Missouri/Illinois Hiking Trails

Index
Sort By: Alphabetical | Distance | Rating | Difficulty || Order: ↑ |
(Distance is from Nerinx Hall; Rating is from 0 (worst) to 10 (best); Difficulty based on degree of strength and endurance required.)
Audubon Trail   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 4  |  Distance: 85 miles
  • Description: The trail is heavily forested with no overlooks, and water is available in Bidwell Creek.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 55, 55 south to 67, 67 south to 32; The trail is located about 15 miles southeast of Farmington, MO. Take highway 32 east from Farmington to route OO; go right on OO (southeast) to route T; go left (east) on route T to just past the St. Genevieve County line; go left (north) on Bidwell Creek Rd (FR 2199) for about 4.5 miles to the Audubon trailhead on the right side just before the Bidwell Creek crossing.

August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area   Difficulty: easy  |  Rating: 6  |  Distance: 32 miles
  • Description: A state park with numerous hiking trails. Features: limestone geology, woods, creek crossings.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 north to 40, 40 west to highway 94, left on 94 to highway D, right on highway D to the conservation area

Babler State Park   Difficulty: easy  |  Rating: 5  |  Distance: 30 miles
  • Description: Only a few miles from St. Louis, Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park is a convenient hiking area in the rolling hills of the Missouri River system. There are a number of short trails, known for their wildflower displays in the spring.
  • Directions: Babler is located in wildwood. From Interstate 44, take highway 109 (exit 264, Eureka) north to route BA, then turn left and drive for two miles to the park entrance. From Interstate 64, exit at Long Road and travel about one mile to Wild Horse Creek Road, go right and travel about 3 miles to highway 109, go left to route BA, turn right and drive to the park entrance.

Buford Mountain Conservation Area   Difficulty: strenuous  |  Rating: 7  |  Distance: 81 miles
  • Description: Includes the 3rd highest peak in the state, Buford Mountain, at 1740 feet. Is a very rugged area of the St. Francois Mountains with impressive views of the Arcadian and Belleview valleys.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 55, highway 55 south to highway 67, drive highway 67 south to highway 32 WEST, go west (right) on 32 to highway 21, go south on highway 21 to route U and the sign for the conservation area, go left on route U to the trailhead.

Castlewood State Park   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 5  |  Distance: 17 miles
  • Description: Has biking and hiking trails near St. Louis, along the Meramec River.
  • Directions: Take 44 west to 141. Go north on 141 to Big Bend Rd. Go west on Big Bend Rd to New Ballwin Rd. Go left on New Ballwin Rd. to Forest Ridge Trail Rd. Go right on Forest Ridge Trail Rd. to the park.

Castor River Shutins   Difficulty: easy  |  Rating: 7  |  Distance: 103 miles
  • Description: Also known as Pink Rocks. Is a very unusual pink granite shut-ins on the Castor River.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 55, 55 south to 67. Take highway 67 south to highway 72. At Fredericktown take Highway 72 east to Highway J. Turn left (east) onto Highway J. Take highway J to highway W. Go right on highway W to country road 208. Turn left (east) on CR 208 and drive to the junction with CR 253. Turn left (north) on CR 253 and proceed to the parking area and trailhead on the right.

Crane Lake   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 7  |  Distance: 101 miles
  • Description: A loop trail around a large lake with a shut-ins on the lake overflow.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 55, Highway 55 south to highway 221 at Farmington, right (west) on 221 to NN and then highway 21, left on highway 21 to highway E, left on E to the lake

Cuivre River State Park   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 7  |  Distance: 60 miles
  • Description: Is the northernmost part of Missouri that still has the rugged character of the Missouri Ozarks.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 north to 40, 40 west to highway 61 north to Troy. Turn right onto highway 47 at Troy. Follow the signs to the park.

Devil's Backbone Wilderness   Difficulty: strenuous  |  Rating: 8  |  Distance: 203 miles
  • Description: The North Fork of the White River passes through the wilderness; there are several springs in a very rugged landscape.
  • Directions: 44 west to Rolla; Located 15 miles west of West Plains off route CC. Take highway 63 south from Rolla to West Plains; take route CC west from West Plains to the North Fork Recreation Area and the trailhead.

Elephant Rocks State Park   Difficulty: easy  |  Rating: 9  |  Distance: 86 miles
  • Description: A rugged landscape with pink granite boulders and massive glades.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 55, Highway 55 south to highway 221 at Farmington, right (west) on 221 to the parking area

Ferne Clyffe State Park   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 9  |  Distance: 143 miles
  • Description: A heavily forested area with a sandstone geology. Includes rock climbing and hiking areas.
  • Directions: 44 east to 55; 55 north to 64 east, 64 east to 57, Take I-57 south to Goreville (exit #40, 12 miles south of Marion), go east about 5 miles to route 37. Go south on route 37, to the park entrance 1 mile south of Goreville.

