nature trips



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Make the great escape to Missouri's wilderness - Taum Sauk Mountain State Park. The park provides 7,501 acres of solitude amid unspoiled land with a wilderness quality hard to find in today's world. Taum Sauk Mountain State Park is located in the St. Francois Mountains, one of the most rugged and scenic areas of the state. Almost 1.5 billion years ago, volcanic eruptions of hot ash settled and cooled to form rhyolite. Erosion has left only the roots of these mountains behind, now dotted by oak-hickory forest and rocky glades. Taum Sauk Mountain literally stands above others as the highest point in Missouri, rising to 1,772 feet. An easy walk leads visitors to the top. From there, the moderately rugged three-mile Mina Sauk Falls Trail continues to the tallest wet-weather waterfall in Missouri. Mina Sauk Falls drops 132 feet over a series of rocky ledges. A portion of this trail also serves as part of the Taum Sauk Section of the Ozark Trail. Farther down the trail lies Devil's Tollgate, an eight-foot-wide passage through volcanic rhyolite standing 30 feet high. The Ozark Trail continues on to the Highway N trailhead at Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park, a distance of 14.4 miles. Taum Sauk Mountain State Park features a campground of 12 basic campsites, with drinking water and a vault toilet nearby. A special-use area is available for non-profit youth organizations. A nearby picnic area allows visitors to relax and enjoy lunch under the trees after a day of hiking.

5 days ago

The waterfall is pretty small right now but we enjoyed the hike and the crystal clear and cool stream.

Beautiful views all around and the waterfall was in full force! Very worth it but there is no exaggeration about the amount of rocks on this trail. In many places your only opinion is to hop from rock to rock or to walk through dry river beds with large rocks jutting out every few inches. Definitely a high risk for a sprained or broken ankle but it was worth it. We brought our dog and we were really luck we had bough a first aid kit that day because he sliced his foot open. We would definitely bring him back because he enjoyed every minute of it but definitely not a hike for nervous or older dogs.

I hike in this area a few times a year and not sure this loop actually exists. Please refer to for accurate maps and trail info for this area.

The mileage for the route shown here is much less than 1.9 miles. Maybe a 5 minute flat walk each way to a forested summit. Gotta do something a bit longer for some views.

trail running
14 days ago

Hiked this yesterday with my 10 and 8 year old sons. . Technical, rocky trail with some great views.

20 days ago

My husband and I did this trail this week during the rain. Definitely worth a trek in wet weather to see the falls flowing at their finest. As someone with short legs and with all the rain was glad to have brought my poles! I do think the blazes on the beginning of the trail could be improved.

I thought I'd return here to look at the description after a recent backpacking trip where we needed to help rescue 2 different groups of unprepared hikers. I suspected the summary of the trail was off. First, this is in no way a "fairly easy hike". Sure, it's totally doable. But it's quite challenging. It starts out as paved then gravel, then quickly changes to a rocky trail that requires a good deal of concentration and motor planning. People frequently fall here either due to turned ankles or incredibly slick rocks when wet. Don't expect to hike at your regular speed. I've done this trail 4 or 5 times now and I'm only at 1/3 my regular speed. The trail is deceptively short. Don't plan on this being a quick hour out. Bring water and food. As for well marked, I feel that this is a relatively accurate statement as of 4/25/18. However, many of the current blazes were added by hikers tired of helping lost people or being lost themselves. If these blazes fall again this trail becomes difficult to follow in parts. Just be cautious in each Glade area to ensure that you've found the real trail with blazes and not the beaten down trail of lost souls. This is a really fun trail with a great payoff. But please treat this one with the respect of a longer, harder rated trail to keep yourself safe and on track!

My husband and I hiked this trail while it was raining. Hiking in the cold rain wasn’t fun, but the payoff when we got to the falls was amazing. The falls were so beautiful! If it’s raining or has rained recently I would definitely recommend waterproof boots.

1 month ago

Go after heavy rain for a big reward. Beautiful, forgot I was not in Colorado. Absolutely love Arcadia Valley.

A great family hike. Beautiful scenery. Waterfall at the midpoint made the hike.

Excellent trail hike. Elevation drops a bit as you near the falls which is the most difficult part of the hike. Go after a recent rain event or in the wet season to see the falls in all their glory.

