|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – January 2014
Discover rock formations so unique you won’t even miss the mountains.
As the flowing creeks here cut into the sandstone bedrock, they created overhanging bluffs, boulder gardens, and wild outcrops. Take a two-day tour on this 10.3-mile loop from the Pickle Creek trailhead. Hike north, tracing the curving rivulet as it slides down sandstone slabs and funnels into boulder-choked sections of stream. Merge onto the North Loop of Whispering Pines Trail at .7 mile, passing tiered granite ledges. After 2 miles, climb the bluffs to a ridge and follow it to the South Loop and stay at Camp 2 in a wooded glen. Explore the southern half the next day. “This is my favorite section,” says Luke Larson. “The trail leads to a promontory surrounded on three sides by sandstone bluffs and the River Aux Vases.” Reconnect with the North Loop to complete the route.
Trailhead 37.829846, -90.230266*; 70 miles south of St. Louis on Park Dr. Info (573) 883-3603; Website