Best Backpacking In Missouri

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Missouri.

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Ozark Trail

Winding 312 miles through Mark Twain National Forest, the Ozark Trail rambles up and down through the wild heart of the Midwest. Start small, hiking ridgelines on the 26.5-mile Blair Creek section, or tackle the 30-mile Current River section, which offers some of the best Ozark views from atop Stegall Mountain. Or go whole hog, connecting it with Arkansas’s Ozark Highlands Trail for a trek of almost 600 miles.

Contact: Mark Twain National Forest, (573) 364-4621;

Mark Twain National Forest

Imagine dipping your toes in “Bliss Spring.” You can find it along the

18.6-mile Whites Creek Trail in the Irish Wilderness, the largest of seven wilderness areas in Mark Twain National Forest. Another 350 miles of streams in the national forest, including parts of the famous Eleven Point National Scenic River, offer hot hikers more cool relief.

Contact: Mark Twain National Forest, (573) 364-4621;

Katy Trail

Once the route of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT or “Katy”) Railroad, the Katy Trail now spans 225 miles from St. Charles to Clinton. To see the trail’s highest point, restored prairies, and wide views of the Missouri River, hike the wild stretch from Green Ridge to Bryson.

Contact: Missouri Department of Natural Resources, (800) 334-6946;

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