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Russell Mountain to Taum Sauk is a 9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Arcadia, Missouri that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 9.0 mi Elevation gain 1,345 ft Route type Loop
Dogs on leash Hiking Nature trips Walking Bird watching Forest Views Wild flowers Wildlife Rocky
Description
Waypoints (1)

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (67)
Photos (748)
Recordings (57)
Completed (99)
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Joe Abellard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 14, 2020
HikingGreat!Over grownRocky

I liked the trail. There was some overgrowth in a few spots for the first mile do be a rocky uphill battle on the way back so prepare for it. I took the entire trail plus loop (10 miles) and knocked it out in about 5 hours with a couple stops. It's definitely a difficult trail and not for beginners.

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George Hruza
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Hiking
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Alexander Haber
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Hiking

nice trail, varying terrain, good sturdy shoes necessary

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Andy Mack
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HikingGreat!Over grownRocky

Seemed a little bit harder than moderate. But it was absolutely gorgeous, some of the best day trekking in Missouri in my opinion. Definitely take others advice and head to the Taum Sauk tower. Got lost on the way back to the Russel Mountain trailhead after crossing the fire pit area, the trail blazers are spread out too far and a glade area cuts through the trail. So definitely download the trail map.

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Matthew Self
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 30, 2020
HikingBugsRocky

The terrain varies quite a bit, from flat, wide trails to rocky inclines. The Mountain views are beautiful, around the halfway point. Very few people on the trail, but a fair amount of spider webs to cut through.

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Brennan Goewert
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Hiking
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Trey Tyson
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Hiking
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Adam Woodard
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HikingRocky
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Brandon Wysowski
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Walking

A bit rocky than I anticipated. Highly recommend going up the tower if you want a full view of the area.

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Matt Rusteberg
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HikingGreat!Rocky

This trail is amazing, it's a great hike that will take about 5-6 hours with stops for breaks, lunch, and taking in the aw inspiring area. The trail is rocky with dirt. We went after a big rain and still didn't run into alot of mud at all. Take a lunch and sit on the edge of the water falls looking out over the valley towards Johnson shut-ins (west). I would say the trail is well marked except for about an hour into the hike you will come to a Y and go right. If you keep going straight you will run into a down tree and you will need to turn around. At this point you will be going down hill heading to the fire pit near the small stream. Bring a pack with a bladder, this is not a one water bottle hike. Also due your self a favor and wear the right shoes like you always should when hiking. Those would be hiking shoes, real surprise there lol. You will enjoy this hike for sure, I know we did. Oh and don't forget to climb the fire tower you won't regret it.

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Peter Bornhoff
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HikingGreat!

Nice look throughs at the surrounding mountains. We actually started from the falls trailhead went clockwise (east), then took the out and back to Russell Mountain then completed the falls loop. Most of the interest was on the Taum Sauk Falls loop. Not too buggy, but tons of swallowtail butterflies on the Russell Mountain out and back! Falls were nearly dry, found out from some locals that they only run pretty soon after rainfall, but the rocks were pretty anyway. Make sure to take a trail map if you do it this way as there is one confusing split off after the falls.

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Toni Burgess
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Hiking

Hard and lots of rocks. flys and buzzing insects followed us the whole way. The weather was decent the inclines were a little steep but good exercise. I would do this one again but in the fall/winter.

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Bridget McDougall
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 1, 2020
HikingGreat!

Well, now. THAT was a nice hike right there. Didn't hurt that STL threw a 70-something degree overcast day into the summer mix. Beautiful. I wore pants expecting a tick or two, but didn't see any. The very first stretch is a bit overgrown so your legs might get a lashing or see more ambitious ticks if you're wearing shorts. After that bit, the entire trail is wide, super-shaded, and lovely. Think more dense orchard in an English countryside that you're strolling through and less hacking your way through some gnarly, thorny maze (thank you, Audubon Trail). A sign indicating 600 yards to Taum Sauk Tower was followed and out I popped into a small, gravelly camp area where I enjoyed a quick climb up several stairs for a really nice view. Back into the woods and on the path. The gorgeous diffused light plus the lack of spider webs and heat-seeking missile bugs added to list of things I loved about this hike. It was also very quiet on the way out, people-wise. Once I reached the loop where a parking lot offers visitors a shorter hiking experience, it was a little congested, but- hey- if I go out expecting nature to belong to me and be all mine on a beautiful Saturday afternoon during a pandemic, then I have more problems than bugs and spiderwebs. I did see a lady at this juncture fall twice on a flat surface, but upon further discussion with her and her boyfriend (I stopped to offer help) the cautionary tale to pass on is this: Perhaps don't hit the weed super duper hard in the parking lot and then take a stroll on a rocky surface. Especially when you can't feel your legs. Anyway, weed-free and legs intact, I did the loop at the top that includes a truly stunning view as well as another spot to enjoy rocky falls. As in water, I should add, after that last point. Total hike up to the loop, around, and back to the Russell Mountain trailhead = 9 miles. Can't wait to return to this one as the seasons change. This may be top on my list for hikes near STL.

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Amy Easterling
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Hiking

Nice trail. A little rocky, but fine with decent shoes. Trail is narrow and a bit overgrown for the first mile, so I'd recommend long pants.

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Gabrielle H
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HikingOff trail

It was overall a great hike. We ran into very few people on the Russell Mountain section and we went early in the morning, which significantly helped with the heat. I will say if you are the first person on trail in the morning, expect to come face first with many spider-webs. Some parts of the trail are not well marked, which was worrisome, and I was lost probably three or four times. Our hike, including getting lost and detouring to the water fall and highest point, was about 10.2 miles overall.

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Andy Flinn
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HikingRocky
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Christin Roskos
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Hiking

no complaints!! great marking! definitely rocky but I loved it! didn’t record the whole thing, we did about 10 miles

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Paul V
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Hiking

There were very few people on this shaded trail, which had mostly gentle ups and downs with a few rocky patches. The trail was well marked though I did make a wrong turn once early on as the trail is poorly marked in one area. I didn’t see anyone until I got to the Taum Sauk loop (it was late afternoon on a holiday) and the falls were a good spot to rest, have a snack, and enjoy a nice view. I saw a deer, a wild turkey, and the songbirds coming back toward Russell Mountain were beautiful. A great easy-moderate hike made more challenging by the heat and some rocky and overgrown patches.

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thomas finan
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Hiking

can anyone tell me if there is a way to get from the Russel Mountain trailhead to Pilot Knob on a reasonable trail? I believe it is possible to go over Shepherd Mountain and down the southwest side, but from there to Russel Mtn looks like all roads...any help?

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John Ulrich
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Hiking

Awesome trail!

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Seth Roland
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Hiking

Pretty good trail marked well. Quite a bit of elevation chnage however up and down on hills. The loop portion was pretty with the waterfall but very busy with almost hundreds of people. The initial portion we only saw one group of hikers. Pretty fun but challenging hike and no place to refil water but the creeks.

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Hiking Honkey
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HikingMuddyRockyScramble

Great hike right here. Take the loop clockwise and enjoy the waterfalls,then toward the end of the hike you will reach the highest point in the state. Which is not anything special really, but more so the views on the way up that make this one so great. Instagram: Hiking Honkey

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