TAUM SAUK MOUNTIAN STATE PARK
MINA SAUK FALLS LOOP TRAIL
Copyright 1993, by Bob Soetebier
At Taum Sauk Mtn. State Park [Missouri's newest state park],
there is an excellent 3-mile loop hiking trail to the (intermittantly
running) Mina Sauk Falls, which is the tallest waterfall (cascading
132 feet) in the state. There is also a short paved side trail off
the dog-leg connector beginning off the loop trail that takes you a
few yards to the plaque and large rock that marks the highest point in
the state (at 1,772 feet.)
The best way to do the well-marked loop is counter-clockwise, so
you can get the fabulously expansive vistas of the mountain-surrounded
valleys within the 6,508-acre park as you approach the waterfall. The
return half of the loop has you then hiking back up along the
waterfall cascades and part of it's wet-weather feeder stream.
Do be sure to take water and hiking sticks with you on the trail.
And, of course, don't forget your camera, too!
If you're more ambitious (and physicaly fit,) you could also hike
the 13-mile (one way!) portion of the Ozark Trail (that also utilizes
the waterfall/stream portion of the Mina Sauk Falls Loop) from Taum
Sauk Mtn. to Johnson's Shut-Ins S.P. (My wife and I did so back in
the mid-1970's, and hope to do so again this year or next.) Of
course, you have to have two cars -- so you can "shuttle" to/from the
start/finish -- to do this, though.
Also while at Taum Sauk Mtn. S.P., be sure to climb to the top of
the old Lookout [Fire] Tower for an incredible 360-degree view of the
surrounding St. Francis Mountains Range [the oldest mountain rainge in
the U.S.!] and the Ozarks.
To get to Taum Sauk Mtn., go south from the junction of Hwy. V
(at Pilot Knob, MO) on Hwy. 21 for about 7 miles (continuing past Hwy.
72 at Ironton, and Hwy. E at Arcadia, and then uphill.) Turn right on
Hwy. CC (which used to be paved, but is now reverting to gravel) and
go 3 miles to the entrance to Taum Sauk Mtn. S.P. The state park
entrance road (for the Mina Sauk Falls Loop Trail goes to the right --
for the Lookout Tower, just continue a few yards straight ahead
instead of turning into the park entrance.)
There is primitive camping (no water) at the park; a picnic area;
pit toilets; also great views from a side parking area, too!