Explore the most popular forest trails in Mark Twain National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

First you should know the road up to the trail head is washed out so don't expect to get there with a car or anything with low clearance. We had actually rented a Ford 250 so had no issues other than a bit of a bumpy ride up. We did find the trail head just fine. I would suggest taking a GPS as though we were able to find the trail and stay on it there were certainly times where the trail was questionable and no markings to keep you on it. Some steep inclines/declines but not an overly difficult trail if you are in shape which if you are going to do an 11 mile hike I would like to think you should be. Saw several turtles along the way but that was it for wildlife. Was a little underwhelmed by the rockpile but that may have been more of my high expectations. It was a fun hike and I will definitely be back to do more trails in the area.

Beautiful hike with a natural bridge at the end that has bats. Tall sycamores along the way with a couple of creek crossings. Well worth it.

A typical Ozarks hike through the woods. Colorful wildflowers were everywhere. Several old foundations are along the trail. Passed some morel hunters who had a mesh bag full.

hiking
15 days ago

It’s a really beautiful area as many have stated. It may be different with very high or low water levels but when we were there there was pool after inviting pool as we hiked along the creek. Some of them were ~20 feet across.. Next time I’ll do some wading.

Knocked off one star because of how poorly marked and maintained the trail was. There are a couple pics of one of our group with her toes on a 6” ledge. I doubt that was the way the trail went but it sure appeared to lead us there.

I rate this as difficult, because of the challenging nature of climbing over and around the big rocks, which are incredibly slippy when wet.
You can camp at the trailhead by your car, or at the river some 40 mins in or further upstream, I found it difficult to get around rocks with my backpack, and because I was on my own, return and camped at a safer place. This is a beautiful site to camp, relax and hike. Totally recommend it.

backpacking
21 days ago

Every other review I’ve read is pretty accurate. My GF(inexperienced) and I hiked yesterday 4/28/18.
The trails are definitely not maintained, which is fine with me because it means not many people go here. It’s not the easiest trail to navigate; with occasional rock climbing, rock hoping and super slick rock along the river. Yes there are definitely an abundance of snakes but that’s just a part of nature, watch where you put your hands & feet and you should be fine. The trail can be difficult in places and easy in other spots but well worth the experience if the river and falls (lots of rain last week), the views and serenity of it all.
We will be back again to see more soon. I expect during the summer it would be incredibly overgrown, so come prepared to work for it.

got confused on all the trails interconnecting. overall a good hike

backpacking
24 days ago

Loved this trail. Will be doing this one again.

Our first impression of the horse camp side was pretty dismissal. 2pm and there's an extremely intoxicated guy carrying a handle of vodka and yelling obscenities at someone else at another site, shortly after he passed out in a camp chair. The two young teens with him came over to us and invited us to party with them later - they looked like they might have been old enough to drive, maybe. They said they camp frequently there. That was enough to make us not interested in spending any time here.

backpacking
29 days ago

Very rugged terrain. There are several areas of the trail that have deep horse ruts. It would probably be impassable if it was muddy. Trails were somewhat marked. Lots of hills. Cross over several creeks, or the same creek several times. Camped alone a portion of Smith Creek. Saw a few other campsites along the way. Good for a one-nighter close to home. Will probably go back and explore the area again and spend another night. Decent stay.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice view at the highest point of the trail. The lower portion of the trail runs by the river.

hiking
1 month ago

Enjoyable trail for the family. Interesting rock outcropping and views of the river. The lower portion of the trail can be a bit muddy after a rain. Black and White Warbler, Pine Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Northern Parula, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher and Louisiana Waterthrush were some of the birds found during our early spring hike. The highlight of the hike though were four Big Red False Morels found just off the trail next to some stumps.

Not your normal trail but some amazing scenery. I encourage you to venture off the “trail” and see what you can explore.

Nice little trail. Would be good for kids or people who think a mile is a long ways.

We did not realize upon making the drive to Ava that this is a scenic drive and not actually a hiking trail like we thought. Oops! It might be good for the Glade Top Run held every year or even biking, but we should've done some research first. It was a pretty drive.

Nice area but not an easy walk by any means due to horse ruts

hiking
1 month ago

Great views and a fun hike. Work has been done to clear trail but follow the marker tape if you want to stay on the trail. Even then we strayed some.

hiking
1 month ago

Well marked trail. We saw about 10+ other people while we were out there, so it's moderately trafficked in my opinion. However, the spring was very pretty and worth it.

Multi-use trail that follows barely descernable old double track trail much of the way. Has a short distance that provides views overlooking Smith Creek. Otherwise very ordinary. Definately offers Solitude. Their was about 6 established backpacker camps existing.

I hiked this trail plus several more miles to hw 21. The trail was well maintained as well as the camp sights. You gain elevation quickly and enjoy a challenging hike with rewarding views. Not much water so bring plenty.

Nice primitive no fee campground. I suspect always full in the summer. It s a trail head for the nice 1/2 mile boy scout created trail, but also the larger Cedar Creek trailhead.

hiking
1 month ago

GPS tracked this exact loop around 28.25 miles.. nice hike.. not overly challenging.

backpacking
1 month ago

Great Trails. Well maintained. They had a controlled burn last week which left a good section on the west side of the of the loop scorched. We were able to find some water on the east side but did not see a big source until Brazil Creek.

walking
2 months ago

Nice view from the bluff just past halfway down. This is an off-road vehicle trail.

2 months ago

Creek crossings up after rain. No way to get over without getting wet. Lots of multi floral rose to snag you along the way. Trail was well marked.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is one of the weirdest I've taken. First of all there were shotgun shells all over the place. There was also a lot of trash, and a dead dog. We got a bad vibe from this place so left after walking down to the river.

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.

hiking
2 months ago

The trail is easy to follow until you get to the creek bed, then it’s anyone’s guess. This place needs markers! There are two trails that cross each other and unless you’re an expert you have no idea which path to take.

pretty easy hike to the natural bridge from the parking lot. Wear waterproof shoes, you will get wet. I was very aggravated by the trash in the cave. why do people do that. There is bats in the cave, I hope the trash does not disturb them

Very beautiful hike once you get down to the creek. The trail comes and goes so we ended up just climbing on the rocks along the creek.

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