Forest 44 Conservation Area   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 5  |  Distance: 13 miles
  • Description: Has numerous horse and hiking trails in a rugged landscape.
  • Directions: Take I-44 west from to exit #272; go south on 141 approximately 100 yards to the outer road and go right (west); take the outer road along I-44 until it curves sharply south and drive just past the "horse farm" to the Forest 44 parking area.

Garden of the Gods   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 9  |  Distance: 160 miles
  • Description: A heavily forested area with a sandstone geology.
  • Directions: 44 east to 55; 55 north to 64 east, 64 east to 57, highway 57 from I-64 to Marion IL, route 13. Go east on route 13 about 25 miles to Harrisburg, IL. In Harrisburg, turn right (south) on US 145 for about 5 mile to route 34. Go south on 34 about 5 miles to Karbers Ridge Road. Go east on Karbers Ridge Road about 2 and a half miles to the Garden of the Gods Road. Go north on the Garden of the Gods road about 1 1/2 miles to the recreation area entrance on the left.

Giant City State Park   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 6  |  Distance: 125 miles
  • Description: A heavily forested park with a sandstone geology and numerous hiking trails.
  • Directions: 44 east to 55; 55 north to 64 east, 64 east to 57, I-57 south to Marion, route 13 (exit 54B), go west (right) on route 13 about 15 miles to Carbondale. Go left on Giant City Road (at the Walmart). Drive 12 miles south on Giant City Road to the Park.

Green Rock Trail   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 7  |  Distance: 22 miles
  • Description: A Boy Scout maintained trail located in the areas of Rockwoods Range, Greensfelder Park, and Rockwoods Reservation.
  • Directions: The Green Rock trail is The trail is a 10 mile end-to-end trail that begins on Fox Creek Road at a parking area west of Six Flags at I-44 and Six Flags Road. The trail ends at Rockwoods Reservation, is nearly completely forested, and is very rugged.

Greer Spring   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 6  |  Distance: 177 miles
  • Description: One of Missouri's finest springs.
  • Directions: Highway 44 west to highway 19 at Cuba. Go left on 19 (south) to the parking area (a long distance!)

Hercules Glades Wilderness   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 10  |  Distance: 258 miles
  • Description: A wilderness area consisting of large glades and an oak savanna ecosystem. Long creek has several waterfalls. Arguably one of the finest wilderness area in Missouri.
  • Directions: Highway 44 west to highway 65 at Springfield. Go south on 65 towards Branson. Go east on highway 160 (exit right to go east). Enter the wilderness at the west entrance (creek crossing) or east entrance (fire tower entrance).

Hickory Canyons Natural Area   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 7  |  Distance: 65 miles
  • Description: A rugged landscape with sandstone bluffs, and interesting canyons.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 55, Highway 55 south to highway 32, right (west) on 32 to route C, right on route C to Sprott Road, left on Sprott Road to the parking area

Hilda Young Conservation Area   Difficulty: easy  |  Rating: 5  |  Distance: 25 miles
  • Description: A heavily forested area including creeks and small limestone creek waterfalls.
  • Directions: Highway 44 west to 109 (Eureka). Go left on W (south) to FF. Go right on FF to the parking area (on left).

Hughes Mountain   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 7  |  Distance: 80 miles
  • Description: A natural area with a great view and a unique geology. Its top is a large glade with unique polygonal igneous rock formations.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 21, highway 21 about 10 miles south of highway 8 in Potosi to highway M. Go east on M for about 3 1/2 miles to the parking area on the right, just east of Country Road 541.

Irish Wilderness   Difficulty: strenuous  |  Rating: 7  |  Distance: 190 miles
  • Description: Contains the nearly 20 mile Whites Creek trail which passes by the Eleven Point River and two springs as well as Whites Creek Cave - an outstanding wilderness area.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 55, Highway 55 south to 67. Highwy 67 south to highway 221 at Farmington. Continue on 221 onto NN. Continue on NN to highway 21. Go south on highway 21 to highway 60. Go west on 60 to to highway J. Go left on J to the wilderness.

