trailhead. The waterfall was a nice place to take a break, although it was a little hard to see because of the foliage. All in all, a great trail that was a lot of fun!

backpacking
3 months ago

I am not sure why this trail isn’t ranked higher, it is an absolute beauty of a hike. Located in the Mark Twain National Forest, this trail has a little of everything for just about any backpacker or ambitious day hiker.

To get there, find your way to Roby, MO. If you are coming from the East, South or West, go through Roby and head North on HWY 17. Watch for a National Forest sign that reads “Paddy Lake Trailhead.” If you are coming up from Roby, MO, that is traveling North on HWY 17, the sign will be on your right - if you are coming from the North and heading South on HWY 17, that is traveling towards Roby, watch for the sign on your left before you get to Roby, MO.

Go down the Paddy Creek Trailhead road (on the map it is Forestry Tr 274A) to Roby lake and the circular drive trailhead parking.

Once you are parked and ready, to get to the actual “trail” trailhead, walk back up the same dirt road that you just drove down and look for a red metal gate on the right - here your hike begins.

Once you enter the gate, you will traverse an open field, move through a small stand of trees and cross a dirt road to register at the trailhead box. Continue North on the trail, and shortly you will arrive at the junction of the North and South loop. IMHO, taking the South loop first is the better hike, so turn right at the junction.

This trail is poorly blazed, with minimum signage as well. However, with a map (here is an excellent one - http://www.ouachitamaps.com/picture_library/Paddy%20Creek/Paddy%20Creek%20Map.jpg) and a compass, you should not have a problem.

Note however, that if you are taking the south loop, that is going CC, the trail forks at around 4.0 miles, waypoint “006” on the map (see link above). When you get to this point, there is a sign for the left fork that reads “North Loop” and one for the right fork that reads “Paddy Creek Campground.” If you want to hike the whole loop, go right (“Paddy Creek Campground”). You you want to hike only ½ of the loop, go left (“North Loop”). The trail on the left is a connecting trial, part of an old military road, and descends to Little Paddy Creek. Right where the trail crosses the river, blazed with white diamonds (standard markings for a connecting trail), there is just enough space here and there to make camp, complete with a fire ring on the north side of the creek.

If you are hiking the whole loop, go right at this fork (following the sign “Paddy Creek Campground”), and continue along top of a beautiful ridgeline for about 2 miles (waypoint “007” on the map). The trail then plunges down to the junction of Little and Big Paddy Creek, then up sharply to cross Forest Road 220. Turn right on this road for the Paddy Creek Campground. This is a developed campground with room for some 23 tents, some of them coming in by Paddy Creek Road (https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mtnf/recarea/?recid=21782). While I tend to stay away from the developed stuff while I am backpacking, this is a nice (free!), well kept campground.

Chill at the campground for the night, even taking a dig in the clear, cool Big Piney River.

To finish the hike, get back on the trail and head north and downhill to Big Paddy Creek. Traverse along the southern edge of a bluff, before climbing it to a wonderful view of Big Piney River (“010” on the map).

Enjoy the next two miles of the trail is it moves around a gentle ridge, and even begins to descend back down towards Little Paddy Creek over the next two mile. At point “012” on the map the trail is joined by the connecting trail that comes up from Little Paddy Creek. At point “013” it splits - go left to stay on the trail (the right path is actually the dirt road/connecting trail that came up from Little Paddy Creek).

After point “013” the trails begins a series of “up/down” traverses, four (4) in all. Some of these will have water, and the last one, point “014” on the map, has a beautiful little waterfall and pool, perfect to rest up for the final push. When you cross this creek, the trail will turn down stream (going right) and shortly thereafter split, going either roughly straight or hard to the left and up hill. Take the hard left, and go up hill. Look for the small (add to it please!) cairn on the left at this trail junction.

From that point forward, it is an easy walk back to the trailhead box, across the dirt road and back to the red gate.

