Ozark Trail: Taum Sauk Section

HARD 55 reviews

Ozark Trail: Taum Sauk Section is a 12.3 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Arcadia, Missouri that features beautiful wild flowers 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.

12.3 miles
1,299 feet
Point to Point

dogs on leash





nature trips




wild flowers




It's hard to understate how great this section is. You have 1.5 billion-year-old mountains, igneous glades, springs, grand vistas, odd rock formations, and a swimming hole complete with natural flumes. If this author could only hike one trail in Missouri, this would be his choice. Please consult The Ozark Trail Association regarding the condition and availability for hiking on this section of The Ozark Trail. Between the resevior breach and the major blow-down there have been some major changes in the last few years.

2 months ago

Hiked west from Johnson Shutins trail in the day use area of the park, to the Ozark trail junction. Then we followed the OT blazes west over highway N and north toward Tom Sauk mountain. Very rugged terrain most of the way. Trail blazes are difficult to find in more than a few places. Keep an eye out for the hikers cairns, they kept us from getting lost more than once. Also if you don't see any blazes for a while look for two horizontal nails in the trees about 4 inches apart. They mark where a blaze used to be. That also served to keep us on the trail a few times. Very nice hike other than the trail not being very well marked in some places. Watch out for hogs. My brother and I jumped a small herd rooting right in the middle of our path.

2 months ago

I'm not exactly sure why the this section is so different from every other trail in Missouri, it just is. Great time, just bring water. You may have easily done a 5 mile trail without needing water before, but there's 5 miles and then there's 5 miles on the Taum Sauk.

3 months ago

Rugged. Lots of ankle turners. Best views in the state.

3 months ago

Great trail! It’s for sure rugged. Expect to be looking down a lot, but, make sure to stop and take in the scenery. My wife, daughter, son, two dogs and I did a quick 3 miles in from Taum Sauk mountain and stayed the night. The waterfall was a trickle, however, still a pretty awesome site for Missouri. We saw a lot of fence lizards and turtles. The coyotes were also having a great time throughout the night, but, never came very close. All in all a very nice and well marked trail.

4 months ago

There are pretty views and rock formations, mostly shady woods with open sunny glades closer to Johnson Shut-ins. Oh and rocks, rocks, rocks.

We hiked from the Taum Sauk trailhead to the Highway N trailhead, 13.5 miles. We did this over 1 ½ days. We have done several day hikes but this was our first overnight backpacking trip so we wanted it to be fairly short. We traveled from St. Louis to the Highway N Trailhead with two cars then shuttled ourselves to the other end. We didn’t start hiking until lunch time so stopped a couple miles in at Mina Sauk Falls to eat. It was just a trickle of water that day but still a neat area to eat and explore.

Based on other reviews we expected the trail to be rocky and it sure is! Really only a few short sections the whole way were without large rocks. It got to my hips the second day. (I’m 49). My college age son and his friend faired better than my husband and I but after a section with a lot of rock slides they commented “that section sucked”. We did a lot of training preparing for a different hike and were used to 40 lb. packs and a 2mph pace. I had a lighter pack but we only managed about 1.5 mph.

There were two nice camping areas by Taum Sauk Creek and one a little further down. We tried out our water filtration system at the creek but camped further on at the last spot. It is by a ravine with a storm creek that may have water some of the time but didn’t when we were there. We expected to dry camp though and had brought extra water. The map we got from the Ozark Trail Association showed all the water sources and was accurate.

Chiggers and spiders were pretty much the only wildlife we encountered. After about four miles in we didn’t encounter other hikers either. I’m sure the hot August weather had something to do with that. We enjoyed the solitude and quiet at our camp site.

The trail was really well marked. I read a previous review before going that said the trail was not well marked. Someone must have done some maintenance between those times because we didn’t need our map or compass at all. Many of the blazes looked new. When we got to the end we car camped at Johnson Shut-Ins State park and enjoyed the shut-ins the next day. Overall a nice three day weekend.

9 months ago

I hiked this trail plus several more miles to hw 21. The trail was well maintained as well as the camp sights. You gain elevation quickly and enjoy a challenging hike with rewarding views. Not much water so bring plenty.

