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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.

Great trail, kinda got lost several times, but it was my first time and some of the trail wasn't marked. Definitely grab a map at the beginning of the trailhead, they have them printed out in a box at the trailhead.

backpacking
21 days ago

I went without GPS, just a map on my phone and a compass. The trail is pretty easy to follow except when you hit the open meadows. The overgrowth is starting to crowd the trail since not as many people are on them. The views from the open meadow areas on the ridge about 3/4 of the way to the falls is breathtaking, stop and take some pictures and rest. Once you start getting closer to the falls start really watching for snakes. There are four great camping spots near The Falls. I really thought after all the rain we’ve had over the last few days The Falls would be running, it was not. I camped near the spring just below The Falls to hear some water moving. I saw one baby copperhead on the way in, a very large cottonmouth on the trail (we had a standoff for a few minutes, I went around) and another baby copperhead that popped out of the water just before I was crossing the creek on the way out. I didn’t backtrack to get out because there’s an unmarked trail that follows the creek out. I don’t recommend doing this unless you’re pretty good with a map. It crosses the creek several times and is extremely overgrown. I’ll be going back in the fall to take more pictures. Hopefully The Falls will be running then. LNT

Wow

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing weekend on the Coy Bald Trail and The Falls section. We had just had a decent rain the weekend before so the creek and Falls were amazing. Found the best Campsites down by the Falls and couldn't resist camping there the whole weekend. The hike in was fairly easy to moderate however there are a few trails that can take you off the main trail so the use of GPS or Alltrails is a must. Thank Goodness I got Pro Alltrails so I was able to download the map and get us back on track (since there was no signal) . We were able to get our water from the falls and creek using our Sawyer squeeze and relaxed at camp and by the water and enjoy the rest of the trail without packs on. We saw a few other hikers and actually ran into someone I knew from High School. CRAZY huh! Hiked out at 5 am to catch the sunrise on the bald. It was so amazing! I highly recommend this trail- especially after a good rain!!!!

hiking
2 months ago

This is the best trail in Hurcules Glades Wilderness Area. Trail is about a mile past the Hurcules Firetower Trailhead on Blair Road. you'll go down Blair Road about 3 miles and the trailhead will be on the right. It's easy to see, so you can't miss it. The trail is clear, well-defined, very easy to follow, and leads right to the falls. for the most part it is an easy trail to walk, as a matter of fact this Trail would be on the light and of moderate for the most part. It's an out-and-back trail and is about 2. 7 miles to Long Creek and the falls. This trail has a little bit of everything. Woods, great view of the Glades, and of the surrounding Glade areas and hills. Overall, a fantastic Trail. I've hiked almost all the trails in the Hercules Glades, and this is by far the best trail that I have hiked. if you like to Camp, there are a lot of areas along this Trail to camp out.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail and pretty easy to follow. Glades are nice, plus Brushy Creek is a beautiful spot, so bring a camera. Also, a good workout.

hiking
2 months ago

A great trail, and easy to follow. About the right mixture of woods, Glades, and creeks. Great opportunities for pictures. I did see a lot of tracks from deer, turkey, and a bear track. Overall a nice trail, and the right length. I did the trail clockwise and the last mile of the trail was up hill, so be ready for a workout. And yes, there are black bears and other predatory animals in the Hurcules Glade Wilderness Area. The wild life probably won't bother you but, you need to be aware that this is their home, and they do live there.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice trail with many photo opportunities. Can be a little tough to follow at times, but with a GPS it's fine. Glades provide a great view of the surrounding area. Next time I'm taking the left trail from the trail head to see where it goes. Happy hiking :)

trail running
2 months ago

I had a great time here. I started at the tower trailhead and took Long Creek down to the Falls. I found that trail kinda hard to see but it was smooth going. I then continued down to Lower Pilot, then onto Tower trail. Toward the end of that I decided to divert onto Pees Hollow. Then back to the trailhead. I covered just shy of 18 miles in 5 hours (trail running). The maps provided on site were a must.
I didn’t have a compass so I had to judge the sun’s position to find my way at certain points. It all added to the epic journey!

