Buford Mountain State Forest Trail

HARD 49 reviews

Buford Mountain State Forest Trail is a 9.1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Middlebrook, Missouri that features a river and is rated as difficult. 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.

9.1 miles
1860 feet

dogs on leash




nature trips

trail running





wild flowers



over grown


This loop climbs up and then around Buford Mountain's 5 peaks, then loops around the back side of the mountain. The trail is steep and rocky, with excellent views of the Belleview valley from the Fourth peak. Buford Mountain covers 3,829 acres. In the mid- to late-1800s, the charcoal industry flourished in the Belleview-Arcadia Valley. Old charcoal kilns still remain over the entire mountain. The highest peak of the mountain is 1,740 feet above sea level. With most of the mountain hardened by granite known as Rhyolite, the area yields little permanent water. Limestone stream beds mark the base of the mountain. Several wet weather springs can be found over the area; these are usually dry, however, during summer. The areas most outstanding feature is its glades, ranging in size from less than 1 acre to over 10 acres. These glades provide many scenic views and excellent opportunities to observe glade plants and animals. Because of the sensitive nature of the plant and animal communities and very thin soils common to the glades, activity on the glades is restricted to walking only.

27 days ago

It's pretty hard if you aren't a habitual hiker, but the bald knob is worth every step and drop of sweat.

4 months ago

This trail is a nice challenge for beginners. The trail is a bit mundane. A plus is that at the end where you can see the overlook over the valley. This is a great time to eat lunch if you started early enough. Not many other places to do this. Most of the trail is enclosed in the woods and is not much for views. I will frequent this one to stay on Appalachian trail shape.

5 months ago

I love the view from the top, and all the large granite boulders. And I like that it's a hard trail, you feel like you are really getting a good cardio with the bonus beautiful setting. I also like that it is a loop trail and it's easily navigable.

5 months ago

Fun, 10 mile trail with pretty decent elevation changes. Bald Knob is a beautiful bluff, but there isn't really any other nice vistas. Good shakedown trail for the AT.

7 months ago

I would rate this trail just a step below "hard". My family with 2 boys 11 and 13 were able to get through it on a hot day. It does has some difficult spots at the beginning/end due to steep slopes and loose rocks. It is a rather long trail with not much to see or do along the way. The one viewing spot on Bald Knob is awesome but I wish there were a couple of other spots to see something interesting.

8 months ago

Nice intermediate hike. Full loop. GPS 9.56 miles. We took it easy & did moderate pace. Did full loop in 3hr 10 min. Ground cover and vegetation pretty. Natural Missouri. Views leave bit to be desired. Only decent views at bald knob. Bring long pants.

8 months ago

I did the full loop Wednesday. I enjoyed the entire experience but the view from the bald knob was by far the highlight of the hike. I'm new to this site, and like the hikes being rated, although I might have been scared into not doing this trail if I knew upfront it had a hard rating, so now I'm ready for another, any suggestions? Has anyone tried permethrin? I got several tick bites even though I used Deet.

9 months ago

Good all day hike that will leave you exhausted at the end. The first uphill section feels like it will never end. After that it is just up and down. Bald knob look out is beautiful. I would recommend bringing lots of water and food to have a picnic up at the top. We took lots of breaks because of the steep inclines. The trail is full of spider webs and lots of mosquitoes so bring bug spray!!! Also wear good shoes and watch your step because there are a ton of little rocks that make the trail hard

10 months ago

Beautiful area, and a very solitary hike.
Bring plenty of water.

11 months ago

I'm giving this trail 5 stars because it was a well marked and maintained place. It lives up to its hard rating as it can be very physically demanding at times. Quite a few long steep elevations changes made it challenging. Gorgeous view from Bald Knob, but that is about the only scenic view point. So I wouldn't recommend this hike to someone just looking to sight see. Over all it was a fun hike and a great workout. ⛰

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Great view from bald knob, perfect place for a lunch after 2/3 of the hike. a lot of steep, by Missouri standards, hills to go up and down.

Monday, September 26, 2016

My rating is for the entire 10 mile loop. I would give a 4 star for the trip up to Bald Knob. Bald Knob offers a great view, but beyond that on the back side of the trail system it is just loaded with bugs and spiders. The elevation changes and long uphill climbs made for a challenging hike especially in the sections covered in small boulders. I will revisit, but will only go as far as Bald Knob without a doubt.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

very tough hike. A hike to Bald Knob and back would be a 4 star hike. We did the full trail and not much past the view. Elevation changes the entire hike. The view on top is def. worth the hike up. No one on trail which is always nice. would def. go again. Would just hike to Knob and back.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The view from Bald Knob is amazing but the back half of the mountain is fairly boring. I really enjoyed the intense elevation changes. Very lightly trafficked with tons of spiderwebs

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

First mile/mile and a half is rough, but not bad after that. It's a nice, long hike, that seems to be traveled pretty lightly. I was the only one on the trail to my knowledge, which is nice.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

one of the toughest hikes I have done. For 3.5 hours it poured, which didn't make the climb any easier. I was grueling and challenging but totally worth it. I would definitely do it again, but not in the rain!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Challenging hike because of the elevation changes and inclines/declines, but rewarding. The view at Bald Knob was worth every step. I took the east loop first and it seemed longer, which made getting to Bald Knob even more rewarding.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

I thought this was a pretty challenging hike.. if you take the left leg of the loop, there is a killer hill that is about 1 1/2miles long, or maybe more..kicked this old lady's rear for sure..
the trail was even more difficult because of the loose Rocky path.. causing you to choose your steps ..but, the view is pretty spectacular. and the feeling of accomplishment at the end of a hard mountain hike...
ps.. the little spring flowers are blooming..

Monday, April 04, 2016

Challenging hike. The view at Bald Knob was great! Good weather. Will return.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

If looking for a physical trail this one would be a good candidate doing the 10 mile loop. Some good scenes as well.

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