Explore the most popular mountain biking 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.

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
10 hours 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.

Excellent! Especially on cool mornings in the springtime and

well maintained walking path. asphalt.

Kinda boring but overall not bad

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.

Great views and so peaceful.

backpacking
6 days ago

Amazing! We had a blast on a spring hike.

TICKS galore!! mud, horse crap, every step attacked by spider webs, got lost, definitely not kid friendly. Probably won’t try this one again

backpacking
9 days ago

If you're a fan of flora then you'll love the picturesque fields of stinging nettles with a hint of briar patch and poison ivy. Are you entomologist or are fascinated by creepy crawlers? If you answered yes, then this hike is definitely for you. The ever reclusive tick will more than tickle your fancy here. The trick is to use copious amounts of deet 40. Deet, for ticks at Noblett, is like putting a good vinaigrette on a house salad.These little guys just can't seem to get enough. Bushwacker? This trail has you covered, literally. The wife and I especially loved all the deadfall across the trail. I mean who doesn't love walking under several fallen trees held up by a single branch. I know I did.

The riverside portion of the loop traces the east bank of the Missouri RIver across from downtown St. Charles to the Ameristar Casino. It's paved except for a short stretch around a washout. Lots of bikes and joggers use this trail.

backpacking
9 days ago

Did the entire 17 miles over a 2 day trip. Stayed the night on the scenic overlook near the campground. Their are some nice views at the scenic overlook and on the south loop, however the trail was very overgrown with little markings. The trail itself is very rocky and deteriorated at some points and brush had grown up and completely covered the trail for over a mile in some sections. Even with adequate preparation it was sometimes hard to know where the trail was. Watch for creek crossings and game trails as it is easy to lose the trail around these. Overall, the trail would be very nice with some maintenance and waypoints. I would not go again in its current condition.

hiking
9 days ago

Trail is not well maintained. We came across a lot of bugs in the grass because it was not cut down. The trail is also not well marked. We were not sure at first if we found the correct starting location or not.

hiking
10 days ago

Well kept trail. Easy to follow the red markers. Sign clearly states it is over 4 miles at the trailhead. Has a great scenic overlook in the first mile going clockwise. My toddler loved getting to run along the path. Great and easy trail.

Great hike again. Trails are marked and well defined. Lovely wooded setting. Lots of Honeysuckle. The smells were amazing. Saw lots of poisen ivy too. Will definitely be back.

backpacking
10 days ago

This is a spectacular trail. It has great views, tall pine trees, waterfalls, creeks and a river (if you go further east off the main trail when the trail cuts back west at its most eastern point). I debated on whether to take the South loop first or the North loop first and chose the South loop, which I’m glad I did.

The South loop has some nice views early on and several water sources. The trail is fairly easy to follow until you get to the river crossings before the Paddy Creek Recreation area where there are other trails in the area that you may be tempted to follow (we were). A map, compass and/or GPS go a long way in avoiding backtracking here.

When heading back on the North loop there is a great camping spot with a beautiful view of the valley (it is marked as waypoint 10 on the map referred to in the review before this one, which was a great review that helped us navigate this trail). An Eastern Whip-poor-will perched in the tree over our tents and sang part of the evening and again at dawn. Ovenbirds were everywhere calling “teacher, teacher, teacher.”

The hike back to the trailhead on the North loop can be very rocky and “rooty”. It is an easy place to twist an ankle or lose your balance. The trail climbs and descends several times before arriving back at the trailhead so make sure to stock up on water, especially in the hotter months when some of the water sources on the North loop may be dry.

The tallest pine trees on the trail were on the last quarter of the North loop heading back to the trailhead. The waterfall was a nice place to take a break, although it was a little hard to see because of the foliage. All in all, a great trail that was a lot of fun!

hiking
10 days ago

Great trail tight in spots. Fishing access and great shade. Took the wife and boys 7,3. They loved it couple good views.

trail running
10 days ago

Great place for trail running!

hiking
11 days ago

Could not find the trailhead - looked very hard. Walked on the road instead.

great trail. Well maintained. could use better signs for trail crossings.

15 days ago

fun ride!

backpacking
15 days ago

I am not why this trail isn’t ranked higher, it is an absolute beauty of a hike. Located in the Mark Twain National Forest, this trail has a little of everything for just about any backpacker or ambitious day hiker.

To get there, find your way to Roby, MO. If you are coming from the East, South or West, go through Roby and head North on HWY 17. Watch for a National Forest sign that reads “Paddy Lake Trailhead.” If you are coming up from Roby, MO, that is traveling North on HWY 17, the sign will be on your right - if you are coming from the North and heading South on HWY 17, that is traveling towards Roby, watch for the sign on your left before you get to Roby, MO.

