Missouri/Illinois Hiking Trails
  • Very brief descriptions of various trails of eastern Missouri are listed below. The links associated with each hiking area are USGS Topo maps (jpeg format) that can be used for viewing or downloading. In some cases the files sizes are large! Entire paper maps can be purchased from the USGS. Digital versions of the whole maps can be downloaded at: msdisweb.missouri.edu.
State Parks Natural Areas Wilderness Other
Audubon Trail
Trail head is located where the Forest Road 2199 crosses Bidwell Creek north of the town of Womack.
The trail is heavily forested with no overlooks, and water is available in Bidwell Creek.
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.
Maps: USGS | National Geo | Trail map - estimate | Elevation Profile - estimate
Location | 12-23-07 Trek

Babler State Park
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.
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.
Maps: National Geo | Location

Bandelier National Monument
A hotspot of Native American activity in the past, Bandelier is located in northern New Mexico.
Visit the Science Club photo archives to see photos of past trips/maps of Bandelier National Monument

Beaumont Scout Reservation
Trail heads are located near Wright Lodge. An official trail map is available at the Boy Scout office
There are many different trails at Beaumont, each labeled with differently colored blazes.
Beaumont is located near the exit of Beaumont-Antire road and interstate 44. At the exit, take Antire road southwest along I-44 until it bends south. The sign for the entrance to Beaumont is on the left just after the road turns south.
Maps: National Geo | BSA Map | BSA Map Info
USGS Map (with trails) | Location

Bell Mountain Wilderness
Located southeast of Farmington between routes O and A.
Is a very rugged area of the Ozarks, with one of the best high-glade views in the state as well as a beautiful shutins in the valley below.
Directions: Drive highway 55 south to highway 67, drive highway 67 south to 67-BR/highway 8, drive 67-BR to highway 8, go west on highway 8 to highway M, go south (left) on M to highway 21, go left (south) on highway 21 to highway 32, go west (right) on 32 to highway A, go south on highway A to CC road, go left on CC road to the trailhead; if CC road is not navigable then we will take highway A to another trailhead 5 miles south of highway 32 to the parking area for Bell Mountain Wilderness at Ottery Creek.
Maps: USGS | USGS (with trails) | National Geo | USFS Trail | Location

Buffalo River National Scenic Riverway
Located in northwester Arkansas, the Buffalo flows from west to east.
Canoeing and hiking opportunities are available in the Buffalo River area.

Castlewood State Park
Has biking and hiking trails near St. Louis, along the Meramec River.
Maps: USGS | Location

Conservation Areas
Missouri has countless conservation areas across the state. The Missouri Department of Conservation publishes an atlas of maps locating all of them.
Forest 44 Conservation Area is near St. Louis and has numerous horse and hiking trails in a rugged landscape.
Directions: Take I-44 east from St. Louis 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.
Maps: USGS | Location
Buford Mountain Conservation Area incudes 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: Drive 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.
Maps: National Geo | Location | 12-29-04 Trek

Cuivre River State Park
Located northeast of Troy off of highway 61.
Cuivre River is a rugged area reminiscent of the Ozarks with excellent backpacking trails.
Maps: National Geo | Trails Map | Trails Description | Location

Devil’s Backbone Wilderness
Located 15 miles west of West Plains off route CC.
The North Fork of the White River passes through the wilderness; there are several springs in a very rugged landscape.
Directions: 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.
Maps: USGS | National Geo | USFS Trail Map | Location | Topo! Exchange USGS

Eminence Area
Many hiking, canoeing, and camping areas are located in the Eminence area of the state.
Prairie Hollow Gorge is probably the narrowest canyon in the state, cut by Prairie Hollow creek into an igneous formation.
USGS | National Geo | Location
Rocky Creek has several shutins and Rocky falls, many great hiking and swimming areas.
USGS | National Geo | Location

Grand Canyon National Park
One of America's greatest landscapes - the Science Club visited the canyon in the spring of 2004.
Visit the Science Club photo archives for photos and maps of the Grand Canyon.