Jamup Cave   Difficulty: strenuous  |  Rating: 10  |  Distance: 180 miles
  • Description: A natural area on the Jacks Fork River. A huge cave entrance peers into the Jacks Fork river valley.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 55, 55 south to 67, 67 south to 221 at Farmington, 221 to NN to highway 21, highway 21 south (left) to highway 60, 60 west to route OO. From highway 60 east of Mountain View, go north on State Highway OO. Go north on OO to County Road OO-493, about 2.4 miles. Go north and west on County Road OO-493 about 1.4 miles. Go right (south) at the T-intersection on the ridge at altitude marker 1056. Drive approximately 1.2 miles to the parking area on the right, which is just before the road turns sharply north. Park and walk the jeep trail across the mouth of Bear Hollow. Walk downstream back on the south bluff of the Jacks Fork to the roof of JamUp Cave. Walk downstream along the bluff (north) until you reach a drainage in the bluff that will (barely) allow river bottom access on the east side of the entrance of JamUp Cave. You can enter the cave and walk to the waterfall pool in the back. There is a sinkhole that is explorable to the north of JamUp, and the tunnel entrance is just further north of the sinkhole. Bring a good map. Good luck - it is difficult trekking!

Johnson Shutins   Difficulty: easy  |  Rating: 10  |  Distance: 100 miles
  • Description: A rugged landscape with a gray granite shut-ins on the Middle Fork of the Black River.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 55, Highway 55 south to highway 221 at Farmington, right (west) on 221 to NN and then highway 21, right on highway 21 to highway N, left on N to the park

Labarque Creek Conservation Area   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 5  |  Distance: 33 miles
  • Description: A heavily forested area that includes a long looped hiking trail and several geocaches. St. Peter sandstone underlies much harder sandstone above in the area. The creek bed has an unusual geology with holes and small caves.
  • Directions: Highway 44 west to 109 (Eureka). Go left on W until it ends at route FF. Go right on route FF until it ends at F. Go left on F for about 100 feet to Doc Sargent Road. Go right on Doc Sargent to the parking area.

Leatherwood Creek   Difficulty: strenuous  |  Rating: 8  |  Distance: 150 miles
  • Description: A tributary of the Jacks Fork River that includes beaver ponds and leatherwood arch.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 55, highway 55 south to 67. Go 67 south to highway 221 at Farmington. Go right on 221 and continue on NN to highway 21. Take highway 21 south to 106. Go right on 106 to country road 106-425. Go left on 106-425 to the Bay Creek Campground.

Lone Elk Park   Difficulty: easy  |  Rating: 6  |  Distance: 13 miles
  • Description: A heavily forested area that includes a bison and elk.
  • Directions: Highway 44 west to 141. Right on 141 to the North Outer Road (right). Take the North Outer Road exit and continue to the Outer Road West (Meramec St.). Continue to the park entrance.

Lower Rock Creek   Difficulty: strenuous  |  Rating: 8  |  Distance: 100 miles
  • Description: Is an extremely rugged area with poorly maintained trails, but with possibly the best high-glade views and rocky shutins in the state.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 55, highway 55 south to 67. Go 67 south to highway E at Fredericktown. Go right (west) on E to country road 511. Go right on country road 511 to the first left turn (jeep trail) past the lower water bridge over Wolf Hollow Creek. Park at the first available area.

Maramec Springs   Difficulty: easy  |  Rating: 7  |  Distance: 95 miles
  • Description: A trout fishing park.
  • Directions: Take highway 44 west to highway 8 at St. James. Go left (south on highway 8 to the park.

Meramec State Park   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 7  |  Distance: 60 miles
  • Description: A heavily forested park with numerous caves and hiking trails.
  • Directions: Take highway 44 west to highway 185 at Sullivan. Go left on 185 (south) to the park.

Minasauk Falls   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 8  |  Distance: 97 miles
  • Description: A trail from the top of Taum Sauk mountain (Missouri's highest peak) to the waterfall to the west.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 55, Highway 55 south to 67. Go south on 67 to highway 221 at Farmington. Go right on 221 and continue on NN west to highway 21. Go left on 21 (south) to highway CC. Go right on CC to the parking area.

Montauk State Park   Difficulty: easy  |  Rating: 7  |  Distance: 140 miles
  • Description: A trout fishing park with some hiking trails.
  • Directions: Highway 44 southwest to Rolla and highway 63; highway 63 south to Licking and highway 137; highway 137 to route VV east; route VV east to highway 119 and the park...

Onondaga Cave State Park   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 7  |  Distance: 75 miles
  • Description: A heavily forested park with a large cave and hiking trails.
  • Directions: Highway 44 southwest to Leasburg exit (#214), route H south to park.

