Just as outlaws sought refuge from the law during the Civil War, visitors today can seek refuge from everyday life in the beauty of the Pike Run Hills at St. Francois State Park. The forested ridges and hollows of these hills offer visitors a chance for unconfined solitude in a wilderness setting. Three hiking trails, one allowing equestrians, wind through the forested hills and glades of Coonville Creek Wild Area. Mooners Hollow Trail leads visitors to Coonville Creek Natural Area, highlighted by the clear waters of Coonville Creek, which were once used to make moonshine. The Big River, which forms the southern boundary of the park, is ideal for canoeing. The parks many shaded picnic sites or two covered shelters provide the perfect place for a quiet picnic lunch or large family gathering. Overnight guests can choose from more than 100 campsites, both basic and electric. The campground features modern restrooms, hot showers and laundry facilities. Whether coming to enjoy a day on the Big River, or to seek refuge in the peaceful, natural setting of the park, St. Francois State Park offers the perfect hideout from everyday life.
Decent little hike. Easy elevation changes, a few river crossing and a handful of scenic views from the trail's edge. The trail itself is poorly maintained with meandering loops that are often umarked, though it does have some of the standard blue hiking signs and arrows. The trail has also fallen victim to a significant amount of down timber due to recent ice storms.
I did the north loop, which was about 6 miles, starting at the Pike Run trailhead. A few steep hills and a creek crossing or two, nothing overly difficult. The trail is used by horses and has eroded in a couple of places that required some careful walking. They did a prescribed burn recently and everything was burnt but it shouldn't be a problem come spring. Beautiful glade area at the beginning of the trail.
There is a big loop (about 10 miles) starting at the trailhead. I started here but wanted to take a shorter loop so went off trail which added some elevation gain and allowed me to get secluded quickly. Being amongst the sky high trees was incredible. There are some cool mossy rocks amongst the hills too. Many of the trail markers are small and faded so it was easy to accidentally go on an off shoot once I got a couple miles into the hike. I'll be back once the trees get more leaves!