Hawn State Park, MO: Whispering Pines Loop

Wander through one of Missouri’s most revered state parks on this 6.5-mile loop featuring sprawling treetop panoramas and an extended foray along the idyllic Pickle Creek.
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Wander through one of Missouri’s most revered state parks on this 6.5-mile loop featuring sprawling treetop panoramas and an extended foray along the idyllic Pickle Creek.

From the Whispering Pines trailhead off Park Drive, follow signs for the North Loop to duck into Hawn State Park’s lush hardwood forest. You’ll hit the first vista of this counterclockwise loop just past mile 0.5, as an opening in the trees leads to a sweeping panorama of woodlands stretching to the north. At mile 1, descend from tree-blanketed bluffs to the picturesque Pickle Creek, which you’ll follow south until the route climbs east at mile 2.4. Continue straight through a four-way junction before reaching spectacular tree-top panoramas from the hike’s highest point (938 feet).
Following your descent, you’ll bypass a turnoff for the South Loop and push north toward another bluff offering additional high-point panoramas. Drop downhill and continue heading north as the trail snakes through a hallway of trees while winding toward an eastern stretch of Pickle Creek. Before reaching the creek, you’ll skirt the edge of pleasant sandstone bluffs looming over the water. Briefly follow Pickle to the south before circling back north to close the loop and reconnect to the trailhead.
Visit Hawn State Park’s homepage for more information.
-Mapped by Greg Porter

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 10.2

Waypoints

WPL001

Location: 37.829814, -90.230068

Follow signs for the Whispering Pine Trail North Loop.

WPL002

Location: 37.828467, -90.230886

Bear left at Y-junction.

WPL003

Location: 37.82765, -90.232065

Bear right to bypass the shortcut connector trail.

WPL004

Location: 37.829209, -90.237987

At mile 1, fill up water bottles at the picturesque Pickle Creek.

WPL005

Location: 37.829079, -90.239256

Bear left at Y-junction to stay on North Loop.

WPL006

Location: 37.826591, -90.239296

At a split in the Pickle Creek near mile 1.3, follow the White Oak Connector Trail as it traces the creek's southern fork.

WPL007

Location: 37.821946, -90.24377

Bear left after crossing the Pickle Creek.

WPL008

Location: 37.818294, -90.248287

Climb uphill and away from Pickle Creek at mile 2.4.

WPL009

Location: 37.821078, -90.234792

At the four-way junction, take the middle route and beginning hiking toward the highest point of the trip.

WPL010

Location: 37.819141, -90.232515

Reach the hike's highest point (938 feet).

WPL011

Location: 37.816565, -90.231013

Bear left at Y-junction to bypass the South Loop and stay on the North Loop.

WPL012

Location: 37.828616, -90.22979

Bear right at Y-junction to return to the parking lot.

Whispering Pines Trail

Location: 37.829819, -90.230391

Follow signs for the North Loop of the Whispering Pines Trail.

Vista

Location: 37.830175, -90.233116

At a break in the trees near mile 0.6, look north for a vista of the sprawling woodlands below.

Rocky Outcropping

Location: 37.830144, -90.235924

Pass by boulders embedded in a leaf-blanketed hillside near mile 0.8.

Pickle Creek

Location: 37.829411, -90.237893

Fill up water bottles at the picturesque Pickle Creek near mile 1.

Cliffs

Location: 37.828156, -90.238518

Cliffs and rock slabs flanking the trail near mile 1.2 serve as a prime break spot.

Tunnel Of Trees

Location: 37.818743, -90.240337

Head east through a tunnel of trees while meandering gently uphill near mile 3.

High Country Vistas

Location: 37.820101, -90.232528

As you approach the highest point of the route, you'll notch far-ranging vistas of the countryside below.

Fall Colors

Location: 37.818836, -90.232387

Missouri's sprawling woodlands explode with color during fall.

More Ridgetop Panoramas

Location: 37.818667, -90.232172

Treetop Vistas

Location: 37.821752, -90.224662

Grab more views from above the trees as you climb above 800 feet.

Cliffs

Location: 37.832022, -90.225145

Traverse rock ledges looming over Pickle Creek as you wind your way back to the trailhead.