OUTDOOR ADVENTURES – TRAILS -3
Access to several trails are within a day’s travel of West Plains!
BRYANT CREEK STATE PARK
This recently developed, 2,900-acre state park features a host of natural attributes, including 2 miles of Bryant Creek frontage. Forests, sandstone outcrops and tributary hollows provide a scenic backdrop for the two developed hiking trails. For a short, easy hike try the Pinewoods Trail, a natural-surface, half-mile looping trail. The Pike Hollow Trail is more challenging. It offers a 4.5-mile loop which is rugged in places with some steep grades and inclines more than 10%. For trail maps and detailed information:
49 miles From West Plains
Take Highway 63 north toward Pomona. Turn left onto Highway 14. Stay on 14 for 41 miles, then turn left onto Highway 95 at Gentryville. Travel just shy of 9 miles to Highway N and turn right toward Rockbridge. Continue on Highway N for 5.5 miles through Rockbridge to destination on your right. A suggested return route is the same distance back to West Plains but offers different, beautiful scenery and sites. From the park, turn left onto Highway N and continue south for 13 miles to Highway 181. Turn left onto 181 toward Dora and continue for 14 miles. At Dora, turn right onto CC Highway. Stay on CC for 22 miles back to West Plains.
ALLEY SPRING OVERLOOK TRAIL
This 1.7-mile loop trail is generally considered moderately challenging and has a gravel base. It starts at Alley Mill and includes a steep rocky ascent to an overlook which offers a birds-eye view of the famed Alley Spring and Mill. The trail continues along the ridge top through an upland pine-oak forest. This long segment of trail is level and easy walking. Following the ridge southward the trail dips down a series of switchbacks into the floodplain where Alley Spring Branch flows towards the Jacks Fork River. Descend to circle the beautiful, blue spring and see gorgeous, up-close views of the surrounding landscape, including the spring branch creek which feeds the Jacks Fork River. A separate, short trail around the mill pond is also available. See Alley Overlook Trail on nps.gov for more information:
50 miles From West Plains
Take Highway 63 north toward Willow Springs. Just before Willow Springs, take Highway 60 east toward Mountain View. Stay on Highway 60 for 15 miles then turn left on Highway 17 north. In 13.5 miles, turn right onto Highway 106. In approximately 14 miles, the entrance to Alley Spring and Mill will be on your left.
PINEY RIVER NARROWS NATURAL AREA
Known to locals as “the Narrows,” this 258-acre forested area near Houston, Missouri, includes a quick, 0.6-mile out-and-back trail. Generally considered an easy route, it winds through the woods next to the Big Piney River on Missouri Department of Conservation land. A parking lot sits at the trailhead with plenty of room for parking. More information and map:
53 miles From West Plains
Take Highway 63 north toward Cabool for 32 miles. At the first Cabool exit, turn right to stay on 63 toward Houston. In 18 miles turn left on Hwy 17 north. Stay on Hwy 17 for 2.5 miles to Highway Z. Turn left onto Highway Z. The entrance to the parking lot will be almost immediately to your right.
TWIN PINES EDUCATION CENTER
This Missouri Department of Conservation area offers many opportunities for discovering more about nature and the history of the area. The education center’s main facility is closed during the winter, but several looping, inter-connected trails in the middle of the 442-acre property are available for hiking year-round.
54 miles From West Plains
Take Highway 63 north toward Willow Springs. Just before Willow Springs, take Highway 60 east toward Mountain View. Stay on Highway 60 for 36 miles. Turn right on to County Road 60-C to Twin Pines area.
ROCKY FALLS & KLEPZIG MILL TRAIL
Klepzig Mill Trail is a 6-mile out-and-back trail near Winona. It begins at Rocky Falls and travels north on a portion of the Ozark trail passing through Buzzard Mountain ending at Klepzig Mill and Rocky Creek. It does include some water crossings which are at least ankle-deep and can be knee-deep during certain times of the year, so be prepared. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of just over 2 hours to complete. This trail is great for bird watching, camping, and hiking. It is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime. Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash.
61 miles From West Plains
Take Highway 63 north toward Willow Springs. Just before Willow Springs, take Highway 60 east toward Mountain View. Stay on Highway 60 for 36 miles. Turn left on Highway 19 toward Winona. Go through Winona then turn right on H Highway. Stay on Highway H for 8.5 miles then turn right on NN Highway. In 2 miles, turn right on County Road 526. The trailhead begins by the parking area.