Hercules Glade Backpacking Loop

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Hercules-Glades Wilderness

Hercules Glade Backpacking Loop is a 9.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Bradleyville, Missouri that features a waterfall 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.

Distance: 9.9 miles Elevation Gain: 931 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

views

waterfall

rocky

hiking
blowdown
muddy
rocky
8 days ago

Planned on doing several nights along trail but due to severe weather decided to cut shorter. Still wanted to finish loop but ended up getting soaked in several rounds of heavy rains. Trail was slick in spots but nothing unusual. We decided to do trail clockwise rather than what appears to be norm of counter-clockwise thinking we should have an easier uphill experience by spreading out of 5-6 miles rather than one big uphill near end. In hindsight it may have been better to go normal way. Seemed like we were always walking uphill today. Overall a good trip. Would love to see again on a clear day when some of the views may have been easier to see.

hiking
8 days ago

Very fun trail! Would be very easy to get lost if you’re not using navigation. Only encountered one set of hikers the entire time, great place to go for some solitude.

hiking
muddy
rocky
8 days ago

Today was the first of a multi day trip. Trail in good shape. Muddy in spots but it rained recently so this is to be expected. Falls were really neat. Found several existing spots near falls. Great first day.

hiking
flooded
muddy
1 month ago

Awesome trail. Was submerged and super muddy! Water was up past knee level and super cold when crossing the creek.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Went at the perfect time! Trails were perfect, a little muddy here and there but not a big deal! The falls were flowing in full force and it was beautiful! Did the route in 2 days. We took our time! Great trail! Highly recommend!

hiking
muddy
2 months ago

ohv/off road driving
muddy
6 months ago

It was amazing! Awesome rock crawling...water...and mud!!

hiking
bugs
rocky
8 months ago

We did this trail in one day, last weekend. It is a pretty cool area being on a Glade. We saw amazing insects and some of the largest spiders we have ever seen! BEWARE there was ZERO water on the entire trail including below where the waterfall was. This is something we thought wouldn't be a problem for this area but it was. It is a nice flat hike, super easy just very rocky and uneven surface. Perfect length for a few hours of day hiking. We only had trouble one time losing the trail.

hiking
blowdown
off trail
over grown
rocky
10 months ago

Nope. We did not like this trail at all. I always try to keep Missouri trails in perspective. Meaning, the situation is relative to where you are at. But this trail was a full disappointment. Right now Long Creek is completely empty. No water. No water fall. Nothing. The trail itself is over grown, rocks, roots, missing in places, and ruts. Ticks and spider webs cover the rest of it. We started on the Tower / Pilot trail. Looped all the way around Devils Den / Lower Pilot trail to Coy Bald trail and Long Creek trail head. There is a camp site there. There was no water. No water fall. We pressed on and completed the loop via Long Creek trail back to our truck and left. 11.3 miles total.

backpacking
11 months ago

Very nice stroll through the Ozarks with a splash of glades and creeks and a very nice waterfall at the southern west flip flop of this trail. Go past the waterfall and up a hundred feet for one of the nicer tent sites close enough for the sounds of the falls to lull you to sleep. I think its best to do the loop closewise.

backpacking
Sun Apr 07 2019

First backpacking experience. Was great! Trail map is helpful. Was fortunate that the recent rain made for incredible waterfalls. Was able to camp at the falls at a spot that already had a fire ring. I did Tower to Upper Pilot then down to the falls and camped there. Made for a short hike the next morning up Long Creek back to the parking lot. I look forward to doing it again.

hiking
Tue Nov 20 2018

The falls aren't too hard to find, trail could definitely use some clearing in areas. The falls had about 2-3 feet of water in the pools when we were there in late November. I'm sure if the water was higher it would be running.

backpacking
Fri Jun 29 2018

Lots of fun! My first backpacking experience ever! Hard work but worth it. Never had a problem with the finding the trail, we made sure to have copies of the map made. Very shady as well, we were able to avoid most of the sun. My only complaint was the river was completely dry, no waterfall, but what can I expect with the heat we’ve had recently.

backpacking
Wed May 30 2018

Great trail, kinda got lost several times, but it was my first time and some of the trail wasn't marked. Definitely grab a map at the beginning of the trailhead, they have them printed out in a box at the trailhead.

