Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Missouri with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

For Missouri this is some great hiking/backpacking. It is rugged, and some decent hills that will get you out of breath. You have access to go to the top of Russell Mt. and Taum Suak Mt. along the way. I went in March, so the waterfalls a mile or so past Taum Sauk were flowing. Slept at a campsite about a 1/8 of a mile away from the falls. Without the leaves on the tree you get to see some pretty cool views along the way. During the summer the views would be much more limited. Devils Tollgate is about another mile down the trail past the falls. Give your self time to hike it, the hills and the rocky trail will slow you down a bit. The Taum Suak section of the Ozark Trail is the best hiking and backpacking in Missouri.

Creek crossings up after rain. No way to get over without getting wet. Lots of multi floral rose to snag you along the way. Trail was well marked.

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.

5 days ago

This is a really enjoyable hike. The overall hike is challenging not only in length but in terrain. For perspective I am 55 but in good shape. I have recently completed a triathlon and two half marathons in the last year.

I started from the highway A trailhead on the Ozark Trail. There is an initial climb with several switchbacks as you climb the trial is very rocky. I had trekking poles which I found to be essential. You climb about 1.5 miles until you hit the bell mountain trial. The trial continues to be uphill and rocky for another.7 mile when the trial starts to go through a wooded area. At about a mile on the bell mountain trial you come to the loop. At this point you can choose to go clockwise or counter clockwise. Counter clockwise is a much longer hike about 8 miles to the best camping sites on the mountain. You will reach Joe’s creek at about 3 miles. This is the best water source by far. There are several access points over a mile or so. If you go clockwise when you reach the loop the hike to the best camping is much easier. About 4 miles with limited hills to climb. There is a small pond before the camping on the mountain and another about 1/2 mile past the camping area. I used that one. Not as clear as joes creek but fine with a good filter. The view from my camping spot was awesome. There are a lots of sites to choose. I went on a Thursday night in March. There were two campers on the entire mountain.

Couple of things to note. I saw post where people said they did the entire loop in 4.5 hours. I made pretty good time and did not take long breaks and it took me 9.5 hours total including the 1.5 miles on the Ozark trial each day. Also watch for the Orange ribbons that mark the loop. If you go clockwise there is an orange ribbon the marks the loop trial at about 5.5 mile. Follow the loop to left with orange ribbon. if you go straight will take you to north Bell trailhead.

Loved this!! I went from Rocky Falls to the mill and back. Didn’t see any horses but plenty of manure. Also elk droppings. Be sure to take a pic of the flyer before heading out. Several times around the open field areas I lost the trail. The paper gives you things to look for along the way. It was so pretty.

Favorite trail in the state. It wasn't difficult, though it had a ton to offer. Great views with elevation and beautiful creek crossings. Plenty to see through the hike.

This is my favorite spot. So peaceful. If you are quiet and pay attention on this trail you might be able to see the rocky spring wild horse herd.But I ask you to please clean up after yourself. I have seen trash at Klepzig to many times

Beautiful, quiet trail. Cool rocks, nice views from the hilltops, lovely little creeks, and towering pines.

Very beautiful hike once you get down to the creek. The trail comes and goes so we ended up just climbing on the rocks along the creek.

Nothing remarkable. If you want solitude, seldom travelled this is what you are after.

13 days ago

Great hike! A little over 10 miles, completed it in 4 hours. Had some pretty decent inclines. Lots of creek access for the dogs. Will come back in cool weather.

Good combination of rugged and smooth trails, with moderate changes in elevation. It’s true that sometimes the road is nearby, but these trails offer a little bit of wilderness without a long drive. My dog and I ran 6+ miles with only overlapping a short distance on a connector trail. Would definitely run again.

Beautiful trail! Plenty of camping opportunities. My gps clocked a little over 12 miles and about 1500 ft elevation .

23 days 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.

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!!

Beautiful area, we had the entire summit to ourselves for the night a few months back.

Excellent trail/camping area!! I recently hiked this trail, doing approximately 11/12miles. We camped on the trail overnight also. The scenery is fantastic. It had recently rained, so the creeks were flowing pretty good. We have have hiked sections of the Appalachian Trail, so comparing this trail to the AT, similar in areas but not as difficult. For an inexperienced hiker, this trail would be perfect to start on. Highly recommended and I will go back and do different routes. I’ll give it

25 days ago

Nice hike with a variety of terrian. Several camping sites along the trail. Trails are marked well enough that you shouldn't find yourself backtracking or scratching your head on which way to go. I was able to find ways to cross all the creeks (staying dry) after a couple days of good rainfall but a week of heavy rain might prove otherwise.

trail running
1 month ago

Super fun trail to run. I have two GPS watches (Garmin and Epson) going, mine and my dogs, and didn't go "off trail" but for 0.2 tenths of a mile and both watches showed 10.55 miles, so it is longer than advertised here, but the trail head shows 10 miles. I followed the recommendations from below and ran counter clockwise and feel it was a good choice as you have more "fire roads" on the west side and lest boulder fields. The hogs have done a number on the trail though on the west side, but still runable. Took a little over 3 hours at an easy pace. Trail is CLEARLY blazed and not an issue to follow as you can almost always see the next blaze once you are at the current one. Only place that was a small issue is the creek bed area at the start as the normal spring floodings over the years can make it not quite obvious where the path is, but it's not hard to find it again. Nice views on the east side but more rock fields. Good, good trail to experience, did it with my pup and had a great time.

1 month ago

We started counterclockwise on the South Loop. Not very scenic, no overlooks. Continued onto the North Loop and there were some more scenic areas there around the little creeks and some small waterfalls after it rained. Several steep, butt kicking hills but good if you are looking for a bit of a workout.

Great hike. Didn’t not do the full 7 because I left my cord to charge my phone but when I got back to my vehicle I seen a tower and walked in that direction and found a cave and bridge which led to the HA HA castle which was awesome and I would highly recommend it and I actually ended up doing 7 miles anyway lol

Finished this yesterday with a friend from work. A hair longer than 12 miles. Looking to do it again on a warm spring day.

Completed the entire loop in 4.5 hours. Was going to camp, but Mother Nature ruined that:) I saw numerous bear paw prints, feral pig tracks and deer tracks. Could have sworn i heard an elk bugle, but maybe my mind was playing tricks on me

The trails and intersections were very clearly marked. Spend a few minutes looking at the map before you leave to make sure you know exactly which route you want to take. Quite a few different options.

1 month ago

I love this trail. Super clean and not heavily trafficked. There also sections of the trail that are different than others and I really loved the variety of the trail experience. Also, if you’re not up to do the whole trail (north loop), they offer a south loop that’s just 3.75 miles.

Nice relaxing trail. Not the most scenic, but still enjoyable. My GPS read 10.75 mile with 1635 ft of elevation gain. The trail was rutted in places due to horse traffic.

Really beautiful trails and very well marked. We went with some friends today so it was a total of 4 adults, 4 kids, and a dog. We had no issues with it at all.

There were a good amount of bikers and trail runners there too.

We’ll for sure be back!

Beautiful hiking !! Nice people an great for dogs also!!!

This area is quite possibly the most beautiful stretch of Missouri I have experienced. As Cory said pleas take care of this place. Pack in/pack out, practice safe fire use and watch out for snakes in the warmer months.

Load More