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St. Louis: Berryman Trail
Mark Twain NF, MO
Like a satisfying weekend without sore muscles come Monday? This 24-mile loop feels easier than the distance suggests, thanks to well-graded switchbacks. Snake through silent hollows, peek across valley farmland, and climb airy ridges—an Ozark-quality experience without schlepping between trailheads. Starting from the Berryman Campground, hike west for .5 mile to meet the Ozark Trail, which forms the western half of your loop. Take the OT north for 10 miles, passing Beecher Spring’s artesian waters (fill up) and dropping into deep valleys that glow with wildflowers in spring and early summer. Where Berryman leaves the OT, follow the latter south for a mile, taking the spur trail to Harmon Spring and your tree-ringed camp. Next day, retrace your steps to the Berryman Trail junction and hike east across a corrugated landscape of pine-topped ridges, then head south to your starting point for a 14-mile day. Trailhead 88 miles southwest of St. Louis; 37.929766, -91.062965Best season Bugs thin out in September, and weather is great. Permit None Contact (573) 438-5427; fs.usda.gov/mtnf