Danny's Missouri Backpacking & Hiking Trails Reviews

Updated 28 January 2002

Lake Shore Trail - Council Bluff Lake Recreation Area - Mark Twain National Forest

Location: South of Potosi, Missouri approximately 20 miles southwest (12-miles south on Hwy 21, then about 8 miles west on Hwy C, then about 7 miles south on Hwy DD (just over the Iron County line). Plus there are other roads to take depending on where you are coming from.

Distance: 12 miles of hiking/biking trail around the lake - a loop trail. A half-mile cutoff trail to the Trace Creek Section of the Ozark Trail is available from the southwest end of Telleck Branch.

Water: Water is NOT available along the trail except at the Wild Boar Ridge Campground which is only open from April through October. Of course you can boil/filter water from the lake and you may find water entering the lake from inlet streams at the head of the many lake fingers.

Parking: Overnight parking is available at two locations year-round, at the main boat ramp which is open year-round for fishermen and there is one on the south end of the lake, at Enough, not accessible from the north side roads.

Comments: This trail opened aroundOctober'97. The trail stays close to the lake and you may have to wade (or portage your bike) at certain times of the year. I have used this lake for canoeing to practice for the boundary waters and the hiking should offer some spectacular views as the lake is several hundred acres and dams up the headwaters of the Big River. Primitive camping is allowed as long as you camp 500 feet from the lake. The forest service will be watching the primitive camping closely to be sure that the area doesn't get trashed. Since the drive-in campground is not at the lake the area stays very clean.

28Jan02 - The newest trail brochure appears to be computer generated from the local ranger office in Potosi. The Lake Shore Trail marked on it is very easy to follow and is marked by gray diamonds nailed to the trees. If you hike from the Wild Boar boat ramp parking lot and go clockwise it will take about an hour to reach the dam and you will pass through the swimming/picnic area along the way plus cross the spillway. There are some spectacular views of Johnson Mountain to the east of the lake from many locations along the trail. In the southeast portion of the trail there is a nice flat area on a small ridge that the trail goes up and through just after rounding the last finger of the lake about a 1/2 mile from the Enough Boat Launch area. This would be a great place to camp as there is plenty of level spaces here and it is near the 1/2 way point of the trail and only about 15 minutes or so from the Enough Boat Launch/parking area (accessible from Highway 32) at the extreme southern tip of the lake. Going west from the Enough Boat Launch area the trail crosses two foot bridges across two inlets then jumps several hundred yards west of the lake and follows an old road bed (although the map shows the trail on the lake shore). The trail follows the road for a mile or more before coming back to the lake and resuming along the lake shore. An old rock structure (house/cabine, etc.) is still standing along this old road. The trail continues north then heads west again as you approach the main body of the lake before going southwest around one of the larger fingers of the lake on Telleck Branch. As you cross over the foot bridge on the inlet stream at Telleck Branch the trail branches left and right with the left (south) trail heading to meet up with the Trace Creek Section of the Ozark Trail, a half-mile away. The Lake Shore Trail continues on to the right and back to the parking lot at Wild Boar Boat Launch. There are also two trails leading up to the campground that go off to the south between this inlet and the Wild Boar Boat Launch area.

This recreation area is very secluded but is a favorite with fishermen. There is a spectacular view of Johnson Mountain as you canoe out of the boat ramp area going East. Views of Johnson Mountain can be obtained from many places along the trail. There is a road that goes to the top of Johnson Mountain from Highway 32, Forest Road 2245 goes to the top and should offer a spectacular view of Council Bluff Lake from a large rock ledge facing in that direction on the west side of the mountain. When the Fall colors are out it is really a pretty picture. I have seen beaver in the lake and followed them with my canoe. Also, this is one trail where you might want to bring your fishing pole (and a license). The swimming beach is great if you camp here over the summer.

Maps: Maps of the area are available from the Potosi Ranger District (573-438-5427), Highway 8 West, P.O. Box 188, Potosi, MO 63664. Quad sheet: Johnson Mountain, MO, 7-1/2 minute USGS 1:24000 Quadrangles. I have a 1968 Quad map and the lake is not on it. I don't know if there is a revised quad sheet or not. Bell Mountain Wilderness is just 5-miles to the East. On my quad sheet Council Bluff church is the north end of the lake (overflow area) and Enough, MO is the south end of the lake and the location of the south boat ramp.

Cautions: Summertime ticks and heat, bring plenty of water.

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