Go down the Paddy Creek Trailhead road (on the map it is Forestry Tr 274A) to Roby lake and the circular drive trailhead parking.

Once you are parked and ready, to get to the actual “trail” trailhead, walk back up the same dirt road that you just drove down and look for a red metal gate on the right - here your hike begins.

Once you enter the gate, you will traverse an open field, move through a small stand of trees and cross a dirt road to register at the trailhead box. Continue North on the trail, and shortly you will arrive at the junction of the North and South loop. IMHO, taking the South loop first is the better hike, so turn right at the junction.

This trail is poorly blazed, with minimum signage as well. However, with a map (here is an excellent one - http://www.ouachitamaps.com/picture_library/Paddy%20Creek/Paddy%20Creek%20Map.jpg) and a compass, you should not have a problem.

Note however, that if you are taking the south loop, that is going CC, the trail forks at around 4.0 miles, waypoint “006” on the map (see link above). When you get to this point, there is a sign for the left fork that reads “North Loop” and one for the right fork that reads “Paddy Creek Campground.” If you want to hike the whole loop, go right (“Paddy Creek Campground”). You you want to hike only ½ of the loop, go left (“North Loop”). The trail on the left is a connecting trial, part of an old military road, and descends to Little Paddy Creek. Right where the trail crosses the river, blazed with white diamonds (standard markings for a connecting trail), there is just enough space here and there to make camp, complete with a fire ring on the north side of the creek.

If you are hiking the whole loop, go right at this fork (following the sign “Paddy Creek Campground”), and continue along top of a beautiful ridgeline for about 2 miles (waypoint “007” on the map). The trail then plunges down to the junction of Little and Big Paddy Creek, then up sharply to cross Forest Road 220. Turn right on this road for the Paddy Creek Campground. This is a developed campground with room for some 23 tents, some of them coming in by Paddy Creek Road (https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mtnf/recarea/?recid=21782). While I tend to stay away from the developed stuff while I am backpacking, this is a nice (free!), well kept campground.

Chill at the campground for the night, even taking a dig in the clear, cool Big Piney River.

To finish the hike, get back on the trail and head north and downhill to Big Paddy Creek. Traverse along the southern edge of a bluff, before climbing it to a wonderful view of Big Piney River (“010” on the map).

Enjoy the next two miles of the trail is it moves around a gentle ridge, and even begins to descend back down towards Little Paddy Creek over the next two mile. At point “012” on the map the trail is joined by the connecting trail that comes up from Little Paddy Creek. At point “013” it splits - go left to stay on the trail (the right path is actually the dirt road/connecting trail that came up from Little Paddy Creek).

After point “013” the trails begins a series of “up/down” traverses, four (4) in all. Some of these will have water, and the last one, point “014” on the map, has a beautiful little waterfall and pool, perfect to rest up for the final push. When you cross this creek, the trail will turn down stream (going right) and shortly thereafter split, going either roughly straight or hard to the left and up hill. Take the hard left, and go up hill. Look for the small (add to it please!) cairn on the left at this trail junction.

From that point forward, it is an easy walk back to the trailhead box, across the dirt road and back to the red gate.

Remember to pack it in, pack it out, and enjoy this little hidden gem of a hike!

Jeff G

Beautiful trail

Not my first choice for hiking. Most of the traffic on this single lane trail is mountain bikes so you are constantly stepping off of the trail to let bikes zoom by you without warning. Trail has a section of a 1000 switchbacks that will annoy a hiker because there isn't much elevation change. Great fun when you are on a bike but when you are on foot not so much.

hiking
16 days ago

Took my 7 and 5 year old on this trail and had no issues, they both were able to navigate well enough. While the map of the red trail shows a loop that enters and exits at two different spots at the park entrance, there is also an extended portion of the red trail that goes further into the park. The various branches of the red trail are not well marked, so we found ourselves doing the extended portion and we weren’t aware of it. I suggest using gps to identify where to go to stay on the shorter/easier route. Fun trail, well maintained, easy to identify. We will definitely be back.

backpacking
17 days ago

I really enjoy this trail. It is a bit rugged in some areas --as this is also a horse trail.

The trail isn't really blazed very well, a map and compass wouldn't hurt to carry.

I am ready to go back again.

Here is a short video from my last trip:

https://youtu.be/DPZEVwNZlvo

walking
17 days ago

Very nice trail, although heavily populated in areas. Be aware if you take this trail, there are multiple runners, walkers, and bikers that use this along with families.

Beautiful hike with a natural bridge at the end that has bats. Tall sycamores along the way with a couple of creek crossings. Well worth it.

hiking
17 days ago

Beautiful hike, though would recommend having the trail downloaded as it is not well marked. We made a wrong turn and ended up on the wrong trail. Beautiful place to get lost though! Lots of wild life and overall a great hike.

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