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Hercules Glades Wilderness Area is 12,413 acres of the most scenic and unique country in the Midwest. Its combination of open grassland, forested knobs, steep rocky hillsides, and narrow drainages offers unusual beauty and a measure of solitude within easy reach of wilderness lovers. From the trailheads there is 32 miles of maintained trails which follows along open glades, forested ridgetops and Long Creek, the primary drainage of the area. Cross country hiking in other parts of the area is allowed. Key attractions along the trail include Long Creek Falls, panoramic views of the Ozarks countryside, and a variety of native communities including open limestone glades and mixed forests. Best Seasons: Fall, winter, and spring. Leave No Trace: Pack out what you pack in. Restrictions: Foot and Horse only. Safety: No drinking water is available at parking areas or along the trail; bring what you will need, or be prepared to sterilize water you find. During temperate months, be prepared for biting insects, poison ivy and high temperatures. Be advised of hunting seasons. Avoid using the trail during excessively wet periods. Surface Type: Unsurfaced, native material.

Nice hiking area with some good views. Ran across a mama bear and a younger cub just off Tower trail east of Middle trail. Got some growls from mama bear. I later read that black bears don't growl but may grunt, roar, huff, moan or bark but none of those seemed to fit what I heard. It sounded like a deep, from the gut, throaty growl that lasted just 2-3 seconds. I might have been too close to her young one without knowing it as the sun was in my eyes. I stopped and spotted the mama bear about 15 yards to the side of me on the first growl but just the outline of her due to the sun blinding me. I kept walking and she gave me another growl. This time I stopped to make sure I wasn't anywhere near young ones and that she wasn't coming towards me as I took the growls as an aggressive warning. I finally spotted one young cub close to the mama bear and they soon moved in the opposite direction and over the hilltop.
Perhaps the growls were both a call to the young one and a warning to me. It sure got my attention!

hiking
16 days ago

Very nice hike. Needed gps to follow in leaves at south end and to get off the creek section.

hiking
16 days ago

Here is my YouTube video review of the area:
https://youtu.be/AAA0QaMkjnQ

hiking
17 days ago

As stated at the tower trailhead, the trails in this area lack good markings so take heed and be prepared.
Newer signs are posted marking the trailheads making it easy to locate. There are some unmarked splits along the trail and fallen leaves can mask the trail in some spots. The trail offers some nice scenery and some slight elevation changes. It took me about 2.5 hrs to complete.

hiking
17 days ago

After exploring most of the trails in this wilderness area, I found this trail to be the one most likely to lose yourself on if not properly equipped for your first visit hiking this trail. As stated in the description above and at the tower trailhead, the trails in this area lack good markings so take heed and be prepared.
Nice hike. Lots of loose rocks on the trail that could cause a slip or twist of the ankle if not careful.

hiking
17 days ago

Started out on Long Creek Trailhead by the tower. There were paper copies of all the trails at the trailhead sign-in box for those in need of one if starting out here. Markers to identify trails throughout this wilderness area can be scarce other than at the trailheads. There are posted warnings of this at this trailhead. I would advise bringing a compass/map and/or gps for first-time hikers to this area.
Using Google Maps, I downloaded a Google offline map of the area to my smartphone. With no cell signal but still able to get gps, I can find my location in the area. Google maps will also show some of the trails which is a big help.
"The Falls" are just minutes off of the Coy Bald trail near the Blair Ridge trail split and you'll see signage for it.
I saw a few nice camping sites - couple by the creek and a couple on a ridge with a nice overlook if you're inclined to spend a night.

There are other good and informative reviews of the Hercules-Glades Wilderness area, but I wanted to put my comments here because this posting more closely resembles what we did. My son and I spent our Thanksgiving Week 2017 doing this loop over 3 days and 2 nights. We started at the Fire Tower Lookout on the east side of the park. This is a great trailhead area (actually two trails start here). There is good parking, some picnic tables, and a dual-porta-potty. The "Pilot Trail" and "Pee's Hollow Trail" head is on the northern end of the parking lot, and the "Long Creek Trail" head is on the west side.

Bring a map and compass. The park has recently been updated with signage, which is a blessing, but a couple of times we still got turned around and the map and compass saved us.

We started westward on the Long Creek Trail which was very nice all the way down to where the water falls would be (they were bone dry in November) The Rock Springs Trail was a bit steep at first but leveled out pretty nicely and transitions into a unique cedar forest. We spent the night about a hundred meters off to the right (north) in a makeshift campsite, which was quite fun. Easy to get turned around in there, so be sure of your bearings.

Next day we continued the hike westward on the Rock Springs Trail until we approached the Devil's Den area, which has a large campsite on both sides of Long Creek (eastern side and western side). The branch to go northward onto the Devil's Den Trail was very difficult to spot with the fallen leaves and there was no signage. But we found it at the back of the first campsite (the one on the east side of the creek) and was able to ascend the very steep incline. After a few heavy breaths the trail basically levels out and leads for a while along several heavily wooded ridges.

The "T" junction between the Lower Pilot Trail to the west and the Upper Pilot Trail to the east was marked with a post and a pile of rocks. We took a quick snack break here and headed east towards Upper Pilot Knob. After a couple of hours we decided to bush-whack it up the creek valley between the two eastern-most hills of Upper Pilot Knob. We were not disappointed. It wasn't that difficult work and the views at the top both northward and southward are spectacular -- probably the best in the park. Both of these adjacent hills have wooded campsites at the top with rock fireplaces and benches, and several additional fireplace areas nearby for overflow and for view-watching. The night sky stars were also amazing on top of Pilot Knob ... it was a clear night.

Next day we bush-whacked back down the northern face of Pilot Knob back to the Pilot Trail and made quick work of it back to the Tower Trailhead, in less than 3 hours. There were a few spots where the inclines were tiring, but overall was a good hike.

Would recommend visiting the Hercules Glades area in the spring after heavy rains to take advantage of the beauty of the waterfalls and creeks/streams throughout the area.

By all means this website http://www.ouachitamaps.com/Hercules.html has the best maps of the area. Recommend that you purchase this rather than the plain topo map. You will need to know the names of the various trail segments to match them when you encounter the signage.

hiking
21 days ago

Did this in January. Beautiful. The gravel road to the trailhead was too much for my little VW so we parked as close as we could and hiked 2 miles or so to the trailhead. Went counterclockwise. Saw a coyote. Waterfalls were dry. We had lunch there. Very pleasant day.

on Coy Bald Trail

1 month ago

The Falls are definitely worth seeing even when they're dry

hiking
1 month ago

It was my first time on this trail (Coy Bald/Long Creek) and it was beautiful. Parts of the trail were rocky but we live in the Ozarks, so this is typical. Since we haven't had much rain lately, the falls were not running but they were still beautiful. The fall colors were gorgeous. This is on my list to do again, but after rains. I'm glad we had our GPS and a map. There were some signs (looked like new, engraved signs) posted along the way at some intersections, but a map is a necessity.

camping
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

backpacking
2 months ago

I liked it. It took two tries to stay on Cross Timber RD. But made it to the trail head. It was a nice hike with a few really nice views. There are a few camp sites that I might go back and camp at. I may have went off trail if I didnt have the alltrails app. I plan on going back and exploring the connecting trails for a longer hike.

hiking
2 months ago

A little tricky at times to pick up the trail and the last third was pretty rocky. Apart from that and the 17,000 spiders we encountered it was a good trail.