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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.

Good trail for even inexperienced day hikers. It for sure takes 2 hours with a small group and 30m at the falls. No chance of getting lost if you look for the red blazes on the trees.

Loved this trail. Hiked it with the family on a Saturday. Great views and the falls were awesome.!

long trail down hill for a trickle....bad time of year

One of the best hikes I’ve had outside of a National Park! Not only games for the highest peak or the tallest waterfall in Missouri but this area is geologically older than the Rockies or the Appalachian Mountains, in fact, scientists say these Precambrian Volcanoes were volcanic islands when most of the US was a sea! I just love history and thus region has plenty!
The waterfall was only a trickle but the vistas, flora, fauna, & exploring opportunities totally make up for it. The hike is moderately technical or difficult especially if you climb down to the bottom of the falls and back. There are lots of rocks in the trail, some are even scrambles I suppose and sure footing is a must to avoid twisting an ankle (or worse). There are a few great places along the trail to rest and take in the views and many more trail side rocks to sit on but beware of snakes as they love to hang out under the cool rocks. We didn’t see any snakes but we did see two Collared Lizards, several Skinks, a few Tree Frogs and several different species of Butterfly. The bugs were thick in spots so bring extra repellent (always).
An added bonus is the plethora of trails, local history & areas with a wide variety of geologic interest that surrounds these mountains so there’s plenty to do, I’ve spent 7 days here and wish I had 7 more!

Fun hike in the hot weather. But tougher than I remember. But still a good one

just got back! love this hike although it was a lot different with little water running.

Easily the prettiest trail I’ve hiked since I’ve been in MO. The falls are very relaxing but probably much more impressive and photogenic when it isn’t so dry. I spent most of my time climbing around the rocks to look in all the little pools. The trail can be a little difficult to navigate, so I can see why people sometimes need to be rescued. Just keep an eye out for the blazes- the trail is sometimes swallowed up by the rocks. I also went to Devil’s Tollgate from here and was able to run a good portion of that part of the trail in my trail runners that I should have swapped out for my actual hiking boots. Wear stuff with good ankle support!

hiking
1 month ago

We have done this trail twice now and it doesn’t disappoint. The first time it was raining and the falls were amazing. This time not as much water but we were able to splash around and cool off. Overall well worth the hike!

This trail is amazing! my husband and I hiked it May 24th, 2018 in the morning. We saw and heard lots of birds and butterflies we're abundant and we're loving the wildflowers in the glades. The views are breathtaking and visibility was great, and I'll definitely be back in autumn to see the leaves.

We also saw lots of Collared Lizards, including a male in his bright breeding colors. Mina Sauk falls were beautiful!

As for the terrain, I didn't have any problems. As long as proper shoes are worn and care is taken in the more rocky areas, it's a very doable hike.

Mina Sauk was a good challenging hike for me. I will advise that you should have on some decent shoes for walking on a rugged terrain; this trail had a lot of rocks on it to hop over. You will see a mini alternate path to bypass the rocks in some spots. There's also a lot of mud and some puddles after it rains, too. For those who may question taking a walking stick on this trail, I would advise doing it, even if you're just entertaining the thought. I didn't need one, but this is a trail where you may want to err on the side of caution and just do it.

The first part of the trail didn't appear to be marked very well, especially when you kind of got used to the rocks being your path. Download an offline map from Alltrails (yes, you'll have to pay for a subscription, but it's worth it to me). the only time the offline map didn't work is when it started pouring down rain on me halfway through my hike, lol (I was more worried about my phone getting too wet at that point, lol). At that point, the Ozark Trail shared the path with the Mina Sauk Trail, and you could follow those markers, in addition to the Mina Sauk markers, all the way to the parking lot. You also have access to the Highest Point form the trail as well.

As for the Mina Sauk Falls, you do have to shimmy your way down the hill to see it better; make like you're taking the Ozark Trail to get there. It was nice to lay back on a rock, look up, and listen to all the sounds.

There weren't many people there that day, and it was a Saturday. For me, that made for a more peaceful hike.

Overall, it was a moderate level hike, but more on the "hard" side of moderate, in my opinion. It just had to do with the terrain and the incline going back up. I still thought the views were worth the adventure! I'd go back!

hiking
2 months 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 www.ozarktrail.com 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
2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months 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!

hiking
3 months ago

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.

hiking
3 months 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.

hiking
3 months ago

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.

hiking
4 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: http://ozarktrail.com/tripreport.php
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.
Enjoy!

backpacking
6 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.

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