running
Sat Apr 07 2018

I had a great time here. I started at the tower trailhead and took Long Creek down to the Falls. I found that trail kinda hard to see but it was smooth going. I then continued down to Lower Pilot, then onto Tower trail. Toward the end of that I decided to divert onto Pees Hollow. Then back to the trailhead. I covered just shy of 18 miles in 5 hours (trail running). The maps provided on site were a must. I didn’t have a compass so I had to judge the sun’s position to find my way at certain points. It all added to the epic journey!

backpacking
Tue Mar 27 2018

Trekked out to the Falls. No water, just some pools here and there. Hiked about 1/2 mile back and found a campsite that already had a fire ring, so we opted to stay there. Will definitely return to the area...and soon.

hiking
Sun Dec 10 2017

Nice hiking area with some good views. Ran across a mama bear and a younger cub just off Tower trail east of Middle trail. Got some growls from mama bear. I later read that black bears don't growl but may grunt, roar, huff, moan or bark but none of those seemed to fit what I heard. It sounded like a deep, from the gut, throaty growl that lasted just 2-3 seconds. I might have been too close to her young one without knowing it as the sun was in my eyes. I stopped and spotted the mama bear about 15 yards to the side of me on the first growl but just the outline of her due to the sun blinding me. I kept walking and she gave me another growl. This time I stopped to make sure I wasn't anywhere near young ones and that she wasn't coming towards me as I took the growls as an aggressive warning. I finally spotted one young cub close to the mama bear and they soon moved in the opposite direction and over the hilltop. Perhaps the growls were both a call to the young one and a warning to me. It sure got my attention!

backpacking
Sat Nov 25 2017

Here is my YouTube video review of the area: https://youtu.be/AAA0QaMkjnQ

backpacking
Tue Nov 21 2017

There are other good and informative reviews of the Hercules-Glades Wilderness area, but I wanted to put my comments here because this posting more closely resembles what we did. My son and I spent our Thanksgiving Week 2017 doing this loop over 3 days and 2 nights. We started at the Fire Tower Lookout on the east side of the park. This is a great trailhead area (actually two trails start here). There is good parking, some picnic tables, and a dual-porta-potty. The "Pilot Trail" and "Pee's Hollow Trail" head is on the northern end of the parking lot, and the "Long Creek Trail" head is on the west side. Bring a map and compass. The park has recently been updated with signage, which is a blessing, but a couple of times we still got turned around and the map and compass saved us. We started westward on the Long Creek Trail which was very nice all the way down to where the water falls would be (they were bone dry in November) The Rock Springs Trail was a bit steep at first but leveled out pretty nicely and transitions into a unique cedar forest. We spent the night about a hundred meters off to the right (north) in a makeshift campsite, which was quite fun. Easy to get turned around in there, so be sure of your bearings. Next day we continued the hike westward on the Rock Springs Trail until we approached the Devil's Den area, which has a large campsite on both sides of Long Creek (eastern side and western side). The branch to go northward onto the Devil's Den Trail was very difficult to spot with the fallen leaves and there was no signage. But we found it at the back of the first campsite (the one on the east side of the creek) and was able to ascend the very steep incline. After a few heavy breaths the trail basically levels out and leads for a while along several heavily wooded ridges. The "T" junction between the Lower Pilot Trail to the west and the Upper Pilot Trail to the east was marked with a post and a pile of rocks. We took a quick snack break here and headed east towards Upper Pilot Knob. After a couple of hours we decided to bush-whack it up the creek valley between the two eastern-most hills of Upper Pilot Knob. We were not disappointed. It wasn't that difficult work and the views at the top both northward and southward are spectacular -- probably the best in the park. Both of these adjacent hills have wooded campsites at the top with rock fireplaces and benches, and several additional fireplace areas nearby for overflow and for view-watching. The night sky stars were also amazing on top of Pilot Knob ... it was a clear night. Next day we bush-whacked back down the northern face of Pilot Knob back to the Pilot Trail and made quick work of it back to the Tower Trailhead, in less than 3 hours. There were a few spots where the inclines were tiring, but overall was a good hike. Would recommend visiting the Hercules Glades area in the spring after heavy rains to take advantage of the beauty of the waterfalls and creeks/streams throughout the area. By all means this website http://www.ouachitamaps.com/Hercules.html has the best maps of the area. Recommend that you purchase this rather than the plain topo map. You will need to know the names of the various trail segments to match them when you encounter the signage.

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