Explore the most popular waterfall 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.

so glad we found this trail was worth the walk

hiking
21 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
28 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.

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.

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.

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.

Hiked Pees Hollow, a 5.3 mile loop that starts from the fire tower trailhead. Honestly, the best views were on the drive there, but it was still good to get out of the house and get some exerceise. It's been raining a lot recently, so the path might as well have been a creek at several points along the way.

hiking
3 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!

This area is quite possibly the most beautiful stretch of Missouri I have experienced. As Cory said pleas take care of this place. Pack in/pack out, practice safe fire use and watch out for snakes in the warmer months.

my favorite spot in the state. very remote and serene. not for anyone afraid of venomous snakes or four people looking for an easy path. please take care of it. pack in/pack out

This canyon and surrounding bluffs are one of the most desolate and beautiful spots in Missouri. Watch out for Cottonmouths!

Good trail. There are a lot of other trails (appx. 20 miles) in Swan Creek Wilderness.

There are several more trails in this area than shown here in the Swan Creek Wilderness Area - approx. 20 miles.
LInk to map of all trails here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd516654.pdf
I followed trail #6107 which I believe is the trail shown here from the east trailhead off UU Hwy to the creek and back which took me approx. 4 hrs. I didn't have any issues finding my way and found plenty of trail markers along the way.
As others have noted, a lot of trash in the parking area. I was bored on my hike back and decided to make a game of counting the pieces of trash (mostly beer cans) seen from the trail - 134 :)
Of course this doesn't include all that is laying in the parking lot. I don't know how anyone can get lost on these trails as long as you follow the beer cans :)
There is a larger parking area on the west end off Hwy 125 at the Bar K Wrangler Camp but you may have to tread some water to cross the creek to get access to the trails depending on water levels.

backpacking
5 months ago

There was some trash at the trail head. Mostly beer cans and probley from kids using this as a party spot, but it cleared up down the trail. Great place for hiking with some up hills, down hills, and several flat areas. I thought the trail was worn well enough and didn't have too much trouble seeing the trail. There a couple of times I kind of lost the trail, but it's fairly obvious where the trail is at. Very few trail markers along the way, but I got to Swan Creek with no problem. The trail is a doosey (fairly steep) on the way back so be ready. Overall it was really pretty and really remote. I would recommend this trail, but give yourself about 5 hours to get to the creek and back.

had a great time here today. nice stone arrow pointing the way at the fork and some cairns to help you back to the trail.

My wife and I made this hike. It was a good hike but the trail is not well marked and some spots were covered with leaves and we guessed. Going off Long Creek Trail we took a left going up the hill at a primitive campsite on the other side of the river bed.. It looks like a side trail but is is indeed Lower Pilot Trail Trail. The trail looks like it has not been maintained in a while as there were lots of downed trees, no biggie for us.

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
6 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.

KEEP LEFT!!! We missed that about 150 yards in. Thought by the downed trees that we should take the path to the right. Major climb, up and down Trackler Mountian.
Stayed overnight at a middle camp site. The kitchen equipment is worse for the wear, but the trip was great.

We went to the area during mid-November 2017 and there wasn't a drop a water anywhere but a little in the Long Creek + Devil's Den junction. We carried 2L of water each, and ran out quickly. We were able to barely filter water at this point in Long Creek to have some additional "cooking water" to supplement the drinking water that we had brought.

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

Every area has its own natural beauty, and this area is going to be better in the springtime after heavy rains.

Check out my full review + photos under the trail "Hercules Glade Backpacking Loop"

Nice walk through Ozarks rolling hills!

hiking
8 months ago

Gorgeous Place, well worth the drive to it.

hiking
10 months ago

Had a great time.

horseback riding
11 months ago

I take issue with the man who stated horseriders left trash and cans ... more likely towners that deface our trails and camps...

It is a more wilderness feeling trail. I like that. If you are not an avid outdoorsy type, be careful not to get lost. The trail is not always well marked and can be very weedy. Snakes don't bother me, but we did see some, including Copperheads. Enjoy.

hiking
11 months ago

Great hike with amazing scenary. The trail is a little rough but not to bad. I saw 2 cotton mouths by the creek but I left them alone and they left me alone. I did not get any ticks either.

Just went this past weekend and it was incredible! We only saw two other people the entire time we were there so it really had the feel of being out in the wild on your own. The creek was beautiful and very full from the recent rain, everything was so green and lush, moss and lichens everywhere!! Even saw some cool liverworts! An untouched paradise.

Just watch out for snakes and slick rocks because we all came away with bruised knees from falling a few times.

I went last year and it was gorgeous, but so many ticks!!!!!!!

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