10 months ago

I must be a terrible hiker. People on here claim to start at the Bell Mountain Wilderness (Highway A) and get to the peak (Taum Sauk) in 6 hours with 30lbs packs and what have you. Bell Mountain to Taum Sauk is a 30 mile trail. That's 10 minute miles. Plan ahead and give yourself some time. It took us about 14-15 hours to complete across two days. Saw some boars, very pretty waterfall, amazing viewpoints. Everything you can need to know about this trail is located on the OzarkTrail website.

10 months ago

My husband and I hiked this trail last summer and it was a great experience! Definitely a rugged trail, and any visitors should be fully prepared with water and water filtration systems if they're planning on a longer trek. The views were worth any difficulties!!! We were also surprised by several cleared campsites along the way that weren't on the MO State Parks map.

10 months ago

I did Bell Mountain Wilderness to Taum Sauk Mountain State Park. This portion of my trip was absolutely beautiful! It was rocky, rugged, and steep; give yourself plenty of time. I planned to camp here; it took me 6.5 hours to finish this portion with a 30lb pack. I recommend doing this in the fall, winter, or early spring as there will be some overgrown areas. Ketcherside Mountain had some amazing views. Please leave no trace!!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Good scout trail

Friday, December 01, 2017

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I would like to second what Matt Hodel said (note: he's one of the people responsible for us making it off the trail alive this past weekend). Posts on here indicating that this hike takes less than 6 hours were misleading and nearly got us killed. If Matt and his buddy, Eric, had not been on the trail, the ending would have been very different.

I'm not personally in bad shape (though I could stand to lose 20 lbs), and by "not in bad shape" I mean that I lead a hiking group, do several 7+ mile hikes a month, and did a half marathon a month all last year —but this trail really kicked my backside.

When I read the under 6 review on here (and I'm not disputing that you did it, just saying that's not the norm for this trail), I did the math, and "it checked out" — our group hiking speed is a 24 min mile. But this trail is not your average hiking trail — it's littered with rocks, ankle-turners, almost throughout — I would say that 80% of the trail is being generous. And when you add to that, that the leaves had just fallen and it was drizzling, that's really going to slow you down.

So, based on calculations, we thought we would be off the trail in daylight, in 51° weather. Instead, we were still 2+ miles from the summit, at the most treacherous part of the trail, with one headlamp for every two people.

We had sent our 2 fastest hikers on to the summit with one of the radios, and between that and spotty cellphone connection, we were able to get ahold of rangers and keep warm around Matt & Eric's fire until we were rescued.

We started at 10:30 am, reached the power lines (the mid-way point) around 2:30 pm, where we ate lunch, sunset was approx 4:48 pm (with last light at 5:16 pm), we reached Matt & Eric's camp at 6:40 pm, were able to get through to rangers by 7:45 pm, were rescued at 8:30 pm, and made it back up to the top front country camping area by about 10:30 pm.

The ranger said that it's a 12 hour hike, and the State Park website even posits 14.5 hours, although it also lists the trail as being 14.5 miles.

All this is just to give a cautionary view, so that no one else comes here to find info, and gets in a predicament like we did. It's a beautiful, must-see area — just be wise. This is a point to point trail — once you start, there are no quick exits — you must go all the way to one end or the other.

Monday, November 20, 2017

There are some very impressive reviews of hikers doing this section in under 6 hours. If you want to get someplace fast, drive.

This section of the trail has a duration recommendation of 14.5 hours. (https://mostateparks.com/trails/taum-sauk-mountain-state-park)

I️ think a healthy hiker that stops to enjoy lunch and take in a few views would be closer to 10 hours. If you are not conditioned to rugged hiking, you may use every bit of 14 hours.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

We started at the end of the Trace Section where the OT crosses Hwy 21 and hiked the beginning of the Taum Sauk section to the Goggins Mountain Spur Trail (approx 16 miles) and then exited the trail via Goggiins Mtn loop. Major creeks had plenty of water as well as the spring near Padfield Branch Creek. (Located behind an old shed.) There were established campsites near most water sources and at most overlooks. Only saw about 6 other people on the trail. The trail was well-marked and maintained except for downed trees just south of the intersection with Bell Mountain Wilderness loop. Great Hike!

