Crane Lake Trail

MODERATE 9 reviews

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 508 feet Loop

dog friendly

kid friendly




mountain biking

nature trips

trail running


horseback riding





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.

21 days ago

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.

5 months ago

Beautiful scenery, horse trails not marked well

11 months ago

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

11 months ago

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.

2 years ago

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!

3 years ago

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.

5 years ago

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

6 years ago

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.

6 years ago

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.