Explore the most popular wildlife 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.

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
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!

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.

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.

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.

backpacking
4 days ago

Amazing! We had a blast on a spring hike.

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.

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

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

hiking
7 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.

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
7 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
7 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
7 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.

Great hike with nicely kept trails! Lots of interesting foliage to see!

Well-established trail, novice trail user appropriate. Water, shade, free parking all available at the trailhead. Perfect for a break from the urban/suburban environment without a looking drive.

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
8 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!

Great place for trail running!

hiking
8 days ago

This trail was a nice hike with our teenagers. great views once you reach the top of the bluff. well marked and fun to hike!!

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