Green-Rock Trail
The Green Rock trail is a Boy Scout maintained trail located in the areas of Rockwoods Range, Greensfelder Park, and Rockwoods Reservation.
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.
Green Rock Trail Map (GPS) | GPX trail data

Hawn State Park
Located southwest of Ste. Genevieve off highway 32.
Has the 10 mile Whispering Pines Trail, with excellent water supplies, good views, and great back country camping areas.
Maps: USGS hi res | Topo File Exch. | Park Trail - hi res | National Geo
Location | 11-12-04 Trek

Hercules Glades Wilderness
Located east of Branson off of highway 125.
Contains huge glades and a beautiful creek with small waterfalls.
Arguably Missouri’s finest wilderness area.
Maps: USGS | USGS (with trails) | USFS Trail | National Geo | Location

Irish Wilderness
Located southwest of Van Buren off route J.
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.
Maps: USGS | USGS (with trails) | National Geo | National Geo Cropped
USFS Trail | Location

Leatherwood Creek
Leatherwood Creek drains into the Jacks Fork southeast of Summersville. It has numerous beaver dams and countless caves.
Maps: USGS 1 | USGS 2 | National Geo | Location

Lower Rock Creek
Located east of Fredericktown off route E.
Is an extremely rugged area with poorly maintained trails, but with possibly the best high-glade views and rocky shutins in the state.
Directions: drive highway 55 south to highway 67; take highway 67 south to highway E at Fredericktown, go west (right) on highway E about 10 miles to the St. Francis River, immediately past the St. Francis river make a right on County Rd. 511 (CR 511), drive about 1 mile on CR 511 (pass over a low water bridge) and go left on an unmarked forest road (1st left past low water bridge); drive to 1st parking area and park...
Maps: USGS | National Geo | Location | 2/13-15/09 Trek Map

Maramec Spring Park
Located 8 miles southeast of St. James off of Interstate 44.
Is a trout fishing park that has been extensively developed because of its popularity.
Maps: National Geo | Location

Meramec State Park
Located 4 miles southeast of Sullivan off of highway 185.
Many caves are located within the park and the trail passes from forest to glades.
Maps: USGS | USGS (with trails) | National Geo | Location

Montauk State Park
Located south of Rolla in central Missouri
A rugged park with trout fishing and day hiking.
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...
Maps: National Geo | Location

Natural Areas
Missouri has many natural areas, most with poorly maintained trails.
Big Barren Creek Natural Area is a rugged area not far from Irish Wilderness.
USGS | National Geo | Location
Cowards Hollow has a waterfall that runs in wet weather that is also not far from the Irish Wilderness.
USGS | National Geo | Location
Castor River Shutins (Pink Rocks) - is a beautiful shutins on the Castor river east of Fredericktown off route J.
National Geo | Location
Jamup Cave is a natural area on the Jacks Fork River. A huge cave entrance peers into the Jacks Fork river valley. From highway 60 west 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!
USGS 1 | USGS 2 | National Geo | Location
Hughes Mountain is a natural area with a great view and a unique geology. Its top is a large glade with unique polygonal igneous rock formations. To reach it, travel 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.
National Geo | Location
Pickle Springs and Orchid Valley are natural areas near Hawn State Park. Pickle Springs has a 2 mile hiking trail, creek crossings, overlooks, and slot canyons. Orchid Valley is a forested canyon that can only be hiked with permission from the Ranger at Hawn State Park.
Pickle Springs USGS Trail Map
USGS of PS and OV | National Geo of PS and OV
PS-OV Location Map | Pickle Springs Trailhead Map

Onondaga Cave State Park
Located south of Leasburg on route H.
A great car-camping and day-hiking area with a great wildflower show in the spring.
Directions: highway 44 southwest to Leasburg exit (#214), route H south to park...
Maps: USGS with trails