Once you are out, stop at Hoppers Pub in nearby Waynesville, MO (hopperspub.com), for a cold one and a great burger!

Remember to pack it in, pack it out, and enjoy this little hidden gem of a hike!

Jeff G

backpacking
3 months ago

I really enjoy this trail. It is a bit rugged in some areas --as this is also a horse trail.

The trail isn't really blazed very well, a map and compass wouldn't hurt to carry.

I am ready to go back again.

Here is a short video from my last trip:

https://youtu.be/DPZEVwNZlvo

hiking
3 months ago

We completed the trail from the Roby Lake trailhead. We started along the south loop which has great scenery’s early on, rock outcropping, wet season waterfalls etc and moved quickly along the first half of the trail. The south trail seemed less strenuous than the north trail as there wasn’t as much up and down travel. The hill climb near the middle of the trail coming from the south trail has a great rewarding view and scenery at the peak. We had hiked it before but right now in the middle of spring is a great time to be out there and there is plenty of water to refill if you use a filter. We are planning to spend more time there with the addition of camping in order to explore some of the interesting topography. Of note would be to have spare rope sandals etc for water crossings. We were glad we did!

backpacking
3 months ago

Due to heavy rains we were unable to hike the Courtois section of the Ozark Trail. After talking with someone from Mark Twain National Forest we decided to hike this trail on Easter weekend.

Day 1: we took the north loop. Well worn trail and very easy to follow. Plenty of water available to fill bladders and bottles. Several nice camp sites along the trail. We camped near the scenic overlook and were not disappointed by our sunset and sunrise views.

Day 2: headed down the trail towards Big Paddy Creek. Lost the trail twice due to high water. Got our feet/legs wet twice crossing the creek. It was chilly this time of year and moving briskly due to all the rain we've gotten. We enjoyed the south loop but trail markings seemed confusing at points. Make sure you have your maps and waypoints available.

backpacking
4 months ago

Called the ranger station last week and the trail is good-to-go.

Decent with some awwww. The falls are very cool and the way in seemed simple enough of a hike

4 months ago

24 MAR 18 closed for prescribed burn

hiking
5 months ago

Nice hike with a variety of terrian. Several camping sites along the trail. Trails are marked well enough that you shouldn't find yourself backtracking or scratching your head on which way to go. I was able to find ways to cross all the creeks (staying dry) after a couple days of good rainfall but a week of heavy rain might prove otherwise.

Really long and tough. We were in good shape with two collegiate track athletes and it took us 10 hours. The rim is actually a bunch of up and downs with the final push going up 700’ at 30• and there is still 8 or 9 miles to go after that. Bring lots of water. There is none at the top. Views are beautiful. No wildlife.

backpacking
7 months ago

Nice trail. We did a 3 day backpacking trip in October with with Sierra Club -Beginner Backpacking Course. The trail is great for beginners and experienced hikers alike. There are a lot of horses and the trails can be quite rocky in spots, other than that there is plenty of elevation changes, water sources, great scenery and a nifty little cave you can climb up to if you like that sort of stuff.

Definitely plan on bringing the kiddos down for a weekend this spring so they can have their first overnight experience. Even a nice spot for them to practice their Belaying and rappelling.

Only downfall is it is close to Fort Leonard Wood, so it's not uncommon to hear gunfire at times.

backpacking
9 months ago

Fantastic trail! Did the loop counter clockwise. Felt like most climbs on the return trip were very gradual, only a couple of very steep sections. The trail is rocky and at a couple of spots hard to follow, but common sense and a little observation you can find the trail easily. Beautiful ridge line camping spot over looking the river at mile 9 (counter) / mile 8 (clockwise).

The GPS track shown starts at the southwest end of the loop, which means overall descending to start, and overall climbing to finish. If you'd like to start your trip climbing and end descending, there is a camp ground near the jut out by Highway AF, which is right about halfway. Campground is free and very pretty, right along the river.

Feel free to message me on FB for more information! @jordanmwhite9

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