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Amazing trail. It is difficult, but definitely worth it.

11 hours ago

Don't underestimate it. Starts off easy, then gets much more difficult. We picked a good day for this trail, but it would have been a lot harder if it was rainy or icy.

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.

1 day ago

This is a really enjoyable hike. The overall hike is challenging not only in length but in terrain. For perspective I am 55 but in good shape. I have recently completed a triathlon and two half marathons in the last year.

I started from the highway A trailhead on the Ozark Trail. There is an initial climb with several switchbacks as you climb the trial is very rocky. I had trekking poles which I found to be essential. You climb about 1.5 miles until you hit the bell mountain trial. The trial continues to be uphill and rocky for another.7 mile when the trial starts to go through a wooded area. At about a mile on the bell mountain trial you come to the loop. At this point you can choose to go clockwise or counter clockwise. Counter clockwise is a much longer hike about 8 miles to the best camping sites on the mountain. You will reach Joe’s creek at about 3 miles. This is the best water source by far. There are several access points over a mile or so. If you go clockwise when you reach the loop the hike to the best camping is much easier. About 4 miles with limited hills to climb. There is a small pond before the camping on the mountain and another about 1/2 mile past the camping area. I used that one. Not as clear as joes creek but fine with a good filter. The view from my camping spot was awesome. There are a lots of sites to choose. I went on a Thursday night in March. There were two campers on the entire mountain.

Couple of things to note. I saw post where people said they did the entire loop in 4.5 hours. I made pretty good time and did not take long breaks and it took me 9.5 hours total including the 1.5 miles on the Ozark trial each day. Also watch for the Orange ribbons that mark the loop. If you go clockwise there is an orange ribbon the marks the loop trial at about 5.5 mile. Follow the loop to left with orange ribbon. if you go straight will take you to north Bell trailhead.

Amazing place! Looking forward to a spring hike once the weather warms. Beautiful, tranquil, lush and rugged. Ideal place for photography!

trail running
2 days ago

Great challenge!! It was a little difficult to follow the white diamonds to reach the other side once you got down into the canyon, but other than that it was a wonderful workout and a lovely hike.

Absolutely worth the uphill hike. Views are beautiful, this is a photographer's dream. Just be sure to take the right trail on the way down. You have to look for your trail and a log bench on the right otherwise you will take the obvious trail that goes straight... into nowhere.

Favorite trail in the state. It wasn't difficult, though it had a ton to offer. Great views with elevation and beautiful creek crossings. Plenty to see through the hike.

Really lovely trail all along the way. Easy to follow except at the stream crossings. There are no bridges so if the water is up like it was for us you will need to wade. I built a rocky causeway to pass the first crossing upstream but the downstream crossing was much too deep and we had to get our feet wet. The spring is not visible from the trail and appears on the map to source several miles away which may be visible from another road which passes through that way(just by visual inspection on a map). The trail was easy to follow in most places though some spots we lost it due to sharp turns and lack of arrows indicating the proper path which caused us to do some unnecessary ledge crawling. The sentry bluff trail(Blue diamonds) travels along with part of the Natural bridge trail(Yellow Diamonds) close to the parking area where the natural bridge can be seen across the creek. However unless coming in a dry/low water season you will be getting your feet wet to see the natural bridge or to hike any trails on the other side of the stream. Both the entire length of the sentry trail we took and the finale of the natural bridge at the end were stunningly beautiful. A spraying water fall into the keyhole of the natural bridge gave rise to a small rainbow next to a a large snaking tree which climbed the height of the bridge into the canopy above.
Definitely well worth the visit. Better trail marking in places and bridges for stream crossings would make my 5 star review.

I started at the trail to the dam, ended up at a fork to where you could go see the dam or take the turkey creek trail. I went towards the dam and then went down turkey creek a little ways but couldn’t find where you cross the river so I turned around. It is a little rugged but my dog and I made it just fine. I would like to go back and try and find out where the crossing is.

Beautiful, quiet trail. Cool rocks, nice views from the hilltops, lovely little creeks, and towering pines.

7 days ago

Nice Loop. Fun rock formations, couple creek crossings, good variety. The trail marking are poor. The first part is fine follow it across the creek and up the next hill, you will come to a marker telling you to turn left to the rock formations, take it left as indicated. (the trail straight forward is the river to river trail). I in a short distance down the hill you will come across the rock formation, take time to explore, then continue north, down the hill on the established trail, you will come to the creek again, cross it and stay on the established trail, (you may see a sign that says panther den with an arrow telling you to turn right, ignore it) following the creek, crossing it again, the trail heads up the hill to the left, which shortly heads back south towards the trail head, you will come to another intersection that says trail head left, take it left and will join the trail you came in on, turn right, and your about 1/4 mile from the parking lot.

The rock formations are worth the hike.

Loved the hike!!!

The bald Knob has an awesome view, everything else on the trail is just a long stroll through the woods. Don’t waste your with the loop unless you are doing it for the exercise.

Definitely harder than I anticipated!

Easy trail to hike and has really beautiful creeks and bluffs along the route. I'd just use GPS to stay on the route because markings aren't the best.

Did this last year but it was in the dry part of the season. Trail was easy to hike and a great starter for kids. There was a waterfall at the end of it but just trickling due to lack of rainfall so suggest just after a good rain. Easy access trails from the campsite and close to other trail heads. Over all ‘ relaxing’.

Go during the winter! Seeing the waterfall frozen over is amazing

19 days 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.

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!!

Beautiful area, we had the entire summit to ourselves for the night a few months back.

Excellent trail/camping area!! I recently hiked this trail, doing approximately 11/12miles. We camped on the trail overnight also. The scenery is fantastic. It had recently rained, so the creeks were flowing pretty good. We have have hiked sections of the Appalachian Trail, so comparing this trail to the AT, similar in areas but not as difficult. For an inexperienced hiker, this trail would be perfect to start on. Highly recommended and I will go back and do different routes. I’ll give it

Gorgeous especially after a good rain! I thought we may never make it as fun as the kiddos were having playing in the creek on the way. Bluffs were gorgeous, too!

22 days ago

The best part about this trail is the scenery, the views, and the variety of terrain. Just look at some of the pictures, it'll prove it to you. That said, this trail is horribly marked, seriously. Counted maybe 6 trail markers on trees, and that's for the whole trail. You need to follow some kind of map to finish it, or you will get lost and wander off. Also, it is very sloppy after a rain, so keep that in mind. Other than that it was one of the best trails I have ever hiked.

Had a few cool little look out spots, generally easy trail, waterfalls were cool and there is a bathroom at the trail head.

trail running
28 days ago

Super fun trail to run. I have two GPS watches (Garmin and Epson) going, mine and my dogs, and didn't go "off trail" but for 0.2 tenths of a mile and both watches showed 10.55 miles, so it is longer than advertised here, but the trail head shows 10 miles. I followed the recommendations from below and ran counter clockwise and feel it was a good choice as you have more "fire roads" on the west side and lest boulder fields. The hogs have done a number on the trail though on the west side, but still runable. Took a little over 3 hours at an easy pace. Trail is CLEARLY blazed and not an issue to follow as you can almost always see the next blaze once you are at the current one. Only place that was a small issue is the creek bed area at the start as the normal spring floodings over the years can make it not quite obvious where the path is, but it's not hard to find it again. Nice views on the east side but more rock fields. Good, good trail to experience, did it with my pup and had a great time.

29 days ago

It was super sloppy and my first time here but I've hiked all of Shawnee and this has quickly become my favorite area. it was so worth it.

I take my dog jogging through here occasionally, nice view at the top.

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