Danny's Missouri Backpacking & Hiking Trails Reviews

Updated 13September2016

Ozark Trail - Missouri


NOTE: Click on one of the Ozark Trail Association logos for lots more information and Section Maps!
Become an OTA member TODAY!
and - The Ozark Trail Trip Planner,
courtesy of the Ozark Trail Association


Additional info
The Ozark Trail Guidebook


General OT Comments:

Nearly 350-miles have been completed of the proposed 500-mile Ozark Trail. Upon completion it will start near St. Louis, Missouri and will wind over state, federal, and private lands extending to the Arkansas border. Plans are to connect the Ozark Trail with the 200-mile Ozark Highlands Trail in Arkansas. I still have a few pieces to hike myself so I'm trying to offer as much info as possible but check out the Ozark Trail Association for the latest information and the latest maps! I do add comments from others as they are provided. It is a very rugged trail and passes through very scenic sections of the St. Francois Mountains. Current work by the Ozark Trail Association includes re-routes on the OT or west side of the Berryman Trail. Check the OTA's website for volunteer opportunities.

Open Main Trail Sections Include (from North to South/Southwest):


OT Section Maps

COURTOIS SECTION18 August 2010 - GO HERE FOR MORE INFO!

TRACE CREEK SECTION18 August 2010 - GO HERE FOR MORE INFO!

MIDDLE FORK SECTION9 Feb 06 - GO HERE FOR MORE INFO!(This section was completed on Saturday, 5 November 2005) - A formal opening will be scheduled for the weekend of April 29,'06.

KARKAGHNE SECTION19 Oct 05 - GO HERE FOR MORE INFO!

BLAIR CREEK SECTION21 Feb 06 - GO HERE FOR MORE INFO!

CURRENT RIVER SECTION12 Oct 05 - GO HERE FOR MORE INFO!

BETWEEN THE RIVERS SECTION18 Feb 03 - GO HERE FOR MORE INFO!

ELEVEN POINT RIVER SECTION19 Nov 02 - GO HERE FOR MORE INFO!

NORTH FORK RIVER SECTION - The North Fork section of the OT incorporates a 14-mile portion of the Ridge Runner trail between the Blue Hole Trailhead and the North Fork Trail to the south and 10 miles of new trail going east from the Blue Hole Trailhead to Pomona. There is no OT brochure or official map as yet but you can contact the USFS office in Ava for a photocopy of the new 10-mile section and pick up a Ridge Runner Trail brochure to have map coverage of this section. Parts of this trail may be overgrown already so be sure and have your map and compass with you! This section is not connected to the Eleven Point Section yet and is the most southern portion of the trail that is open at this point in time. 24May03 From John Roth, President, Ozark Trail Association: Yesterday (May 22, 2003) I ventured to the North Fork section of the OT with Kale Horton of the US Forest Service. Kale is one of two new Wilderness/Trails people added to the Mark Twain National Forest in January (the other held by Wilmer Scott). This was my first trip on the North Fork, and the first time I've met Kale. We hiked the eastern section of the North Fork from Highway AP near Blue Hole to the Pomona trailhead. Kale is great; the trail is not. Please avoid this 12-mile section at the current time.

3Apr08 - As of mid-March 2008, the Pomona Trail Head to Hwy AP Trail Head stretch is open, signed, and ready for hikers! This 8+ mile piece of the trail follows generally along the path of Dry Creek and occasionally rises to the ridge above the creek, affording some nice views of the creek and valley below. Several stands of magnificent shortleaf pines greet the hiker along the way. Lovers Leap, in the southern half of this portion, is a scenic area overlooking a blue heron rookery. Dry Creek often lives up to its name and is dry, though in rainy season can be full and flowing. In some areas, the trail has been routed onto old logging or double track roads. Anticipate road walking where this has occurred. This portion of trail traverses a largely oak and hickory hardwood forest, interspersed with several stands of magnificent shortleaf pines. The trail follows generally along the path of Dry Creek, and rises to the ridge above the creek on occasion, affording some nice views of the creek and valley below. Lovers Leap, in the southern half of this portion, is a scenic area overlooking a blue heron rookery. In earlier times, when the trail was difficult to follow, hikers relied on rock cairns to find their way. Look for these cairns along the way; theyre still there. Dry Creek often lives up to its name and is dry, though in rainy seasons it came be full and flowing. In some areas, the trail has been routed onto old logging or double track roads. Anticipate road walking where this has occurred.

