Saint Francois State Park Campground is a 10.6 mile loop trail located near Bonne Terre, Missouri that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Overnight guests can choose from more than 100 campsites, in campgrounds with modern restrooms, hot showers, and laundry facilities. The forested ridges and cool hollows of St. Francois State Park offer visitors a retreat from everyday life. Three hiking trails, including one that allows equestrian access, wind through the forested hills and glades of the Coonville Creek Wild Area. Easy access to the Big River makes St. Francois State Park ideal for canoeing and floating and the many shaded picnic sites and two covered shelters make the park perfect for family gatherings.
I did the north loop, which was about 6 miles, starting at the Pike Run trailhead. A few steep hills and a creek crossing or two, nothing overly difficult. The trail is used by horses and has eroded in a couple of places that required some careful walking. They did a prescribed burn recently and everything was burnt but it shouldn't be a problem come spring. Beautiful glade area at the beginning of the trail.
There is a big loop (about 10 miles) starting at the trailhead. I started here but wanted to take a shorter loop so went off trail which added some elevation gain and allowed me to get secluded quickly. Being amongst the sky high trees was incredible. There are some cool mossy rocks amongst the hills too. Many of the trail markers are small and faded so it was easy to accidentally go on an off shoot once I got a couple miles into the hike. I'll be back once the trees get more leaves!
Did the south loop - was a beautiful area to explore
We just did the south loop and it was beautiful! A couple stream crossings and a few decent elevation changes. We did the loop counterclockwise but I think I'd do the reverse the next time around as I felt there were quite a few descents with loose gravel.
Most of the trail was well cleared but there were a few areas of heavier growth so I'd wear long pants or make sure to spray down with bug spray.
Did the north and south loops and checked out the backpack camp, which is a spur off the south loop. Overlooked the backpack camp and kept going down the dead end trail, following old blazes. Camp is only marked by a pack out your trash sign and two small clearings on each side of the trail, no firepits or anything.
The loop trails are showing signs of horse wear in areas, but for the most part are pleasant to hike. The western ridges are nice with the leaves off. Water was flowing in several creeks when I was there in April. Elevation gain on this trail is just as great as any of the mountain loops around the OT, it's not a walk in the park. I'd say it's moderate.
Decently blazed except for the backpack spur.
I am not sure who rated this as easy, but the north loop has a lot of inclines. I would rate it as moderate.
Beautiful hike and the perfect amount of terrain! Highly recommend it!
Short but great hike!
Great campsites. Great recreational opportunities. beautiful area.