Trekked out to the Falls. No water, just some pools here and there. Hiked about 1/2 mile back and found a campsite that already had a fire ring, so we opted to stay there. Will definitely return to the area...and soon.

2 months ago

Trails have been marked with signs, making navigation of the area so much easier. Solid moderate hike that does require paying close attention to your surroundings to remain on trail. Be sure to grab a map of area at trail head.

hiking
3 months ago

The scenic parts are at the beginning and the ending of the trail, it's very poorly marked. It took about 3.5 hours to complete due to lack of trail markers and going on game trail. One plus was a side trail called Scenic view that offer a great panoramic view.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked Blair Ridge Trail last Saturday, a week after heavy rains in the area. The streams and creeks were flowing and the Falls were beautiful. It was a clear day, sunny, with a slight breeze so couldn't have asked for better hiking weather. I can't wait to go back and explore another trail in the Hercules Glade Wilderness area.

3 months ago

was a great hike. falls were roaring since we just had all the rain.

hiking
3 months ago

Awesome with the recent water. If you can make your way out there, it’s worth it right now. About 7.4 round trip to the falls and back, we did some bouncing around too. Really muddy right now and there are at least 3 creek crossings. We bushwhacked and stayed on the north side of the marked trail so we didn’t have to cross the deeper water right now. Definitely would recommend that. There is a social trial most of the way. Not really any rock climbing that we saw or opportunities for bouldering

Great views, pretty waterfall, clear creek and dog friendly.

on Long Creek Trail

hiking
4 months ago

solid day hike. We took long trail to falls, then middle trail to tower trail and out. logged 8.5 miles. pack water and snacks...Lunch if you can.

camping
4 months ago

Lots of space - trails aren’t marked that well but it’s absolutely gorgeous here.

Camp sites are nice. Fire pit. Access to the creek. We had a water purifier but didn’t stay long enough to need it. Water looked perfect for that though.

Took my 4 y/o here last spring and we loved it. Only drawback was the ticks. There were SO MANY last year. Hoping this winter kills them off. We’ll 100% come back.

hiking
5 months ago

Way better than expected. Nice in the winter since you have some decent views most of the way. Well marked MOST of the way, but that’s because the trail is mostly a rock path. In the summer I could see it being tough to find certain turns or ways to go. We used the gps from this app and it helped for sure. Good views, not a ton of up and down except one section. Not much climbing or bouldering but some areas you can play around in and on.

hiking
5 months ago

We hiked the Coy Bald trail Loop and it was great today. I found the trail to be easy to follow. They had signs at the main intersections, and there were a lot of side trails that broke off, but with minimal effort you can stay in the trail. There was not water running, but a little in the creek bed. A lot of options to increase miles on the Loop too. You can print a free topo map at http://ouachitamaps.com/ that will help you stay on the trail in addition to AllTrails.

hiking
6 months ago

You don’t often get sunny and 60 degrees on a Saturday in December, so I headed down to Hercules Glades for a few hours. Took the Long Creek Trail and then stopped at the Falls. Saw a few deer, a handful of other hikers and a Boy Scout Troop. Will definitely return in the spring. Suggest using a walking stick, as it definitely kept me upright. And as the others have mentioned, be aware of your surroundings as the markings on the trail can be few and far between.

hiking
6 months ago

Trail is very scenic, but it's not really marked at all except for a couple of times by the creek. It can be tough to follow at times, so bring a map, compass, and/or GPS. Yes, it's very easy to get turned around, which a gps will help you. Great area to hike, but again, don't not just think this is a clear, and easy walk in the park "city trail." You can get lost pretty easy in the Glades Wilderness area so be prepared. The trail path is clear on the ridge top, but things change quickly at the bottom and the trail will disappear in several spots, so again bring a GPS. Overall it was a great place to hike. if you get lost use the map, and follow the creek towards the tower. When it ends walk to the left up the hill until you get near the tower.

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
6 months ago

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

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

hiking
6 months 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
6 months 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
6 months 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
6 months 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.

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