Buford Mountain State Forest Trail

HARD 62 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.

DISTANCE
9.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,860 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

over grown

rocky

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.

20 days ago

Old double-track trail. Very old, though, so not as unpleasant as double-track sounds, although you could drive a car along most of the trail.

Very rocky in the initial ascent, but only for that first mile.

Beautiful glades. Only saw one other party, although it was a Thursday.

trail running
2 months ago

A bit rocky for a trail run this long but no problem for hikers. I was fighting with spider webs strung across the trail about every twenty strides and almost stepped on a copperhead so be sure to stay on the lookout for that. There was a really nice view about 2.5 miles in that you can also stop at on the return trip. All in all I enjoyed this challenging run and would recommend it to anyone looking for some really good hill workouts.

hiking
4 months ago

I enjoyed the entire experience as it is hard not to when out in the beauty of the world. More water would be valuable if you are looking to spend some time on the summit. An epic hike, I will be back xo

hiking
4 months ago

Solid loop with everything a regular hiker could want. The full loop is 10.5 miles with most of the climbing out of the way early. The hike starts with a steady climb straight up to the highest point of the hike. Once to the top of Burford Mt you follow the ridge line to summit at 5 different peaks. The first peak is the highest point but is covered in small trees with no view, the second peak has large glades and rock structures to cross. The third peak is similar to the first. After the 3rd peak you will reach the portion of the trail where the actual loop starts. Keep left to reach Bald Knob in about a half mile or stay right to reward yourself with the views at Bald Knob at the end of your loop. The hike from trailhead to Bald Knob is just over 3 miles. Bald Knob is located on the 4th summit of the ridge. Continue on to the fifth summit and then back around the loop to peak #3. The trail does not have switch backs so expect steep and rocky conditions. Hiking poles come in handy for the trip back down Buford Mt for extra stability.

6 months ago

The bald Knob has an awesome view, everything else on the trail is just a long stroll through the woods. Don’t waste your with the loop unless you are doing it for the exercise.

hiking
7 months ago

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

hiking
11 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.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

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.

hiking
Saturday, August 26, 2017

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.

hiking
Sunday, June 25, 2017

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.

hiking
Sunday, June 11, 2017

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.

hiking
Friday, May 26, 2017

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.

hiking
Thursday, May 18, 2017

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

hiking
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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

hiking
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

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. ⛰

hiking
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.

hiking
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.

hiking
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!

hiking
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.

hiking
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..

hiking
Monday, April 04, 2016

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

hiking
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.

hiking
Monday, February 22, 2016

We love this trail, a good place to train and enjoy the day. Has some good steep long hills, one lasting almost 2 miles. However the view at Bald Knob is incredible, very rewarding!

hiking
Monday, December 07, 2015

Great trail! It's a longish loop with several good sized hills, a couple of great valley vistas, and lots of rocky glades. With all the leaves down it can be a little difficult to stay on the trail in the valley, the only blazes are are the intersections and maybe one or two more signs in obvious places stating "trail." It had been dry for a while but there was one running stream along the trail, several ponds and a few dry creek beds. As previous reviewers have stated, there are no switchbacks on this trail and you will find yourself moving straight uphill for continuous stretches. You've also got to watch your step as the path is rocky. One of the camps sites surprisingly had a large metal grill. I wouldn't tackle this trail if you aren't in decent shape, though, it is one of the more challenging I've been on in the area.

hiking
Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Buford mountain is what I would specify as "The Perfect Trail" why it is only rated 4/5 stars, I'll never understand. Why is it perfect? It has everything you could hope for from mid-Western America. Unless you're a fantasy romantic and we're hoping four hundred feet cliffs and beautiful waterfalls. But no, it has a rough beginning to ward away weaker, uninvested tourists. But has enough pretty spots and junctions to keep wore avid hikers going. Sure, there are a few times when you're stuck going uphill through the woods for an hour or two, but it's the hard work that makes it worthwhile. Buford mountain is a responsible parent who gives their children bountiful gofts, but makes them work for it so they'll appreciate it more. Instead of the cheap whore-to-the-public places like Elephant rocks! (Don't get me wrong Elephant rocks is a pretty cool place is just way too easy and anyone can get to it without having to work for it). Bringing some water or even a camel back and some food is highly recommended for this trip, there are a lot of rough mountains. Personally I have hiked this trail four times and have even camped overnight on the peak the view of the stars and the landscape are best at dusk.

hiking
Sunday, June 24, 2012

I get the feeling that there aren't many people that come up on this mountain trail. It's rugged, and not an easy trail. My wife and I did the abbreviated version of this trail, that is we only went to the fourth summit, a bald knob with great views of the Belleview Valley.
The trail is rugged, to say the least. The main gate at the lower parking lot was closed (an attempt to keep out youth looking for a party spot, I'm told), so you have to walk the first half mile up to the second parking lot. Your first mile from the upper trailhead is straight up Buford Mountain's South slope. It's a very rocky, steep trail. We were exhausted when we hit the top. After that, the trail runs up and down between Buford's five peaks. The trail is more overgrown the further in you go, but it's hard to lose sight of the trail completely unless you leave the trail to explore the many glades you come across.
Overall, unless you're just looking for a challenge, the views from the Bald Knob may not be worth the climb up and back down, but they are beautiful. The overall trail is 10 miles, but the trip to the Bald Knob and back is a little over 6.

hiking
Saturday, October 16, 2010

This was actually my second time hiking this trail. The first time I did the whole 10 miles. The second trip I went to camp on Bald Knob. It is 3 miles out and is a treeless peak. It has great views as well as plenty of places to set up a tent. The moon was brite and the night was warm. Great hike but with any trail in Missouri make sure you have plenty of tick repellant.

Load More