Bell Mountain Loop Trail is a 11.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Belleview, Missouri that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Oak and hickory are the predominate tree species, with some areas of natural oak-pine and some short leaf pine plantations. Upland brush and red cedar make up a small portion of the vegetative component. Blackjack oak, winged elm, hickories, sumac, and native grasses are found on the glades. Lichens abound on the exposed-surface rock. Some areas on Bell Mountain that were cleared in the 1940's now have almost pure stands of Northern Red Oak. Shut-in Creek crosses the area. It is a perennial spring fed stream with several shut-ins, or gorges along its course. Steep talus slopes intersect the stream course at several locations. Joe's Creek is another small perennial stream within the Wilderness. Bell Mountain Wilderness provides a unique habitat situation not typical of the majority of Missouri's Ozarks. The predominately oak-hickory forest is interspersed with pine and scattered glades resulting in a diversity of plant species more common to old growth forest. This habitat situation favors mature forest species such as pileated woodpeckers, wood thrush and oven birds.
Great trail, lots of elevation gain for Missouri
We loved this loop and would recommend it!! The trail was well traveled and marked. The trail that leads to the north trailhead and the trail to the south trailhead doesn't have signs denoting them so recommend having a map or at least be familiar with it so you stay on the loop and not end up off the loop at a unintended trailhead. The trail was free of trash so my hat is off to fellow hikers and backpackers for practicing "no trace" and packaging out what they pack in so those visiting this trail after them can enjoy the beauty this loop has to offer. The view at the top of Bell Mountain is worth the hike and I think it is closer to fifteen miles.
We just got back today from our hike at Bell Mountain. Had a wonderful time and I thought it was marked good and had plenty of dead wood for burning. Excellent camping spots and an awesome view at the summit. We parked on the north end and made our way around clockwise. It's 4 miles from the parking lot to the summit. I saw where there was a split off for the south parking lot and it was marked with an orange strap and 2 metal pieces. I knew which way to go, but it could be confusing if someone didn't know the map well. Personally, it was tiring, but worth it. I appreciated the fact that there was no trash anywhere, hikers/campers are doing a great job picking up.
great trail. poorly marked. incredible variety of terrain. friendly hikers. saw a horse trailer but no horses spotted on the trail. started at north bell mountain trailhead, got twisted around and came out at a trailhead 6 or 7 miles from the one we started on. finally found our way back with the help of other hikers.
Beautiful loop through some of the Ozarks finest! It is a Wilderness area, so obviously there's not a lot of blazes, but I had no problems finding my way around the loop. And there were very few step-overs! I done the loop as a day hike, but I would like to go back and camp at the top, and then watch the sun come up the next morning.
very rocky.... we thought the trail was only 11 miles. it turned out to be 15.5 with a lot of incline hiking. very few markers.
The views at the top were so pretty and made me realize how nice Missouri is. However, the trail isn't that well marked and we went a mile on the north trail instead of being on the loop. Our total distance was 15 miles and it took us 6.3 hours to hike but we did stop and take some breaks. The trail itself is very hard to see in the winter because the leaves are covering everything. But it was a fun trail for beginners that can easily be completed in one day!
The views from the top make it all worth it! I usually hike 12 miles a day no problem, but the suggestions in the comments boxes recommended camping and staying the night. They were right!! It was so beautiful from the top, we didn't want to leave. I hiked counterclockwise and suggest grabbing water in one of the creeks while you can, because if you loop around there is only one "pond" on the way down that offers hardly drinkable water. The trail is fairly easy and smooth all the way to the top. This trail does require some uphill effort though, which is probably why its rated as moderate. Will definitely hike/camp again!
Awesome trail, we did it after a rain so it was basically a stream running down the trail which made it a higher difficulty. The views from the top were amazing even on a cloudy day. The sun peeked out on our way down so we stopped to take in the sunset. I'll definitely be back.
Excellent trail with a nice view of the surrounding hills and reservoir. We went right at the split which I thought made hike. Would certainly do again, hopefully to camp at one of the many established primitive sites