Paddy Creek Wilderness   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 7  |  Distance: 150 miles
  • Description: Has pure stands of shortleaf pine, several arches, and includes rocky glades. Includes the 17 mile Big Piney Trail which connects the west Roby Lake Trailhead to the east Big Piney Trailhead. Water sources include both Big Paddy Creek and Little Paddy Creek which flow together at the east end of the wilderness.
  • Directions: Highway 44 west to Rolla; highway 63 south to Licking; highway 32 west: Big Piney Trail Camp is accessed by traveling 7 miles west on 32 from Licking, and then 6 miles north on Forest Rd 220 to the camp; Roby Lake trailhead is accessed by traveling 20 miles west of Licking on Highway 32 to Roby, then 1 mile north on Highway 17 to Forest Road 274, then 0.6 miles southeast on FR274 to the campground and trailhead; the Slabtown River Access is accessed by traveling 3.5 miles west of Licking on Highway 32, then driving northwest on Highway N for approximately 2 miles to Highway AF, then driving 6 miles west on AF to the river access.

Pickle Springs Natural Area   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 10  |  Distance: 72 miles
  • Description: A 2 mile hiking trail with sandstone boulders, bluffs, and overlooks.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 55, highway 55 south to highway 32 (exit 150). Go right (west) on 32 to highway Aa. Go left on Aa to Dorlac Road. Go left on Dorlac to the parking area.

Piney Creek Ravine Nature Preserve   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 9  |  Distance: 80 miles
  • Description: A sandstone slot canyon complex carved by Piney Creek.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 255, 255 east to route 3 in Illinois, right on route 3 (south) to Hog Hill Road, left on Hog Hill Rd to Rock Crusher Rd., continue on Rock Crusher Rd. to Piney Creek Rd. and the parking area

Piney Creek Wilderness   Difficulty: strenuous  |  Rating: 5  |  Distance: 270 miles
  • Description: A heavily forested and rugged area of the Ozarks west of Tablerock Lake.
  • Directions: Highway 44 west to Springfield; highway 65 south to exit 69 for James River Freeway toward MO-360/US-60. Take MO-360/US-60 to the Missouri 413 Jct/US-60 W exit toward Springfield/Republic, Turn right onto US-60 W/W Sunshine St, Continue to follow US-60 W, Turn left onto MO-39 S/S Elliott Ave, Continue to follow MO-39 S, Continue straight onto MO-76 E/State Highway 39, Continue to follow MO-76 E, Continue onto MO-39 S, left onto FR2190, left onto FR 2185 to the parking area.

Prairie Hollow Gorge   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 10  |  Distance: 150 miles
  • Description: A narrow igneous rock canyon.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 55, 55 south to highway 67. Take 67 south to 221 (at Farmington). Turn right on 221 and continue on NN west to highway 21. Go left on 21. Take 21 south to highway 106. Go right on 106 to highway V. Go right on V to the parking area (on the right).

Roaring River State Park   Difficulty: easy  |  Rating: 9  |  Distance: 280 miles
  • Description: A trout fishing park with some hiking trails.
  • Directions: highway 44 southwest to Springfield and highway 60; highway 60 west to highway 37; highway 37 south to Cassville and highway 112; highway 112 south to the park.

Rock Pile Mountain Wilderness   Difficulty: strenuous  |  Rating: 9  |  Distance: 105 miles
  • Description: A rugged landscape with a shut-ins, virgin timber, and large glades.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 55, Highway 55 south to highway 67 south, highway 67 south to highway C south (at Cherokee Pass), highway C south to highway CC west; highway CC to country road 423 (public parking area).

Rockwoods Reservation   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 6  |  Distance: 24 miles
  • Description: A state park with numerous hiking trails. Features: limestone geology, woods, creek crossings.
  • Directions: 44 west to 109 (Eureka), right on 109 to the park entrance.

Rocky Falls   Difficulty: easy  |  Rating: 9  |  Distance: 150 miles
  • Description: A 40 foot cascade on Rocky Creek tumbling down an igneous rock formation.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 55, 55 south to highway 67. Take 67 south to 221 (at Farmington). Turn right on 221 and continue on NN west to highway 21. Go left on 21. Take 21 south to highway 106. Go right on 106 to highway H. Go left on H to state road Nn. Go left on Nn to and follow the signs to the falls.

Roger Pryor Wilderness   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 9  |  Distance: 143 miles
  • Description: Includes a portion of the Pioneer Forest which is Missouri's largest privately owned forest. The Backcountry trailhead lies at the parking area of the old Himont Tower. The Backcountry includes a 13 mile Blair Creek section of the Ozark Trail, the 12 mile Brushy Creek trail, and a 2 mile Laxton Hollow Trail. The backcountry also includes over 10 miles of Current River frontage.
  • Directions: 44 west to Rolla, 63 south to 72, highway 72 south of Rolla to state highway P, go south on P to county road P-235, go southwest on P-235 to the Himont Tower Parking area, which lies between the Laxton Hollow (east) and Brush Creek (west) hiking areas (parking area coordinates = 37.30954,-91.24507 NAD83/WGS84)...

