Places to Go

An Afternoon Hike at Compton Hollow Conservation Center

I have a confession. We stopped hiking in 2013, it wasn’t deliberate. First we missed our ‘annual’ Spring Break backpacking trip, then we both got tied up with work. I abandoned my semi-retired state, and getting out just faded away. No backpacking, almost no hiking, kayaking or fishing. It all stopped. We made an attempt […]

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Glade Top Trail – Mark Twain National Forest – Taney County & Ozark County Missouri

The Glade Top Trail is not a recognised hiking or backpacking route. It is a spectacular drive of over 23 miles on unpaved roads within 60 miles of Springfield and Branson. It’s especially worth visiting in the fall.

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Hercules Glades Wilderness – Pees Hollow Trail Day Hike

We’ve not been getting out enough of late so we grabbed a chance on Saturday to see some fall color and hike the Pees Hollow Trail at Hercules Glades Wilderness.

The Pees Hollow Trail runs north from the Hercules Tower Trailhead off of Highway 125.

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Trail Map: Piney Creek Wilderness

Piney Creek Wilderness is one of our favorites.

Located in Barry County Missouri, the Pineview (Tower) Trailhead is 5.5 miles west of Cape Fair on Highway 76 off Farm road 2150, and around 4.5 miles on Highway 76 from Highway 39. See Getting To Piney Creek.

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Trail Map: Bell Mountain Trail

Bell Mountain Wilderness is in Iron County Missouri, around 30 miles south of Potosi. Bell mountain is an 11 or so mile loop depending on the trail head you start from. Bell Mountain is 1702 ft. and offers superb views to the east and of the 600 ft. drop into the very steep valley of Shut-in Creek.

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Trail Map: Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area

Trail map of Busiek State Forest, Missouri

We’ve got a trail map you can view online, and there’s an even better one complete with a full USGS topographic map of the area to download for Google Earth, or your GPS if it accepts KMZ files. We’ve also included Google Street view links to get you to the trailhead.

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Berry Bend Campground – Harry S Truman Lake, Missouri

Mist and low clouds wafting over Truman Lake in the morning while the sun breaks through, lighting the shore. A motorboat speeds by.

Berry Bend Campground. sits on a promontory reached via short causeway on the Osage River Arm of Harry S Truman Lake, 29 Miles from Clinton Missouri, 18 miles from the junction with Highway 13 and 11 miles from Warsaw Missouri.

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Trail Map: Sac River Trail, Springfield Missouri

A map of the Sac River Trail, Springfield Missouri

The Sac River Trail is 3 miles North of the I44 at Springfield on Highway 13. It’s primarily a biking trail, but it’s our ‘go to’ place for a quick hike. You just need to keep an ear out for fast approaching bikes and step out of the way.

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Big Bay Recreation Area, Shell Knob, Missouri

A van and two tents at a family campsite at Big Bay Recreation Area on Table Rock Lake.

On the shore of Table Rock Lake, near the town of Shell Knob, Missouri, lies the Big Bay Recreation Area. Unique on Table Rock, it’s the only campground owned by Mark Twain National Forest. It’s a primitive campground, meaning there is no electricity, no drinking water or showers, though there are flush toilets. But most of the 35 campsites are along the shore of the lake which can be accessed by a short path. Screening between the campsites is quite good, so it’s a great place to have your own little private summer lake holiday.

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Places to go: Piney Creek Wilderness

Right off the bat, the most unusual thing about this Wilderness area is that its boundaries circumscribe the entire drainage of Piney Creek. So you always start on a ridge and go down into the valley of the same creek system. There isn’t a lot of up and down all day hiking. Once you’re down in the valley it’s flat. Piney Creek opens into Table Rock Lake on the east, allowing access to and from the lake…

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Ozarks Hikes: Sac River Trail

Girl sitting in the middle of the Sac River Trail in the fall, surrounded by trees.

There’s a little-known trail just north of Springfield, within the city limits, that will give you miles of moderately rugged hiking and exposure to streams, woods, and open fields. The Springfield-Greene County Park Board owns the 300 acres that contain well over 8 miles of natural surface single track. The trail is rocky in places, muddy in places, and winds back and forth an amazing amount. There are no steep climbs but the trail goes up and down enough, and has many small seasonal stream crossings and plenty rugged rocks to give you a decent hiking workout.

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Places to go Paddling

Teen girl paddling her kayak on Stockton Lake while her father watches from his kayak.

In the Ozarks we have many, many streams that are excellent for floating with either a canoe or kayak. An excellent reference for finding floatable streams in Missouri is the Paddler’s Guide to Missouri, produced by the Missouri Dept of Conservation. It is now out of print but I’ve been told they’re producing an updated […]

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Places to go hiking

There are thousands of places where you can hike on public land in the Ozarks, we’re busy cataloging them to make a usable directory with lots of information. Keep coming back and check this section as we’ll add to it as we visit and map more places.

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Places to go Backpacking

A photgraph of the view from Coy Bald looking over toward Lower Pilot Knob in the distance

Welcome to our comprehensive list of places to go backpacking in the Ozarks. Use the table below to see the various places you can go backpacking. We’ve had to search a bit to compile a list of places where backpacking is allowed in the Ozarks. We’ve managed to bring together the sites of all the […]

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