Ozark Trail: Taum Sauk Section

HARD 43 reviews

Ozark Trail: Taum Sauk Section is a 12.3 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Bixby, 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.

DISTANCE
12.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1299 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

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.

hiking
10 days ago

hiking
17 days ago

hiking
20 days ago

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.

backpacking
22 days ago

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.

backpacking
1 month ago

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.

hiking
2 months ago

3 months ago

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!

hiking
3 months ago

3 months ago

backpacking
3 months ago

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

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

4 months ago

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.

hiking
4 months ago

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

hiking
4 months ago

backpacking
4 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

5 months ago

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 ✌

backpacking
5 months ago

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

5 months ago

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.