Park Trails

at Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park

Taum Sauk Section of the Ozark Trail

  • Backpacking
  • Hiking

Length: 35 Miles View map

This trail runs through the heart of the ancient St. Francois Mountains. Some of the most scenic areas lie within Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park. This rugged trail winds through mountains of oak-hickory forest, dotted with shortleaf pine trees, bluffs and rocky glades. Several access points allow you to shorten or lengthen your walk.This is a strenuous and challenging trail, so be prepared for the rugged, rocky climb and carry plenty of water. 

Starting at the trailhead, you soon pass into the Goggins Mountain Wild Area of Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park, where you are treated to mountain views across open, rocky glades. After crossing County Road N, you will continue high above the East Fork of the Black River to the scour channel. Here, you can follow Scour Trail to the Scour Trail trailhead, near the entrance to Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park.

Or, you can continue on to the next trailhead at Taum Sauk Mountain State Park. Lying within the St. Francois Mountains Natural Area, this rugged 14.5-mile portion includes steep, rocky climbs with high rock “steps” and several creek crossings. The eastern portion of this section passes by the tallest waterfall in Missouri – Mina Sauk Falls. From the top of the falls, you can see across several knobs of the St. Francois Mountains. A short spur near the trailhead takes you to the highest point in Missouri. At 1,772 feet above sea level, this point is an easy walk along a paved path to the trailhead parking lot at Taum Sauk Mountain State Park.

Hardy hikers can continue another five miles beyond the park to the Claybaugh Creek trailhead on State Highway 21. This rugged, difficult trail has rocky tread, steep rocky climbs, high rock “steps” and creek crossings. Seasonal flooding is possible. Use caution as rocks are very slippery when wet.

Follow the green and white “OT” trail markers, allowing plenty of time to complete each portion – Highway A to Scour Trail trailhead, 15 miles, 15 hours; Scour Trail trailhead to Taum Sauk Mountain trailhead, 15 miles, 15 hours. Watch out for trail intersections with old roads and fire lines.

This trail is for hiking, backpacking and backpack camping.  (See Black River Center staff for restrictions.)  Carry plenty of water, since water to treat for drinking may not be available along the trail. The Taum Sauk  Section of the Ozark Trail connects with the Goggins Mountain Equestrian Trail and the Scour Trail at Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park, and with the Mina Sauk Falls Trail at Taum Sauk Mountain State Park.

Find the trailhead on the park map
Missouri State Parks Trail Rules and Etiquette
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
35 Miles 35 hours Linear Green and White "OT" signs At the Scour Trail trailhead; parking is located along County Road N just north of the main park entrance.