Whispering Pines Trail

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Hawn State Park

Whispering Pines Trail is a 12.4 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Farmington, Missouri that features a river 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: 12.4 miles Elevation Gain: 1,322 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

running

forest

river

views

wildlife

blowdown

rocky

Whispering Pines Loop Trail is a 9.2 mile loop trail consisting of two loops: the north loop is approximately six miles long and the south loop is approximately 3.75 miles. It meanders through a beautiful mixed hardwood and pine forest, crossing through streams and over scenic ridges. This trail is arguably the best, most scenic trail in the state. It has a little bit of everything, unusual rock formations, beautiful creeks, old forests, panoramic views, and wildlife. The trail can be strenuous at times, but the climbs are worthwhile as they afford fantastic views of the surrounding mountains. There is a connector trail that allows this trail to be cut in half to make a very nice shortened day hike. There are three backpacking campsites along the trail to accommodate an extended trip. This is one trail that should not be missed!

hiking
2 days ago

very nice hike, should be rated moderate. there is a very nice Creek.

hiking
3 days ago

Last time I was here was during the fall, and the trail looks very washed out from the last time I was here. We got lost for a bit just trying to find the right path. Once we figured it out it’s was all good. Beautiful scenery as always and the dogs had a great time playing in the water.

hiking
4 days ago

This trail is awesome!!! The beauty of pickle creek and the pine trees will make you think you are in the Pacific Northwest!!! We did an overnight backpacking trip here this last weekend!! Best trip yet in Missouri! We stayed at campsite 5 and it is gorgeous! It has a creek on both sides with waterfalls!! It is close to the trail. Campsite 3,5,6,7 would all be great sites! They have water at them. Will definitely hike this trail again!! Be sure to get there early on a weekend if you want to reserve a campsite as they book up fast!! Can’t wait to overnight it again soon!

hiking
5 days ago

Great trail, well kept, very well marked, 10 marked campsites along the way (campsite 10 not ideal for tent camping) magnificent scenery!

hiking
6 days ago

We have never done the entire Whispering Pines Trail in one hike but we have done the whole trail in parts. Using Connector 3 trail with either the east or west half of the North Loop, you can do a three mile hike. You can hike the North Loop for a 6 mile hike. You can use Connector 3 to get to the South Loop for a round trip of 8 miles. There is not a bad trail in the park.

hiking
15 days ago

Did this trail as an overnight. Pickle Creek is the star of this trail. The rock formations that form the creek and litter the trail are what set this apart from other Missouri trails I’ve seen. There are several water crossings and it’s best to prepare to get a little wet. There are some scrambles on large rocks mostly at the beginning and end of the loop. Other than those the terrain is pretty gentle. We stayed at campsite 5 and I can’t say enough about this campsite and area. Multiple running water sources so you don’t have to pack in much water. The whole area is beautiful with multiple waterfalls from a few inches to four or five feet high. Some really scenic rock formations down around the scenic loop area. Loved this overnight and hope to return soon.

hiking
rocky
17 days ago

Great trail! However if you want to hike it, get there early! I’d recommend before 10, the lots fill up fast and you’re not allowed to wait until someone leaves.

hiking
18 days ago

Accurately rated. Some areas are rocky and parts of the south loop the path gets narrow with tall grass flanking ya, so wear pants and proper footwear for the 12mi hike. Some really beautiful scenery, and the south loop had fewer people once we hit that. Took us about 10hrs to complete, but we took breaks for snacks and also took a break for lunch. Good trail to set as a goal to work towards.

hiking
21 days ago

Solid loop hike, mostly flat except climbing a couple hills. Three good view points, otherwise travels through a mix of pine and oak forest that changes throughout the hike and even follows a couple creeks. Pickle creek is clear water with a sandy bottom and tumbles down through boulders in several areas. Trail is easy to follow and marked well. Saw several lizards, a deer and plenty of birds, took about 6 hours to complete with frequent stops.

hiking
rocky
24 days ago

A wonderful trail. The actual distance is about 10 miles, don't let this fool you though, there are enough rocky sections and elevation changes to make it challenging. The scenery is beautiful with plenty of variety. There are three main stream crossings, none of them particularly deep but wide enough to make them fun. I intend coming back and doing a few overnight trips here.