Sam Baker State Park   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 9  |  Distance: 130 miles
  • Description: Contains the 12 mile Mudlick Trail, a rugged trail that has several hiking shelters and passes through a beautiful shutins in Mudlick hollow.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 55, Highway 55 south to 67; highway 67 south to 34; highway 34 west to 143; highway 143 to park.

Silver Mines Recreation Area   Difficulty: easy  |  Rating: 5  |  Distance: 94 miles
  • Description: A section of the St. Francis River that includes an old silver mine.
  • Directions: Highway 44 west to 270, highway 270 south to 55, highway 55 south to 67, highway 67 south to 72, highway 72 west (right) to route D, left on route D to the parking area

Snake Road   Difficulty: easy  |  Rating: 9  |  Distance: 109 miles
  • Description: A 2.5 mile section of road closed to vehicular traffic from March 15th to May 15th and September 1st through October 30th each year. The road is positioned between Larue Swamp and the Mississipii River bluffs and bisects a major wildlife corridor for reptiles and amphibians.
  • Directions: Located southwest of Murphysboro, IL; from the North take IL route 3 south of Redbud 62 miles to Muddy Levee Rd; go left on Muddy Levee Rd for 2.8 miles to the T-intersection at Larue Rd; go right on Larue Rd. to the parking area at Winter Pond.

St. Francois State Park   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 6  |  Distance: 56 miles
  • Description: Contains the 10+ mile Pike Run Trail, which passes through limestone glades, small creeks, and small waterfalls.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 55, Highway 55 south to 67; highway 67 south to the park entrance.

The Little Grand Canyon   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 8  |  Distance: 107 miles
  • Description: A heavily forested area with a sandstone geology and a hiking trail.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 255, 255 east to route 3 in Illinois, right on route 3 (south) to 149, left on 149 to Murphysboro, From Murphysboro, IL, take 20th street south which becomes Town Creek Road. Just after Town Creek Road curves west, turn left (south) on Hickory Ridge Road. After traveling a little over 6 miles, and last passing Poplar Ridge and Wiley Road, turn right on the Little Grand Canyon Road. Take the Little Grand Canyon Road a short distance - less than a half-mile - to the parking/picnic area.

Tiemann Shutins   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 6  |  Distance: 96 miles
  • Description: A particular boulder-strewn section of the St. Francis River.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 55, Highway 55 south to 67; highway 67 south to highway 72. Right (west) on 72 to the park entrance.

Valley View Glades Natural Area   Difficulty: easy  |  Rating: 5  |  Distance: 40 miles
  • Description: A limestone glade complex with a loop trail.
  • Directions: Highway 44 west to 270, highway 270 south to Tesson Ferry Road, left (south) on Tesson Ferry to highway B, right on highway B to Plantation Drive, Right on Plantation Drive to Column Dr., left on Column Drive to parking area

Victoria Glades Conservation Area   Difficulty: easy  |  Rating: 5  |  Distance: 40 miles
  • Description: A limestone glade complex with a loop trail.
  • Directions: Highway 44 west to 270, highway 270 south to Tesson Ferry Road, left (south) on Tesson Ferry to highway B, right on highway B to Castle Ranch Rd, left on Caste Ranch Rd. to Victoria Station Rd, right on Victoria Station Rd to the parking area

Washington State Park   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 8  |  Distance: 57 miles
  • Description: A heavily forested area that includes several hiking trails and Native American petroglyphs.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 21, Highway 21 southwest to the park entrance.

Weldon Spring Conservation Area   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 5  |  Distance: 32 miles
  • Description: A heavily forested area that includes 2 hiking trails (Lewis and Clark) and several creek crossing, along with bluff views at the Missouri River.
  • Directions: Highway 44 west to 270. 270 north to highway 40. Highway 40 west to highway 94. Left on 94 (west) to the parking area.

Whispering Pines Trail   Difficulty: moderate  |  Rating: 8  |  Distance: 70 miles
  • Description: A rugged trail in Hawn State Park in the area of Pickle Creek. The Pickle Creek section passes along a shut-ins. There are large stands of shortleaf pine along the trail.
  • Directions: 44 west to 270, 270 south to 55, Highway 55 south to exit 150, highway 32. Go right on 32 about 10 miles to highway 144. Go left on highway 144 to Hawn State Park and the parking area for the Whispering Pines Trail.