Explore the most popular birding 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.

This trail is amazing! my husband and I hiked it May 24th, 2018 in the morning. We saw and heard lots of birds and butterflies we're abundant and we're loving the wildflowers in the glades. The views are breathtaking and visibility was great, and I'll definitely be back in autumn to see the leaves.

We also saw lots of Collared Lizards, including a male in his bright breeding colors. Mina Sauk falls were beautiful!

As for the terrain, I didn't have any problems. As long as proper shoes are worn and care is taken in the more rocky areas, it's a very doable hike.

Knocked these two out today along with the equestrian trail. Saw a lot of wildlife on the trails with deer, lizards, chipmunks, turtles, and a skunk that wouldn’t let me pass for some time. Take away the skunk and the three dozen or so webs I ran in to and the hikes were a great way to start my summer vacation from teaching.

mountain biking
9 hours ago

Fun trail good for beginners like me

I absolutely love this trail, it's the best one in the whole Independence area. I've grown up biking and hiking this trail my whole life. You can plan a section or you can make a whole day of it and go the distance. If you park at either end of the trail and complete the round trip it's around 30 miles so hydrate and bring snacks. Take you time and enjoy!

trail running
1 day ago

I love this trail! Note that the water in the bathrooms at the back of the trail is NOT for drinking. Watch out for horse dookie. There’s a great variety of terrain and views and it’s a very fun trail to run.

hiking
1 day ago

Honestly just not too impressive. I’m sure we missed the wildflower season, and with the trail slightly overgrown all we saw were ticks... Will do the other trails instead of this one next time.

A very easy all paved trail from the Table Rock lake dam to the state park marina. 4.4 miles round trip. It has several access points to the lake and lots of places to stop and rest or reflect along the way. Hikers of all levels will enjoy this easy route.

1 day ago

The red and yellow trail was not as hard as I thought it would be. It does have it's hard spots but for the most part it's flat. It was a nice 6 mile hike.

Will definitely do this hike again. The trail is paved until you reach the Cats Paw, which is the lookout, then gravel trails split off each side. We walked around the lookout and down the rock to the St. Francois River rapids. Really cool area. We hung out on the rocks for about an hour.

Mina Sauk was a good challenging hike for me. I will advise that you should have on some decent shoes for walking on a rugged terrain; this trail had a lot of rocks on it to hop over. You will see a mini alternate path to bypass the rocks in some spots. There's also a lot of mud and some puddles after it rains, too. For those who may question taking a walking stick on this trail, I would advise doing it, even if you're just entertaining the thought. I didn't need one, but this is a trail where you may want to err on the side of caution and just do it.

The first part of the trail didn't appear to be marked very well, especially when you kind of got used to the rocks being your path. Download an offline map from Alltrails (yes, you'll have to pay for a subscription, but it's worth it to me). the only time the offline map didn't work is when it started pouring down rain on me halfway through my hike, lol (I was more worried about my phone getting too wet at that point, lol). At that point, the Ozark Trail shared the path with the Mina Sauk Trail, and you could follow those markers, in addition to the Mina Sauk markers, all the way to the parking lot. You also have access to the Highest Point form the trail as well.

As for the Mina Sauk Falls, you do have to shimmy your way down the hill to see it better; make like you're taking the Ozark Trail to get there. It was nice to lay back on a rock, look up, and listen to all the sounds.

There weren't many people there that day, and it was a Saturday. For me, that made for a more peaceful hike.

Overall, it was a moderate level hike, but more on the "hard" side of moderate, in my opinion. It just had to do with the terrain and the incline going back up. I still thought the views were worth the adventure! I'd go back!

hiking
3 days ago

Eight miles from my house and it’s like you’re in another world. The walking paths are paved and very well maintained. Moderately trafficked and there are also trails off the main that really get you into the thick of things.

3 days ago

Great network of trails!! The trails here are well maintained and blazed/marked properly in the most crucial areas, such as creek crossings and trail intersections. The forest service seems to do a great job taking care of this area. There are plenty of campsites out on the trails. We saw very, very little trash while hiking - just a couple of protein bar wrappers. (We are very big on pack-in pack-out.) There is a good mix of forest trails under canopy and open area trails. We stayed at the Pilot trailhead the first night, which has numerous campsites, as well as a community outhouse. We intended on overnighting on the trail, but ended up in a tick-infested spot and couldn't find a suitable campsite along the Tower trail, so decided to just head back to the trailhead.

We hiked the Long Creek trail west to the falls, then doubled back to the Upper Pilot trail, which is mostly open area (lots of sun exposure and no water). We then turned east on the Tower trail, where we tried to set up camp but got run off by the ticks. There was also no water on Tower trail headed east from Upper Pilot. The creek that's on the map was bone dry. Most of the water seemed to be in the southern trails.

