Excerpted from Show Me Mountain Biking
by Brett Dufur.
Copyrighted. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
From the Introduction to the Ozark
The Ozark Trail is like the Katy Trail on steroids. Whereas the Katy
Trail is flat, straight and takes you through the Missouri River Valley,
the Ozark Trail is anything but flat and straight. It blends all of the
things that make the Ozarks so unique and inviting: forested, green
rolling hills out to the horizon, clear Ozark streams, exposed granite and
limestone relief, glades, waterfalls, and utter seclusion. The constantly
changing relief of steep southern creek drainages makes this the perfect
place to ride and soak in how gorgeous southern Missouri can be.
Not all of the OZT sections are open to MTB, but who cares!?! The
sections that are open offer several lifetimes of unforgettable single
track. If I could find a place down there to plug in my lap top I'd never
The trail is envisioned to someday extend from St. Louis through the
scenic Ozarks to the Arkansas border where it will connect with the
Arkansas Ozark Trail and proceed west to the Arkansas-Oklahoma border.
Help make this proposal a reality by volunteering to do trail
maintenance, construction, by supporting the agencies involved in trail
management or by making monetary contributions specifically earmarked for
Ozark Trail development.
Additional Thoughts: The official Ozark Trail marker is a white 4 x 6
inch rectangle with a green symbol. Two tilted markers placed one above
the other warn of an abrupt turn in the trail in the direction of the
tilt. Painted blazes are also used to identify the route. Always carry a
map and compass.
Land Status: The development of the Ozark Trail is an ambitious project
that has been undertaken by the members of the Ozark Trail Council, which
includes state and federal land-managing agencies, trail groups and
Maps: Most of these OZT sections are highlighted in various free DNR
brochures, including topos and highways. If you just have to spend money
to make it feel like vacation, you can also order the various USGS maps
detailed on each of the following trail sections.
Contact Info: If you would like more specific information on this
trail, write to the Ozark Trail Coordinator c/o the Missouri Department of
Natural Resources, P.O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102, or call 1 (800)
Since this is a multi-agency effort, below is a comprehensive list of
agencies that develop and maintain different portions of the Ozark Trail.
Side Trip-Glade Top Trail
When you're ready to take a break from mountain biking, but not the
scenery, check out the Glade Top Trail-Missouri's only National Scenic
This 23-mile gravel road (Forest Road 127) weaves though narrow
ridgetops above the surrounding countryside. Travelers are treated to
numerous views from the Springfield Plateau to the north and the St.
Francis and Boston Mountains to the south.
The drive is accessible from Ava by taking Hwy 5 south to Hwy A and
Douglas County Road A-409. From the south, take Hwy 95 just north of
Longrun, or from Hwy 125 about four miles north of the intersection with
U.S. Hwy 160.
The trail has hardly changed since CCC workers built the two-lane
gravel road in the late 1930s. Local residents have long celebrated the
brilliant red/orange fall foliage of the area by sponsoring the
"Flaming Fall Review" each year in mid-October, with a barbecue
and music festival.
A Spring Flowering Tour is also sponsored annually. This tour
highlights the dogwood, serviceberry, redbud, and wild fruit trees along
the National Forest Scenic Byway.
Year-round, abundant wildlife, such as white-tailed deer, wild turkey,
quail, squirrels, rabbits and numerous songbirds are prevalent within this
part of the Forest. The glades are also home for wildlife not often
encountered in the Ozarks, such as the roadrunner, collared lizard, pygmy
rattlesnake, scorpion, and the Bachman's Sparrow-an endangered species.
Look for the following points of interest: Hayden Bald State Natural
Area, at the north end; The Three Sisters-a trio of limestone bald knobs;
Watershed Divide-where water flows east into the Little Northfork River
and west into Beaver Creek; Caney Lookout Tower; The Pinnacle-an old,
unsuccessful gold mine; and the Caney Picnic Area-site of the
"Flaming Fall Review."