hiking
muddy
over grown
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail. The description does a great job of describing the variety of views and environments you get while hiking. Trailhead signs suggest budgeting 1 hr/mile to complete the trail, but it can be done much faster. If you are a strong hiker and have the time, the full 10 mile loop should take about 5 hours. Suggestions to make the trip even more enjoyable: bring a pair of waterproof shoes to enjoy some small excursions across pickle creek, and try to visit on a windy day to really appreciate the whispering pines portion of the trail name.

backpacking
1 month ago

Went on my second overnight backpacking trip here. It's a great place for beginner backpackers like me! There are 10 campsites now so it's easy to plan your route as long or short as you want. Get out there and make it happen :) The hike is beautiful and overall not too hard, with just a few difficult inclines, muddy patches and a couple creek crossings. The trail at a large creek crossing was blown out with huge fallen trees and branches blocking the way. It made it semi-difficult to find the trail. A beautiful hike, but I did pull several ticks off my dog from it and it's only the beginning of April.

backpacking
2 months ago

Great all around hike. I backpacked it and it was beautiful and easy enough to do without any real physical preparation but was still mildly challenging with a 45 pound load. I'm newer to the packing part of the hiking and this was a good break in for an overnight. Just as scenic as Taum Sauk to Johnson Shut Inns but much better maintained and marked. That also brought many (maybe 15 total) more people we saw on the trail. I will do again, and again there were enough options to vary it that it should be a routine visit many years to come. Fyi to overnight you need to fill out permit paperwork at the camping office, it's free but mandatory as of March 1st this year.

2 months ago

I did the 4.2 mile hike mentioned in a different review. Great variations in hights and terrain. Nice views, and lots of small waterfalls and cliffs near the parking area.

hiking
2 months ago

Lives up to its reputation. Trail was dry and well-maintained. Definitely recommend NOT skipping out on the southern loop; The terrain is more varied and the "scenic loop" (southernmost part of the trail) makes for a great lunch spot.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail! could see how it could be overgrown and full of bugs in the summer, but it's perfect right now!

hiking
icy
muddy
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail. Path was marked clearly. I enjoyed the climbing challenge. The views were amazing.

3 months ago

best hike in Missouri I've done

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

Very accurate trail description. A lot of everything from the multiple biomes Missouri as a state has to offer: sand beach creeks, moss rock creeks, sand topped sandstone bluffs, pines in soft, hard, sandy soil, oak forests, quiet meadows, short grass clearings, different exposed ancient mountains, the list goes on. Really remarkable. Second defining thing Hawn has to offer aside biodiversity, very prominent and isolated peaks (knobs). We went left (east) from the trail head at parking lot on Whispering Pines Trail, and instead of connecting on to the South Loop portion, went up to White Connector Trail #3 back to parking lot. This 4.2 mile, 1100 ft elevation gain route highlights the intensity of these peaks excellently. Going that way you hit #1 an unnamed knob that's part of the great sandstone cliff face over the parking lot camping below, #2 a taller knob, Evan's Knob, and #3 the tallest knob and overlook of the South Hawn Valley. Spectacular views and effort given to reach them. Will be coming back to explore!

hiking
muddy
4 months ago

I think this is an awesome trail I would like to recommend it to anyone.This was my first hike ever and I would not consider myself physically fit but I was able to complete the N. Trail Loop in a little under four hours without any problem beautiful sites and a great workout

hiking
muddy
scramble
4 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

Awesome trail. First time on this trail; we did the North loop first, then the South loop. We hiked most of the trail and jogged a bit as well. The weather for December 26th was unseasonable warm. Trail was well marked!

hiking
blowdown
muddy
off trail
over grown
rocky
scramble
washed out
5 months ago

Great trail for experienced hikers, athletic, or energetic outdoors persons. Perfect for a little challenge! However, parts of the trail were not marked at all so followed best judgement, and the last 3 miles + were not marked well at all! Some trees were down complicating some of the trail and no markings shown very well at the end. Thankfully enough where it “ended” at (12 miles ) it said 6 mile loop ahead, I knew it had taken us out somewhere wrong and hitched a ride from a local Jeep!

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