Explore the most popular kid friendly 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.

hiking
15 days ago

I would consider this trail Easy, not Moderate. It's short and the elevation change is hardly anything. I went in late July and the trail was covered in spider webs. The rocks at the top would probably be cool for kids. We didn't see anybody on the trail or at the top either way.

so glad we found this trail was worth the walk

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.

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

hiking
2 months 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.

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.

hiking
2 months 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.

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.

on Prospector Trail

walking
2 months ago

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

hiking
3 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

Slight downslope most of the way, quiet, peaceful walk. Trail head a little inconspicuous. The last 1/3 of the trail not well maintained, harder to follow. Kids and dog loved it!

3 months ago

Badly marked. You will get off the trail. Map needed!

hiking
4 months ago

An absolutely beautiful spring! The road from south of Alton (160) is quite curvy. The sign to the trail is very small, so don’t miss it! The trail is actually only 1 mile and the elevation change is 450 feet. The spring is clear and peaceful. We saw a bald eagle soaring above the spring today!

hiking
7 months ago

While the map from USDA at the trailhead said the loop was 4 miles gps from me and my wife both had only 2.0 miles. Trail is not well marked in some places. My 9 year old had difficulties in few areas but overall it was a neat hike.

hiking
7 months ago

When you start off, there is a trail. The trail is completely gone before the first mile is up. We followed what we thought was the trail, but it ended up being part of the Ozark Trail, which was definitely not Crane Lake Trail. So we made our own trail. You basically just follow the lake around. Where you run into trouble is the dam. You have to go way around the back side of the shut-in to get to the other side of the lake. With no trail to follow, we were apprehensive about moving forward. We turned around and went out the same way we came in. Let me be clear, the trail gets completely lost. There is so much over growth and fallen leaves, everything looks the same. The trail looks good to start and then becomes completely non existent. Pretty area though. Nice country drive to the trailhead. Probably won't go back.
Oh, and the trail was rated as moderate...the lack of trail reclassifies it to hard.

nice trail, well maintained did it in November no one but us.The springs at the end were worth the trip, make sure you go down and to your left at the waters edge to see the main outlet of the water, just be careful on the rocks.

hiking
7 months ago

This is definitely a must see! This hike is super easy and straightforward. The beautiful blue waters of this spring are worth the walk. I took my 2 year old son with no problem! I actually hiked this one twice in one weekend so I could take my husband to see it.

Great prairie and creek trail. We went when the trees were changing and it added to the beauty. The natural bridge (more like a cave) was pretty although when we went there people were camping out in the cave and left tons of beer cans and litter inside. It seemed that they were there for a while. That spoiled the highlight of this trail for us. The length of the trail was perfect. Not too challenging at all.

Beautiful area, area not well maintained but it's an area we love

hiking
9 months ago

Gorgeous Place, well worth the drive to it.

hiking
9 months ago

Nice hike for our arrival in MO. we took the shortcut across the dam.

hiking
10 months ago

this is a nice small trail. it's very wooded and the rock formations is very cool and easy to climb around on. be sure to WEAR PANTS, SHOES, TALL SOCKS and LOTS of BUG SPRAY with DEET. we had TON of tiny seed ticks all over our our ankles multiple times throughout the trail that we had to stop and brush off with a stick. you will also run into a bridge after you make the loop, that is not part of the trail. there were also a ton of spider webs across the trail so just be aware we kept a stick with us to sweep them out of our path.

hiking
11 months ago

Had a great time.

camping
Thursday, June 15, 2017

Great host and nice camp. Underutilized trail.

hiking
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

We absolutely loved this trail and the beauty that awaited us at the end was spectacular! We've had a lot of rain in the Ozarks lately and the rushing waters were majestic!

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