Location: From Rolla, take I-44 West about 5-miles to Hwy T exit #179. Follow Hwy T through Newburg. After crossing the railroad tracks and the Little Piney Creek, turn right onto Hwy P and go about 5-miles to County Road 7550. Turn left onto Road 7550 and travel about 2-miles to the Mill Creek Picnic Area. Travel past the picnic area to the first gravel road to the left crossing Mill Creek bridge.
Distance: 1-1/2 to 15-miles of hiking is available.
Water: Water at is available at several springs and wildlife ponds along the trail but needs to be filtered, treated or boiled before use.
Parking: Overnight parking is permissable at the Mill Creek Campground or the Picnic Area.
Comments: This is a multi-use trail system for hiking, backpacking, biking, and horseback riding. There are five loop trails off the main trail which provides the opportunity to select trail lengths of 1-1/2 to 15 miles. The trail system provides the opportunity to view a variety of timber types, scenery, and unique geological features. The Wilkins Spring Pond loop will lead you to a spring that flows 3-million gallons of water a day. Another loop has a natural tunnel (Kaintuck Natural Bridge) 175 feet in length.
I finally was able to hike most of these trails on 11 February 2000. Although it was a cool day the hike was enjoyable and a friend joined me from Lake of the Ozarks area. We parked at a campsite off the road to the natural bridge and hiked south, paralleling the road for about 1-1/2 miles before the trail headed west. We kept following the main trail (acorn markers) on west to the loop that takes off to Wilkins Spring. Neither of us had been to the spring before so we hiked this loop which comes back into the main trail. The spring was very interesting to see as it comes up in a round, man-made, stone pond then flows out an overflow into a large pond. There is a picnic/camping area there too so this would be a good place to camp although it is close to a blacktop road. After getting back to the main trail, we hiked a short distanc on west and north before taking an east bound trail to the natural bridge, had lunch, then continued north to hit another trail that would take us west back to the main trail. We finished up by hiking on north on the main trail and hitting the campground road and walking the road back to the picnic area where we had left one of our vehicles. The pine tree groves and rock glades were beautiful to cross after hiking through the mainly oak forests throughout.
Maps: A Map can be obtained from the Rolla Supervisor's Office, Mark Twain National Forest by calling 573-364-4621.
Cautions: Watch out for bikers and horses. We found markers, matching the map, to be at all the trail junctions so that made the trail easy to follow.