Missouri, known for its diverse landscapes and outdoor beauty, offers a plethora of hiking trails that cater to all levels of hikers. From the Ozark Mountains to the banks of the Missouri River, the Show-Me State is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 hiking trails in Missouri, each unveiling the natural beauty and outdoor wonders that make the state a fantastic destination for hikers.

Best Hiking Trails in Missouri

Here are the top 10 hiking trails in Missouri as mentioned in the article:

  1. Hercules Glades Wilderness Area – Coy Bald Trail
    • Location: Bradleyville, Missouri
  2. Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park – Scour Trail
    • Location: Middle Brook, Missouri
  3. Taum Sauk Mountain State Park – Mina Sauk Falls Trail
    • Location: Ironton, Missouri
  4. Ozark Trail – Eleven Point Section
    • Location: Alton, Missouri
  5. Castlewood State Park – River Scene Trail
    • Location: Ballwin, Missouri
  6. Garden of the Gods Wilderness – Observation Trail
    • Location: Herod, Illinois (Near the Missouri border)
  7. Mark Twain National Forest – Bell Mountain Loop Trail
    • Location: Potosi, Missouri
  8. Cuivre River State Park – Northwoods Trail
    • Location: Troy, Missouri
  9. Katy Trail State Park – Rocheport to McBaine Trail
    • Location: Rocheport to McBaine, Missouri
  10. Rock Bridge Memorial State Park – Devil’s Icebox Trail
    • Location: Columbia, Missouri

Let’s explore all the top 10 best hiking trails in Missouri discussed in the post one by one.

  1. Hercules Glades Wilderness Area – Coy Bald Trail

    • Location: Bradleyville, Missouri

Hercules Glades Wilderness Area in the Ozark Mountains features the Coy Bald Trail, a 6.2-mile loop that takes hikers through dense woodlands and opens up to expansive views at Coy Bald. The trail showcases the rugged beauty of the Ozarks, with opportunities for wildlife spotting.

  1. Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park – Scour Trail

    • Location: Middle Brook, Missouri

Known for its unique geological features, Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park offers the Scour Trail. This 2.5-mile loop takes hikers along the Black River, showcasing the park’s iconic shut-ins—natural rock formations carved by the river’s force. The trail offers a refreshing and picturesque hiking experience.

  1. Taum Sauk Mountain State Park – Mina Sauk Falls Trail

    • Location: Ironton, Missouri

Taum Sauk Mountain State Park, home to Missouri’s highest point, features the Mina Sauk Falls Trail. This 3-mile loop leads hikers to Mina Sauk Falls, the state’s tallest waterfall. The trail traverses the rugged terrain of the St. Francois Mountains, providing a challenging yet rewarding experience.

  1. Ozark Trail – Eleven Point Section

    • Location: Alton, Missouri

The Ozark Trail, a long-distance trail system in Missouri, includes the Eleven Point Section. This scenic segment covers approximately 20 miles, leading hikers through diverse landscapes, including river bluffs, woodlands, and open glades. It’s an ideal trail for backpacking and immersing oneself in nature.

  1. Castlewood State Park – River Scene Trail

    • Location: Ballwin, Missouri

Located along the Meramec River, Castlewood State Park features the River Scene Trail. This 3.3-mile loop takes hikers along the riverbanks, providing scenic views of the water and the surrounding hills. The trail is popular for its accessibility and diverse ecosystems.

  1. Garden of the Gods Wilderness – Observation Trail

    • Location: Herod, Illinois (Near the Missouri border)

While technically located in Illinois, the Garden of the Gods Wilderness is easily accessible from Missouri and features the Observation Trail. This short but stunning trail offers panoramic views of unique rock formations and the Shawnee National Forest.

  1. Mark Twain National Forest – Bell Mountain Loop Trail

    • Location: Potosi, Missouri

Mark Twain National Forest is a vast expanse of woodlands, and the Bell Mountain Loop Trail is a highlight. This 11-mile loop takes hikers to the summit of Bell Mountain, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding forested hills.

  1. Cuivre River State Park – Northwoods Trail

    • Location: Troy, Missouri

Cuivre River State Park offers the Northwoods Trail, a 3.6-mile loop that takes hikers through diverse habitats, including woodlands and prairies. The trail is known for its wildflower displays in the spring and stunning views of the park’s natural landscapes.

  1. Katy Trail State Park – Rocheport to McBaine Trail

    • Location: Rocheport to McBaine, Missouri

The Katy Trail, stretching across the state, offers a picturesque section from Rocheport to McBaine. This 13.5-mile out-and-back trail follows the Missouri River, providing scenic views of the riverbanks, bluffs, and surrounding farmland.

  1. Rock Bridge Memorial State Park – Devil’s Icebox Trail

    • Location: Columbia, Missouri

Rock Bridge Memorial State Park features the Devil’s Icebox Trail, a 2.6-mile loop that explores the park’s karst topography. Hikers can discover sinkholes, caves, and a natural tunnel, showcasing the unique geological features of central Missouri.

In conclusion, Missouri’s hiking trails showcase the state’s diverse landscapes, from the rugged mountains of the Ozarks to the scenic riverbanks along the Missouri River. Whether you’re trekking through the wilderness of Hercules Glades or enjoying the geological wonders of Johnson’s Shut-Ins, each trail offers a unique perspective on the natural beauty of the Show-Me State. So, lace up your hiking boots, grab a trail map, and embark on unforgettable journeys through the scenic wonders of Missouri.

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