For Missouri this is some great hiking/backpacking. It is rugged, and some decent hills that will get you out of breath. You have access to go to the top of Russell Mt. and Taum Suak Mt. along the way. I went in March, so the waterfalls a mile or so past Taum Sauk were flowing. Slept at a campsite about a 1/8 of a mile away from the falls. Without the leaves on the tree you get to see some pretty cool views along the way. During the summer the views would be much more limited. Devils Tollgate is about another mile down the trail past the falls. Give your self time to hike it, the hills and the rocky trail will slow you down a bit. The Taum Suak section of the Ozark Trail is the best hiking and backpacking in Missouri.

Phenomenally beautiful trail with many waterfalls and geological formations.

2 months ago

Had a few cool little look out spots, generally easy trail, waterfalls were cool and there is a bathroom at the trail head.

breathtaking views! Go after a big rain to aee the falls in all their glory..

The best way to help the Ozark Trail if you notice something amiss is to report it using their tool:
That said,I hiked this trail from the hwy 21 parking lot through to Taum Sauk one year ago, Jan 2017. I'm about to do it again tomorrow, hoping there are no downed trees but will make do.
It's a beautiful winding trail with plenty of elevation change and water features.
Bring first aid and flashlights and plenty of warm layers this time of year. Never know if you'll end up stuck out there for a night. Be smart.
I remember it to be challenging but totally doable for regular hikers. Definitely gets the heart rate up so anyone with asthma should bring their inhaler.
if you're hiking with someone you can do the longer trail that starts at hwy 21 and ends at Taum Sauk, I think it's about 12 miles. One person parks at Taum Sauk to get you back to your car at hwy 21.

4 months ago

I went on this trail in October of 2017 with my boyfriend. We started at Hwy 21 and had every intention to backpack to Taum Sauk, Mina Sauk and Devils Tollgate however the trail had different plans. Not even 500 yards in we were attacked by bees in a ground nest. The first 2 miles of the trail were decent with few trees down but then by mile 3 -4 we were forced off trail due to bulldozed sections leaving massive piles of trees across the trail. We climbed over where we could and went around through the woods when we couldn't. At about Mile 4 the trail and all markers disappeared. Debris on the trail or go downhill. No markers to lead the way and the map was too vauge. We camped trail side and left hiked out the next morning. Went to Taum Sauk Trail head and finished our hike. Hopefully the trail is looking better in that section now.

The trail is unmarked and appear to be inactive.

great trail! definitely get the provided walking sticks, they're extremely helpful. we'll have to come back again in the wet season, because the falls were just a trickle here in december.
lost the markers for a bit because we went straight when it curved a hard right, but the app's gps showed us where we went wrong and got us back on track.

Fun winter hike with my husband and our 2 dogs.

5 months ago

This was a great hike! i would recommend it; though when it is during the wet season, but still, it was a beautiful hike. I do recommend hiking boots, its very rocky....jetting rocks, etc. I would also grab one of the walking sticks at the beggining of the trail and return it at the end. They're free and would have been very useful! We would do this hike again.

Go in the spring or when there is plenty of of water or there will be no waterfall

Trail is fairly well marked but rocky to walk. I suggest hiking boots. Took us 3 hours to hike. Beautiful time of the year to hike the area. Changing trees are amazing.

Did this trail with the scouts as a backpacking trip. Great part of the state to hike. recommend as an extended backpack trip.

This was my our first "trail" hike. We are young seniors and in fair to good shape. We are both walkers so the distance was not a problem. It is a rocky trail so we both wished we had put on hiking boots instead of tennis shoes. The falls were just a trickle but we knew it was a possibility. Nonetheless it was a beautiful hike and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. We strongly recommend it!

6 months ago

Great trail to hit and pull an over nighter while watching the sunset on the cliffs. There is a flat patch about 100 yards south of the falls. Great place to enjoy what the mountain has to offer. Only downside is the trail is short and you have to hit theOT to keep hiking for a multi day trip

love the trail.

Looks like trails have changed. Some portions of the 11.1 mile loop are overgrown trails, no signage, and at least one disappeared on us. No loop that we could see. We went clockwise and had to turn back 2-3 miles from where the end was supposed to be.

Paved, and no views

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