Paddy Creek Wilderness
Located 13 miles west of Licking off of highway 32.
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. (150+ miles).
Maps: USGS | USGS (with trails) | National Geo | USFS Trail | Location

Piney Creek Wilderness
Located west of Table Rock Lake in southwest Missouri, Piney Creek is an extremely rugged landscape.
Maps: USGS | National Geo | USGS Trail | Location

Roaring River State Park
Located west of Branson in southwest Missouri
A rugged park with trout fishing and day hiking.
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...
Maps: National Geo | Location

Rock Pile Mountain Wilderness
Located 3 miles southwest of Fredericktown off of highway C
A rugged hiking/backpacking area with a beautiful shutins.
Directions: 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 private parking area near Cox cemetery...
Maps: USGS | USGS (with trails) | National Geo | USFS Trail | Location

Roger Pryor Backcountry
Located south of Rolla off of highway 72.
The Roger Pryor Backcountry is 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: Take 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 coordiantes = 37.30954,-91.24507 NAD83/WGS84)...
For more information, visit the Pioneer Forest.
Maps: Brushy Creek USGS | Laxton Hollow USGS | Location

S-F Scout Ranch
Located south of Farmington off of highway 67.
Contains the 21 mile 3-Notch Trail, a rugged trail that passes by rock climbing and rapelling areas, as well as Castle Rock.
Directions: highway 55 south to 67; highway 67 south past Farmington; turnoff is 2-3 miles past Knob Lick (higway DD).
Maps: National Geo | S-F BSA Map | S-F BSA Map Info
S-F USGS (with trails) | Location

Sam Baker State Park
Located south of Fredericktown off of highway 143.
Contains the 12 mile Mudlick Trail, a rugged trail that has several hiking shelters and passes through a beautiful shutins in Mudlick hollow.
Directions: highway 55 south to 67; highway 67 south to 34; highway 34 west to 143; highway 143 to park.
USGS | USGS (with trails) | National Geo | Park Trail Map | Location

St. Francois State Park
Located north of Desloge off highway 67.
Contains the 13 miles Old Loggers Trail, which passes through limestone glades, small creeks, and small waterfalls.
Maps: USGS | Park Trail Map | Trek Map 3-11-07 | National Geo | Location

St. Francis River Shutins
There are several shutins along the St. Francis - Silver Mines and Tiemann.
Maps: USGS | National Geo | Location

Southern Illinois
Ferne Clyffe State Park, south of Goreville, IL. Directions: 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. Ferne Clyffe USGS
Garden of the Gods, located southeast of Harrisburg, IL. Directions: Take 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. USGS Map of Garden of the Gods (no trails)
Giant City State Park, located south of Carbondale, IL. Directions: Take 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. Giant City USGS
The Little Grand Canyon, located south of Murphysboro, IL, in the drainage of the Big Muddy River. Directions: 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. USGS Topo Map (no trails marked): Little Grand Canyon Topo
Snake Road, a 2.5 mile section of LaRue Road/Forest Service Road No. 345, between Larue Swamp and the Mississippi River bluffs; the road is closed from March 15th to May 15th and Sept 1st to Oct. 30th each year; 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. Wolf Lake USGS Topo Map, USDA Guide, Snake Road parking USDA map

There are hundreds of springs in the Ozark Highlands.
Greer Spring: Located off highway 19 south of the Eleven Point River.
Maps: National Geo | Location

Taum Sauk Trail
Located between Pilot Knob and Johnson Shutins State Park.
The trail passes by Minasauk Falls, the highest waterfall in the state, as well as numerous glades and many creek crossings.
Maps: Johnson Shutins SP USGS | Taum Sauk trail USGS
Taum Sauk Mtn USGS | Location

Washington State Park
Located southwest of Hillsboro off highway 21.
Contains a 10 mile backpacking trail.
Maps: USGS | National Geo | National Geo with Trails
Park Map | Park Map Info | Location