There is no one quite as lost as the person who is mistakenly convinced that they know exactly where they are. There was a predicted break in the weather before this year’s polar vortex was due to descend again upon the Ozarks. The temps were going to be reasonable, and there would be sunshine. I decided to venture a bit further afield; to the Devil’s Backbone Wilderness, near Dora, Missouri, for three days solo backpacking. It almost ended in a disaster.
Three Days Solo Backpacking in Late January – The weather had turned warm, and the recent snow had disappeared, so I headed off to Hercules Glades with the intention of spending some more time contemplating Life, The Universe, and Everything.
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.
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.
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.
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.