We can't wait to get back and explore the other trails!! We fell in love with this area.

backpacking
3 days ago

Set out to do a 2 night backpacking trip. Hiked 5 miles UP the mountain, set up camp, played around a bit, then prepared to take cover from the storm that, according to the weather man, wasn't supposed to happen. Rode that storm out in the tent (it was only 3pm) and, after checking the weather and surveying the storm headed toward us (twice as big as the first), we decided it was best not to stick around. We hiked 5 miles back down the mountain, literally walking through a creek the whole way and crossing several water falls because there was so much water from the first rain. We made it back out about 30 minutes before the next storm hit. There were at least 2 or 3 more rounds that night. Trail was difficult, rocky and wet. Probably be a great trail in the Fall. Spring rain and Missouri humidity make it difficult this time of year. All in all, a good workout.

I loved this trail! We became trail runners tonight, and other than the mud created from yesterday’s rain, it was terrific! We will do this trail again!

The trail itself was beautiful and very remote. Didn't see another person the entire hike. The markers near the end were misleading and the trail was a little overgrown in parts, but so long as you have gps you'll be fine. HOWEVER, if you do this hike wear long pants and bring bug spray and definitely check for ticks afterwards. If you bring a dog, make sure they have tick protection. Throughout the hike I had to pick numerous ticks off me and thank god my dog had a Seresto collar.

Trail entrance is close to 435 and close to a shooting range. The noise from both is a bit distracting at first but as you continue on the trail you can barely hear either. Trail is in decent shape and provides some challenging hills. Differently would consider this a moderate trail for hiking. Not sure I will hike this again. Nothing spectacular about this trail.

This was a pleasant hike with some unexpected views. The elevation varied greatly but the hike was not strenuous. There were a lot of fallen trees and the path was grown over in parts. Trail markings were also not obvious.

well maintained walking path. asphalt.

This is a lovely trail! Some areas are paved, some not so smoothly though. There are some quite steep inclines, some rather rocky uneven bits, and a rather large flight of steps. I would rate it closer to moderate and would skip it if you have mobility issues. I took trekking poles and was glad. Some path revisions have been made and the trail was a bit over 2.5 miles, although perhaps just temporarily. It was a beautiful spring day after the rain and the woods were lush and green with lots of humidity! Gorgeous scenery, lots of chirpy birdies, and a good breeze at the top of the ridge.

This riverside trail is very busy so it’s best walked early in the morning or after a rain. The first third is paved and my son enjoyed the animal track impressions in the pavement with signs that identified the animal making the tracks. The highlights include several Three-Toed Box Turtles crossing the trail and a possible Great Horned Owl that we spooked from its perch.

Great trail, marked well for novice.
Good variation in terrain, several areas with natural wildflowers. Could vary depending on time of year. Took trail in May and areas that had undergrowth burned and new growth coming up were cool. Several runoff crossings, so pay attention to weather.

Love this place.

What a gem of a trail! The nature center is a must stop before heading out on the trail and has several interesting exhibits on the Missouri outdoors. The trail is a stop on the Great Missouri Birding Trail and didn’t disappoint as the trail passes through several habitats each abundant with different bird species. The highlight of the several bird species spotted was a Mississippi Kite. The trail is well maintained and marked. A beautiful Broadhead Skink with a bright orange-reddish head sat next to the trail and allowed us to view him for several minutes. I will definitely do this trail again.

This trail is paved except for about the last 100 yards before reaching Lake Springfield. It would be a nice trail for the elderly or disabled. The first half of the trail runs along the James River and is inside the Missouri Veterans Cemetery. The last half of the trail runs along the edge of mostly open fields. A train track with a bridge divides the two halves. When we were there part of the trail toward the lake end was under ankle deep water but that just added to the fun.

This is a well marked trail that is about 1/4 paved. It travels through a wooded area before running by the lake. The part of the trail by the lake is paved. There are some very nice views of the lake and the power plant across the lake along the paved part of the trail. Parts of the trail were under water due to recent rains. As expected by being in the city, it was a busy trail.

This trail is really well maintained and has access points to fun spots to play in a river. My 3 and 5 year olds enjoyed it and could handle the short distance just fine.

This was a nice trail. I enjoyed it very much. As you get into the higher levels, just know that sometimes there are teenagers sitting on the bluffs and “might” be smoking pot. All in all it was perfect for an afternoon walk.

great trail, well marked and beautiful scenery! this has been my favorite trail in the area!

backpacking
7 days ago

Amazing! We had a blast on a spring hike.

backpacking
8 days ago

I hiked in from the Highway A trailhead. I didn’t get started until about 1pm, and with temperatures in the low 90s I took a lot of breaks (41M) and reached the summit in about three hours going counter-clockwise. I set up camp with a beautiful view. There are lots of campsites with fire rings set up. I was low on water and had to decide if I was going to attempt to head down the mountain to reach Johnson Shut-in Creek or continue hiking around the loop counter-clockwise to reach Joe’s Creek. I decided to head for Joe’s Creek, which was about 2.5 hours round trip.

A storm was moving in, and I cooked dinner and watched the lightning show for a while before retiring to my tent. A loud, spectacular thunderstorm began around 9:30pm and went on non-stop until around midnight. After it ended , I emerged and enjoyed the post-storm darkness for a while before finally falling asleep. I hiked back down the same way in the morning. I saw a few wild turkeys and lots of lizards and turtles. The ticks were thick.

I only saw one other hiker, but I heard a couple of guys at a campsite about 100 yards from me, I assume they’re the ones that posted about heading down the mountain during the storm.

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