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Backpacker Magazine – May 2000

Staying Cool In Missouri's Caves

In Whites Creek Cave you can explore in nature's own cooling system, and observe its grateful inhabitants.

by: Kim Rogers

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Getting There: From Fremont (located on US 60 in southeastern Missouri), take County Highway J south for 16 miles to Whites Creek trailhead at Camp Five Pond.

Prime Time: June, July.

Guides: Irish Wilderness, available free from Mark Twain National Forest (see below). America's Neighborhood Bats, by Merlin D. Tuttle (University of Texas Press, 800-252-3206; $10.95). The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain (Penguin, 800-526-0275; $5.95).

Contact: Mark Twain National Forest, (573) 325-4233.

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Reader Rating: -


Feb 21, 2011

I hiked this trail with my daughters Feb. 18-19 2011. I have hiked it several times. It's a great hike, if you do it in the right season: Late fall to early spring. I woudn't hike any Ozark trail in the summer.

Feb 21, 2011

I hiked this trail with my daughters Feb. 18-19 2011. I have hiked it several times. It's a great hike, if you do it in the right season: Late fall to early spring. I woudn't hike any Ozark trail in the summer.

ShowMe Hiker
Oct 06, 2009

Perhaps the previous reviewer wants to keep this place a secret but I just hiked the Whites Creek Trail loop this past weekend (less than 2 months from the previous review) and had a wonderful experience. Beautiful clear springs, the Eleven Point River (yes only one view along the trail) and the rugged country make it a beautiful remote hiking destination. Keep in mind in regards to trail maintenance this is a Wilderness Area but I did not find it difficult to navigate with map only. If bugs bother you, I recommend the Fall or Spring seasons. See my full trip report at

bubba gump
Aug 19, 2009

Hiked this trail Aug13-14 2009. The cave is now closed the entrance is blocked with bars. The trail has not been maintained, there are entire sections obliterated by the storms in early july. You will find yourself leaving the trail many times to circumnavigate large streches of downed trees and be forced to circle around trying to find the trail again. Some sections you will be doing a little rock climbing where this has happened on the side of a hill. The ticks, spiders, mosquitos, horseflies and chiggers are unreal. Some of the worst Ive ever found in Missouri. The river is virtually unfishable without a boat. The trail really only offers on view, which is very limited because of the trees. Unless you like hiking extremely rugged chigger infested country for no real rewards, do yourself a favor and avoid this one.


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