hiking

dogs on leash

forest

views

river

camping

horseback riding

wildlife

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trail running

walking

birding

wild flowers

nature trips

kid friendly

fishing

backpacking

lake

waterfall

dog friendly

Mark Twain National Forest covers over 1.5 million acres of pine forest, scenic rivers, rolling hills, and wilderness. The forest offers over 750 miles of trails and unbeatable opportunities for a wide variety of outdoor activities like hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and motorized vehicle recreation. There are also plenty of picnic areas and campsites and places to canoe or kayak in this recreation area's spring fed rivers. The Recreational Sites are broken down by Districts which are located in 1 of 4 zones. Each zone has unique outdoor recreation opportunities. Zone 1 Cedar Creek, Houston and Rolla Ranger District Zone 2 Ava, Cassville and Willow Springs Ranger District Zone 3 Eleven Point and Poplar Bluff Ranger Districts Zone 4 Potosi, Fredericktown and Salem Ranger Districts

Me and my husband had planned to go to the very southern trailhead near Hendrickson and hike up from there to the highway 172 spot. Upon following the map to where the trailhead was suppose to be, we found we were lead to someone’s house and the map showed the spot was behind their house. We went to inquire to see if they knew about the trail but nobody was home so we just went to the highway 172 entrance and hiked in and out. Curious as to where the actual end point is now.

There are pretty views and rock formations, mostly shady woods with open sunny glades closer to Johnson Shut-ins. Oh and rocks, rocks, rocks.

We hiked from the Taum Sauk trailhead to the Highway N trailhead, 13.5 miles. We did this over 1 ½ days. We have done several day hikes but this was our first overnight backpacking trip so we wanted it to be fairly short. We traveled from St. Louis to the Highway N Trailhead with two cars then shuttled ourselves to the other end. We didn’t start hiking until lunch time so stopped a couple miles in at Mina Sauk Falls to eat. It was just a trickle of water that day but still a neat area to eat and explore.

Based on other reviews we expected the trail to be rocky and it sure is! Really only a few short sections the whole way were without large rocks. It got to my hips the second day. (I’m 49). My college age son and his friend faired better than my husband and I but after a section with a lot of rock slides they commented “that section sucked”. We did a lot of training preparing for a different hike and were used to 40 lb. packs and a 2mph pace. I had a lighter pack but we only managed about 1.5 mph.

There were two nice camping areas by Taum Sauk Creek and one a little further down. We tried out our water filtration system at the creek but camped further on at the last spot. It is by a ravine with a storm creek that may have water some of the time but didn’t when we were there. We expected to dry camp though and had brought extra water. The map we got from the Ozark Trail Association showed all the water sources and was accurate.

Chiggers and spiders were pretty much the only wildlife we encountered. After about four miles in we didn’t encounter other hikers either. I’m sure the hot August weather had something to do with that. We enjoyed the solitude and quiet at our camp site.

The trail was really well marked. I read a previous review before going that said the trail was not well marked. Someone must have done some maintenance between those times because we didn’t need our map or compass at all. Many of the blazes looked new. When we got to the end we car camped at Johnson Shut-Ins State park and enjoyed the shut-ins the next day. Overall a nice three day weekend.

hiking
16 days ago

Giving two stars due to the abundance of TICKS! The first mike of this trail is narrow and through scrub timber - spider webs and thick tick territory. The creek bed is cool - neat rocks, sometimes you have to take the bank - no clear trail through these sections - and back into brush and weeds. We got 2 miles in and turned back because we realized our legs were covered with tiny ticks. Would not do this one again - if only because it’s not worth the feeling of bugs and spider webs all over you.

Awesome

horseback riding
20 days ago

Trails maintained by Back Country Horsemen of MO.

backpacking
28 days ago

Hiked the trail with my grandsons. Applied lots of 40 percent deet. No ticks or chiggers. Enjoyed the trail not too difficult but rough enough for a nice workout! Camped at dry creek campground had the place to our selves! Very nice campsites.

hiking
1 month ago

Enjoyable trail. Bring a copy of the map as cell signal not so good. Very peaceful. Views good at times. Not spectacular. Crossed Smith Creek several times. Trail is pretty well marked with red diamonds.
Had to pass thorough some grass tightly encroaching on trail. Tick/ Chigger city. Had to go home right after to get them off.

hiking
1 month ago

we only hiked for 30 minutes in/30 min out. pretty easy trail that ran parallel to the st. francis river.

Cool trail on the lake. Had a nice breeze, clear weather, and swimming area. Nice overlook trail with good elevation that breaks off loop.

backpacking
1 month ago

This trail is absolutely beautiful! Definitely a good beginner hike. Came here for a backpacking trip but cut the trip a day short. First day I was covered in seed ticks and went to wash off in the closest bit of water which had leaches in it. Beautiful trail just don't recommend coming here in August!