Open East Loop Sections Include (from North to South & West):

TAUM SAUK SECTION12Sep06 - GO HERE FOR MORE INFO!

MARBLE CREEK SECTION - Only 8 of the 21-miles is currently completed. The Northern terminus will eventually be at the Southern terminus of the Taum Sauk Section and the Southern terminus will join the Wappapello Lake Section at Sam A. Baker State Park. This section is open between the Marble Creek Campground and Crane Lake.12Dec02 - I hiked this section on 3Dec02. We hiked the trail around the southern side of Crane Lake as shown on the map. There is a crossing below the dam making two loops of trail, one around the lake and then an eastern loop east of the dam. The OT markers follow the trail on the north side of Crane Lake and the north side of the east loop until you get through the meadows in Reader Hollow. At the loop junction in Reader Hollow (the wooden sign here had been tore down) the trail goes north up a side hollow then heads east up and over a ridge and down to a main gravel road (Medium Road?) that connects to Hwy E two-miles to the north. From here the trail continues east and up and over another ridge and down into an unnamed hollow where there is logging taking place along the trail. From this point for about a mile the trail doesn't match the map and the trail signs are sparse when you get to the ridge top in the northeast corner of Section 35. The trail actually follows the old logging road for about a 1/2 mile here so stay on the road until you see signs to leave the road off to the east. As the trail passes through Section 25 there is quite a bit of windfall over the trail, especially before getting to the gravel forest road (trail on the map). There is also some on the north side of this forest road. Trail markers are really sparse along this last 2-3 miles of trail but the trail was easy to follow.

ST. FRANCIS (FRANCOIS?) SECTION29Oct03 - This is a proposed section that will run from Marble Creek to Sam A. Baker State Park. The section was named at the Ozark Trail Council meeting held on 25 October 2003.

WAPPAPELLO LAKE SECTION 15Dec06 - GO HERE FOR MORE INFO!

VICTORY SECTION - 24-miles of the approximately 30 miles is completed. It will run from Hwy 172, the Southern terminus of the Lake Wappapello Section, to Ellsinore, Missouri. From Ellsinore the OT will eventually link back to the 'Main Trail' at the junction of the Current River and the Between the Rivers Sections. IMPORTANT16Nov04 - There is still some tornado damge to be cleaned up west of the Wrangler Trailhead. Here are some notes from a driving visit I made to the area on 12 November 04: The Brushy Creek Trailhead of the Victory Section (current western terminus of this section). It is just on the SW side of Brushy Creek on Hwy V north of Ellsinore and has plenty of areas for primitive camping. There is no sign by the road so it is easy to drive by the first time. There is a new billboard there but nothing on it at this time - what was on it was ripped up and laying on the ground. There was no sign identifying it as the Brushy Creek Trailhead either but I could see the OT signs on the trail across the road heading off to the east. From there I drove over to the Uplika Pond trailhead using the backroads from Ellsinore (via Hwy A). There is plenty of primitive camping at this trailhead as well and there is a big sign marking the site. This trailhead has a short connector to the main trail. I drove south from here to the 'Walton Chapel' trailhead (as it shows on the Victory Section brochure/map). I found the trailhead just fine but it is NOT called the "Walton Chapel" trailhead. The sign calls it the "Brush Arbor" Trailhead and there is a big sign on the road. There is plenty of primitive camping area at this trailhead as well and a nearby creek that water might be available in for part of the year. The only drawback that I saw here were nearby houses just south across the creek. I didn't have time to get to the Wrangler Trailhead, the nearest trailhead to Hwy 67, but Margo had been there in the last two weeks and has reported that going west from this trailhead to the next gravel road, a little over a mile, there is still considerable tornado damage and that the trail is virtually impassible at this time.

Maps: The most up-to-date and current maps are available online from The Ozark Trail Association.

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