Explore the most popular forest 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.

hiking
7 hours 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.

7 hours 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
16 hours 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.

hiking
16 hours ago

Nice trial/walk in the woods. Trail is clearly visible and marked. Your typical poison ivy, mosquitos and ticks, but that's Spring. This Missouri humidity is a killer though. Several creek crossings, but none were difficult. We didn't get wet and there's been lots of rain lately. Only saw 2 other people and it was around noon on a Sunday. Would love to do again in the Fall.

walking
18 hours ago

The area is pretty, with a smooth, wide, paved path. If you are wanting a place to be able to enjoy a nice walk or jog, this is a great option!!

hiking
18 hours ago

I absolutely loved this trail! We just hiked the full trail over the weekend and I'm glad we went when we did. The spring wildflowers were in full bloom all along the path. Although my favorite part was at the bottom of the 1000 Steps junction where all the violets and bluebells covered the ground. This is one I will definitely hike again.

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.

My friend and I walked this trail today (5-19-18) it was amazing, a lot of beautiful landscapes and the river was nice and cold. We toke the yellow and silver trail it definitely kicked our butt, we realized that maybe we need to get in better shape, lots of steep hills and lose rocks. It’s all worth it when you get to the very top and get to see the “mountain” also had to cross the river a couple of times, which we toke or shoes off and it was super slippery nd fell on our butts lol I loveeddd this trail! We made lots of memories and it was an amazing adventure!!!

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 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.

I loved this hike encountering different areas and terrain. Even made the little climb after the creek crossing with two dogs on leash. Very peaceful.

One of my favorite Rockbridge hikes.

backpacking
4 days ago

Amazing! We had a blast on a spring hike.

Great little trail, lots to see and explore. I saw a lot of different wildflowers that I don’t see other places & ran across a lot of wildlife too. Plenty of benches for those needing frequent rests. Not heavily used as far as I could tell but well marked and maintained!

backpacking
5 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.

I have hiked this trail my entire life and it only gets more beautiful! It’s quite the workout too! If you aren’t used to it, you will be sore the next day!

2nd time @ Bellé Muerto. Drove to Ottery Creek Campground at 2am and had the Camp to ourselves. Woke up around 10am and Hiked to the Summit (2.5 Hours, 6-/+ miles with small detours. Set up camp at the summit and walked down to Shut In Creek. The hike down to creek is short (1/2 mile) but intense, especially during the summer with so much foliage. Swam in the creek and then headed back up out summit camp around 6pm. We started making food and watched a storm in the distance which appeared to make its way around us. By sunset the storm had moved close, and by dark we were immersed in a pretty intense thunderstorm. After watching several strikes of lightning hit nearby Lindsay Mountain & Shut In Creek we decided to get off the mountain. Panicking in the dark with very heavy rain we got lost and ran around for about 20 minutes before finding the actual trail. Then with all of our gear we ran through intense thunder & lightning the 6-/+ miles back to car in a little over 1 hour.

One of the scariest nights of my life. Pure terror. Very humbling. Always check the weather before camping on summits and if a storm brews unexpectedly don’t wait to see if it will miss you or not. The radar told us that the storm was not going to hit us.

Bell Mountain is one of the tallest summits in the surrounding area & one of the rockiest summits in Missouri. That can either be really cool or dangerous as well.

BEAUTIFUL hike, BEAUTIFUL summit. 5/5 as always

20 mile day. the night of reckoning. the night we all almost died.

im not the best at expressing how I feel,
but if last night taught me anything, it's that I do not want to be left on a bad foot with anyone.

5/14/2018 the trip that almost didn't allow me to come back

a constant reminder at how easy it is to take things for granted. even what u love.

life or death sitatuion how do you react, how do you keep your thoughts together?


from this day on, everyday is looked at like a life or death situation
when I lay down and go to sleep, I die, my mind leaves, and portals back.
wake up and restarts,
intake, release, reflect, increase, decrease.
every sunset is a day, I'm never going to get back.
every night is my lightning storm.
5/14 thank you so much for sparing me,
and letting me intake the most valuable lesson
how precious LIFE is

I enjoyed the entire experience as it is hard not to when out in the beauty of the world. More water would be valuable if you are looking to spend some time on the summit. An epic hike, I will be back xo

This is a good trail, not too long for an afternoon hike. A bit rocky in places, but well maintained and well marked. Definitely worth the drive to St. Francois State Park.

scenic driving
7 days ago

This scenic drive has a couple of scenic overlooks toward the beginning of the drive that would be great for picture taking during the fall. That said, probably the most interesting part of the drive was the very end where a steep hill leads to a place called Twin Bridges, which, coincidentally enough, is located between two bridges. Seeing the bridge over the North Fork River was worth the drive.

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