By the way...the route shown with this thread is NOT the Taum Sauk section of the OT.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Just finished the full trail - actually is about 13.5 miles total. This is a nice trail, but rough! No rain in the area has dried up most of the water sources, especially if you start at Johnson Shut Ins - no water for approx 10 miles, pack smart! Otherwise a wonderful and unforgettable trail!

Friday, September 01, 2017

Not an easygoing trail. More tics than I have ever seen.

Monday, August 07, 2017

We did part of this trail last Fall. it was beautiful. It took a couple hours to do it. I would love to hike the entire thing sometime.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Trail was in great shape and well marked. Took us about 5 hours and 45 mins to complete it.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

A magnificent trail with vistas unimaginable. Tough, watch your step, but worth every bit of effort given. Didn't go all the way to the shut ins, but was a magical weekend. They had a hike race going on, so we got passed by several folks in a hurry, but i would never rush this trail, there's a lot of detail

peace ✌

Monday, June 19, 2017

extremely beautiful. extremely difficult. no water for the first 9 or so miles. pack smart.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I hiked from Johnson's Shut Ins to Taum Sauk Park and back. Ticks and chiggers were the only wildlife I encountered. Trail starts with a good 2 mile climb up the side of the scour and Proffitt Mt. when you hit the power lines you are about half way. This section near the power lines has a lot of direct sun exposure while you make your way over a long section of glades. Avoid this section in the afternoon heat. After the glades you make your way down for a while and start to follow along a dry creek bed. Water at Taum Sauk Creek at about 11 miles. I needed about 3.5 liters (85-90F) of water. This is where you start your climb up Taum Sauk. There wasn't any water at Mina Sauk Falls while I was there. I made better time and needed less water on the way back the next day. Good places to camp on the trail: top of Proffitt Mt. 2.5-3mi., bottom of Proffitt Mt 5mi, After the Glades 9mi, Taum Sauk Creek 11mi.
Water: Scour 2mi, Taum Sauk Creek 11mi, Mina Sauk Falls 12.5mi
Trail is rocky for the majority of the trail. Real Ankle twister.
Pace: slower than my typical pace. Most of the trail I maintained 2mph. A few sections I slowed down due to the rocky footing.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Participated in the first ever hiking race in Missouri yesterday. We started at Taum Sauk and ended at Johnson Shut-ins. We went by Mina Sauk Falls (which weren't running today, but I've been there when they are and they are beautiful), Devil's Tollgate, and to one of the prettiest views I've seen!! Since it was a race we pushed the pace quite a bit, which I paid for later. We hiked it in 5 hours and 45 minutes. The only reason I'm giving this a 4 is because the trail is soooo rocky. It makes it very difficult to find your footing. I had to spend most of my time looking down. I will definitely do this trail again.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The waterfalls were amazing! Very happy we went while the water was there. Maybe I'm just a baby but I hated how rocky the trails were. I just hated not being able to see the scenery because I had to watch the ground the whole time so I didn't break my ankles.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Amazing views! More rocks than we expected. Trail challenging but doable. A good 2 Day hike.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

absolutely breathtaking. watch the weather forecast on this one though because some of the creek crossings and the mina sauk falls crossing were a bit of a pain after two days of rain. a good number of blazes are down so keep your map and compass handy

beautiful and brutal. love this hike. point to point talm saulk to jsi.Has water.. great views.. watch your step due the loose rocks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Really amazing trail with a lot of variety in the landscapes! Easily one of my favorite hikes I've done

Monday, October 17, 2016

Hiked Taum Sauk to Shut-ins. Beautiful Hike. Very rocky typical ozark. If can catch it after a rain the falls are awesome but was bone dry this time. The view about 8 miles in was without a doubt the best so far in Missouri. took us about 8 hours to do the hike.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Rocky trail with some great views and streams. Very nice hike overall, definitely will be back after the leaves start changing and fall.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Very pretty hike. Lots of different scenery along the way.

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