1 month ago

wear long pants

Rick and spider infested!!! Just a normal covered Ozark trail, nothing special to see. About 4 of the 5.3 miles are will kept but 1.5 are pretty rough if your are traveling on foot. When we got to our car we could see the hundreds if not thousands of seed ticks on my dog and myself!! I spent most of the time on the trail dodging spider webs.

hiking
1 month ago

Good trail, didn't see snakes, got a couple ticks. a little bit of experience hiking, makes this trail real fun. couple places to camp, no idea if you're allowed to or not though. this is a low maintained trail and that includes the road up to the trailhead. small cars can make it but its rough. i plan on hiking it again and probably camping off the trail.

I walked <2 miles on the Moon Loop and got 11 ticks on my clothes. Trailhead off the Ginn Lane was a bit hidden. On the bright side, the sunrise and scenery were beautiful!

Fun trail that runs mostly along a ridge line at the start and passes through woodland and then a Shortleaf Pine forest. There’s a rest area between the woodland and Shortleaf Pine forest that is next to a small lake and has a picnic table. Other neat little ponds can be found next to the trail.

After descending from the ridge and passing some large flat rocks and other rock formations, the trail runs next to a wet weather creek for a couple of miles, which it crosses a few times. The trail is overgrown in several areas along the creek but the path is well worn from trail riders so it’s easy to find. We passed at least ten riders while on the trail. The last 3/4 mile back to the trailhead is on a gravel road. I logged 9.2 miles for the mapped trail.

There’s no parking so you will just have to pull over to the edge of the dirt road to park. Boulders mark the start of the trail but the trail is overgrown for the first 150 yards and you will have to wade through poison ivy, blackberry briars and cedar trees that have been cut across the “trail” until it meets up with the rest of the Kaintuck trail system, which is better used.

After that you will cross a creek and mostly ascend through a forest with occasional openings in the forest. When you reach a trail crossroad it’s time to head back. Only at the crossroad do you see any blazing for this trail.

hiking
2 months ago

This is a double-track ATV/forestry road, there is a small parking spot on the shoulder of the blacktop road. Really cool view of the lake off off bluffs about .6/mile in, but the rest of the hike down the lake shore is unremarkable.

This trail passes through mostly old growth forest and has some extremely large oak trees along the way. The right portion of the figure eight as mapped by this app is easy to follow. The left portion of the figure eight as mapped is almost nonexistent in some parts and evidently no longer used or maintained.

backpacking
3 months ago

Beware of ticks, they were falling from the trees on us at the campsite. The trail from creek to the campground is very overgrown but manageable. Enjoyed my time on Lower Rock Creek as always! This is an unofficial trail that is not maintained, be prepared for less than ideal conditions.

backpacking
3 months ago

We turned this into a three day hike because we wanted more time out there and it was worth it! at the 12 mile mark you can go off to the left and about .1 off trail is a great campsite with a decent little creek. it was nice and secluded great for a first night stay. when you get to Brazil creek fill up your water as there are not many options after that.

Beautiful. I have to say some of the reviews mentioning snakes kept me off of this trail for a while. Didn't see a single one! Perhaps the best thing about this is you can make it as long or as short as you wish. It's a nice walk to the stream itself, and for those who want a more rugged experience, there's plenty of that up and downstream. We had the entire place to ourselves on a summer Sunday! never saw another car after leaving Hwy. E.

hiking
3 months 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.

hiking
3 months ago

Easy to follow trail with a nice view of the Ozarks at the top of the bluff. I've been at least 5 times and it's never crowded. If you go in early Autumn the view is even better. Beware of seed ticks though.

My 12.5 and 11 year old had a blast! Trail is definitely a solid 12 miles! We did in just around 5.5 hours, which was clipping along. I suggest starting early in the day in order to include more stops along the way. Definitely bringing the entire family back!

hiking
3 months ago

Trail was overgrown almost everywhere except near trail heads. Lots of downed trees and deep horse ruts along the way. Other than that it was a nice trek with lots of wildlife (numerous deer, squirrels, rabbits and turtles). Liberally used 25% Deet, but still came off the trail with somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 ticks on me and my clothing/gear.

so glad we found this trail was worth the walk

backpacking
4 months ago

If you're a fan of flora then you'll love the picturesque fields of stinging nettles with a hint of briar patch and poison ivy. Are you entomologist or are fascinated by creepy crawlers? If you answered yes, then this hike is definitely for you. The ever reclusive tick will more than tickle your fancy here. The trick is to use copious amounts of deet 40. Deet, for ticks at Noblett, is like putting a good vinaigrette on a house salad.These little guys just can't seem to get enough. Bushwacker? This trail has you covered, literally. The wife and I especially loved all the deadfall across the trail. I mean who doesn't love walking under several fallen trees held up by a single branch. I know I did.

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.

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