Crane Lake Trail is a 4.5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Annapolis, Missouri that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

4.5 miles
364 feet

dog friendly

kid friendly




horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running






wild flowers


This trail is open to hiking, mountain biking and equestrian use. It is marked, but sometimes difficult to follow. Use is light to moderate depending on time of year. There is a scenic overlook of the dam and a shut-ins below the dam. The trail traverses cedar glades, oak-hickory forest, and old fields. You will have to cross a creek so use caution in rainy weather.

11 months ago

When you start off, there is a trail. The trail is completely gone before the first mile is up. We followed what we thought was the trail, but it ended up being part of the Ozark Trail, which was definitely not Crane Lake Trail. So we made our own trail. You basically just follow the lake around. Where you run into trouble is the dam. You have to go way around the back side of the shut-in to get to the other side of the lake. With no trail to follow, we were apprehensive about moving forward. We turned around and went out the same way we came in. Let me be clear, the trail gets completely lost. There is so much over growth and fallen leaves, everything looks the same. The trail looks good to start and then becomes completely non existent. Pretty area though. Nice country drive to the trailhead. Probably won't go back.
Oh, and the trail was rated as moderate...the lack of trail reclassifies it to hard.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Beautiful area, area not well maintained but it's an area we love

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Nice hike for our arrival in MO. we took the shortcut across the dam.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

trail around lake is lackluster but the Shut-ins south of the dam is a blast. could spend a few hours in there. A lot of fire pits.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Beautiful scenery, horse trails not marked well

Sunday, April 17, 2016

maybe it was the time of year.. but the crossing at the bottom of the dam was very tricky..i fell on a slick rock and hurt my knee.. which probably added to the difficulty level..the trail is poorly marked places.. somehow we got off on the Ozark trail and a 3 he hike took 10.. we were lost..ended up in minimum road towards E hwy..there are atv trackit s and logging roads that also helped to confuse us. we didn't have a map (stupid).. and the GPS on my phone was hit and miss..
fairly new to hiking, so this was areal learning adventure for was still a beautiful day and despite getting lost, we enjoyed ourselves for sure

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The north section of the trail was great, beautiful lake and we got to see a bald eagle. The south loop, on the other hand, was water logged and overgrown as well as being poorly marked. It felt like walking through a marsh in spots, the mud was sucking at our boots.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

It's early April and this makes my second hike this year. The weather is clear, windy, and cool. The lake is pretty rough and overflowing. Which has made it rough to cross. I wish I had brought a pair of sandals to wear because of the rocky bottom.
This is a good short distance trail and a great place to stop at the lake and eat a basket lunch and the next time I will bring my pole!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The trail info indicates this is a 5 mile trail and to allow 4 hours. I hiked the trail today and the track on my iphone showed 4.3 miles and it took a couple of hours. The trail is composed of a north loop and a south loop. The trail head sign indicates the north loop is 3 miles and the south loop is 2 miles. The north loop stays close to the lake and crosses the dam at the south end. I did not see the dam or the trail that goes over it. The trail on the east side of the lake is part of the Ozark Trail. If stays close to the lake and is a moderate trail with some elevation changes. As the trail needs to southern end of Crane Lake, their is a natural glade. It would be a good place to rest and enjoy the view. It is approximately a mile to get to the glade. The trail off of the glade is rock strewn and fairly steep. This is the most difficult terrain on the trail. Once down this portion of the trail, you will find yourself beside a small stream. The stream bed is rock with pools of water and small waterfalls. It would be a good place to cool off. The trail follows this stream for a ways and then opens into a cleared area. The trail signs at this point change. The Ozark Trail sign is replaced by a silver diamond used by the forest service to mark their trail. The rest of this trail around the bottom of the lake and up the west side of the lake is a wider forest service road. It is not clearly marked with diamonds but all you need to do is stay on the road and it will bring you back to the north end of the lake and to the parking lot. This would be a great place to hike and then put a kayak in the lake and do a little fishing. Only boats with electric motors are allowed on the lake. I did notice tire tracks on the forest service road most likely made by ATVs. I did not encounter anyone on the trail but I hiked late in the afternoon on a weekday. Unfortunately there I saw the occasional beer can along the roadway. I do not know what a weekend would be like at Crane Lake.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Me and my grandpa used to fish here when he was still alive.. Wonderful place to be first thing in the morning.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's pretty awesome. I don't know why I gave it a three. I guess there are places with more natural wonders but this place is quiet, secluded and really beautiful. Especially, below the dam.

Monday, August 30, 2010

This trail is open for hiking, mountain biking and equestrian use. The trail is marked but is sometimes difficult to follow. There are a couple of uphill climbs but overall not a difficult trail. There is a scenic overlook of the dam and a shut-ins below the dam. You will have to cross a creek so be cautious in rainy weather.

5 months ago

10 months ago

Saturday, October 07, 2017