||Day Hike - Car Shuttle
||12.0 miles / 19.3 km
- All Year Long
|Things To See:
- Mountain Views
||Trail has not been rated.
||Potosi, Missouri, United States
The Ozark Trail is concurrent with the Bell Mountain Trail for about a mile into the Wilderness. Then the Bell Mountain Trail turns north and ascends the 1,702-foot peak of Bell Mountain. A Wilderness is a special area set aside by Congress which “generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable…” The area is rugged and is for experienced hikers only. Before you start, be prepared with adequate supplies; water sources within the Wilderness are not recommended for drinking. A separate two-mile trail begins at the end of Forest Road 2359 on the east side and leads to the top of Lindsey Mountain.
Both sections offer breath taking views of the surrounding area. The tall peaks of the St. Francois region extend southeasterly. Between Bell Mountain and Lindsey Mountain lies Shut-in Creek, a spring-fed stream with several gorges along its course; these gorges are locally called "shut-ins"?a result of the unyielding resistance of igneous rock to water erosion.
Joe's Creek cuts deeply into the west slope of Bell Mountain; clefts and boulders form the basic landscape. St. Francois Mountains, one of oldest landforms in North America, has a combination of plant and animal communities not found in other areas of the Ozarks. Gnarled blackjack and post oak, black hickory, and a few winged elms are found in the harsh environment of the granite glades. The native grass supports unique and interesting life forms. Pileated woodpeckers, wood thrush and ovenbirds are abundant. White tailed deer, wild turkeys and squirrels can be found.