Explore the most popular river 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.

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!

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.

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.

hiking
3 days 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.

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.

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.

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 views and so peaceful.

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.

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

hiking
10 days ago

The waterfall is pretty small right now but we enjoyed the hike and the crystal clear and cool stream.

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.

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
10 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.

Quick hike on a humid spring day. Lots of shade and greenery. A little much for my small dog but we made it through

backpacking
10 days ago

Very scenic for how short the trail is. A very nice distance if you want an easy 2 night backpacking trip or are short on time. Lots of good campsites near the summit. Busier than some other trails in the area but their was enough room for around 5 groups to make camp when we went. Make sure to bring enough water or a good filter as their are not many good water sources near the top. The trail is easy enough to follow and would definitely do it again.

backpacking
10 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
10 days ago

Great views of Shoal Creek all the way through. Much of the trail is shaded. Many people were swimming in the water.

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