Park Trails

at Sam A. Baker State Park

Fire Tower Trail

  • Bicycling/Mountain Biking
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding

Length: 2 Miles View map

Fire Tower Trail is a great trail to experience the vast vistas of the park and the St. Francois Mountains. The trail makes use of an old gravel road and intersects with Mudlick Trail in four places. The first intersection is with Mudlick Trail’s hiking only section. The next intersection goes south onto Miller’s Ridge, which offers spectacular seasonal vistas of the area. The third intersection is with white connector 2. A fourth intersection with Mudlick trail, leading to trail shelter 3, is at the top of the trail just before it ends at Mudlick Fire Tower. The tower was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936 at the highest point of Mudlick Mountain, 1,313 feet above sea level. The 85-foot-tall tower is closed to the general public but is still used to spot fires in the surrounding countryside.

You may experience:

  • Natural surface, dirt, mud, gravel, shifting rocks, slippery surface, etc.
  • Rocks, roots and/or downed vegetation on trail        
  • Steep grades and inclines more than 10 percent
Find the trailhead on the park map
Missouri State Parks Trail Rules and Etiquette
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
2 Miles 1 hour, 30 minutes Linear Red Just south of the visitor center off Hwy. 43

Mudlick Trail: Equestrian/Hike Section

  • Backpacking
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding

Length: 16.75 Miles View map

Mudlick Trail provides an intimate journey into one of the oldest mountain regions of North America: the St. Francois Mountains.  This loop trail can be challenging at times, climbing from 415 feet above sea level in Big Creek Valley to 1,313 feet above sea level at the top of Mudlick Mountain. Most of the trail is located in the Mudlick Mountain Wild Area, one of the most significant, undisturbed natural landscapes in Missouri. Mudlick Trail is broke into two separate sections.

Users accessing this trail from the day-use area can expect an 11-mile round trip; whereas users accessing the trail from the equestrian campground can expect a 16.75-mile round trip. 

From the day-use area, Mudlick Trail begins by ascending the foot of Mudlick Mountain and continues across the eastern, rocky slopes, over Miller’s Ridge and through one of the most significant remaining old-growth forests of the St. Francois Mountain, where large white oaks, black oaks and pine exist. Roughly two miles into the hike or ride, the trail intersects a .25-mile spur that leads to the park’s fire tower. The fire tower is closed to the general public, but the area still offers picturesque views and a great place to rest. Continuing north another .50 mile, there is the Mudlick Hollow/Hollow Pass intersection. Mudlick Hollow is accessible to hikers only due to rough/steep terrain not safe for equestrian passage. Mudlick Hollow is also where backpack camp #1 can be found.  Equestrian riders, as well as hikers wishing to bypass Mudlick Hollow, should continue west along the Hollow Pass portion of the trail. Next, the trail begins the gradual climb to the summit of Green Mountain. The view from Green Mountain is best during the fall and winter when the trees in the thick oak-hickory forest have shed their leaves. From the southern end of Green Mountain, the trail descends rapidly, via a series of 'switchbacks' into Logan Creek valley. A dense stand of red cedar grows in the valley, providing a cool shaded corridor for the trail. A second spur at this point leads to backpack camp #2 for overnight hikers. Once through the valley, the trail begins a steady climb to the top of Mudlick Mountain, where Miller’s Ridge takes users north back to the day-use area completing the main loop or gives the option to continue on the 4-mile campground spur that takes hikers to campground #1 and equestrian riders to the equestrian campground. 

In addition, White Connectors 1 and 2 can be accessed along this section of Mudlick Trail.  These connectors can be used to shorten or diversify hikes/rides.

You may experience:

  • Natural surface, dirt, mud, gravel, shifting rocks, slippery surface, etc.
  • Rocks, roots and/or downed vegetation on trail        
  • Low hanging vegetation
  • Steep grades and inclines more than 10 percent
  • Bluffs or drop-offs next to trail
  • Bridges and/or structural crossings
  • Water/stream crossings without bridges
  • Road/highway crossing
Find the trailhead on the park map
Missouri State Parks Trail Rules and Etiquette
From Day-Use Area Trailhead
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
11 Miles 11 hours Loop Yellow Equestrian Day-Use Area off of Highway 143
From Equestrian Campground Trailhead
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
16.75 Miles 16 hours, 45 minutes Loop Yellow Equestrian Campground

Mudlick Trail: Hike Only Section

  • Backpacking
  • Hiking

Length: 5.5 miles View map

Mudlick Trail provides an intimate journey into one of the oldest mountain regions of North America: the St. Francois Mountains.  This loop trail can be challenging at times, climbing from 415 feet above sea level in Big Creek Valley to 1,313 feet above sea level at the top of Mudlick Mountain. Most of the trail is located in the Mudlick Mountain Wild Area, one of the most significant, undisturbed natural landscapes in Missouri. Mudlick Trail is broke into two separate sections.

After hiking .3 mile, there will be a three-way intersection. At this point, hikers have the option to travel one of two ways. Either take the south linear section, which crosses the rugged eastern slope of Mudlick Mountain and connects with the southern portion of the Equestrian/Hike Section of Mudlick Trail, or the north linear section, which ascends the mountain to the bluffs above Big Creek where three stone hiking shelters, constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, offer outstanding seasonal views of the surrounding countryside and the 'shut-ins' valley below. Continuing north, there will be an opportunity to access Mudlick Hollow. Mudlick Hollow is a shut-in in the Mudlick Creek headwaters, which has little pools, rare plants, and small waterfalls, which may dry to a trickle in the summer. The trail crosses the creek three times, which can be difficult to traverse during high water. There is also a spur to backpack camp #1 for overnight hikers. Eventually, the trail will head out of Mudlick Hollow to connect with the northern portion of the Equestrian/Hike Section of Mudlick Trail.

You may experience:

  • Natural surface, dirt, mud, gravel, shifting rocks, slippery surface, etc.
  • Rocks, roots and/or downed vegetation on trail        
  • Low hanging vegetation
  • Steep grades and inclines more than 10 percent
  • Bluffs or drop-offs next to trail
  • Bridges and/or structural crossings
  • Water/stream crossings without bridges
  • Wood or stone steps
Find the trailhead on the park map
Missouri State Parks Trail Rules and Etiquette

 

North Section
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
3.5 Miles 3 hours, 30 minutes Linear Orange

West of Hwy. 143 across the road from the dining lodge

South Section
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
2 Miles 2 hours Linear Orange West of Hwy. 143 across the road from the dining lodge

Paved Bicycle Trail

  • Bicycling/Mountain Biking
  • Hiking

Length: 1.5 Miles View map

This accessible paved path extends from campground #1 to the park store.  It was designed to give park users safe passage alongside State Highway 143.  Bicyclists, hikers, walkers, joggers, skate boarders, roller skaters, and wheelchairs are permitted on the trail and may travel in both directions keeping to the right when they meet other users. Visitors use this trail to travel by the picturesque Big Creek and to access park amenities, such as the campgrounds, visitor center, park store, picnic areas, playgrounds, hiking trails and dining lodge.

You may experience:

  • Slippery conditions and/or downed vegetation
  • Road/highway crossing
Find the trailhead on the park map
Missouri State Parks Trail Rules and Etiquette
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
1.5 Miles 40 minutes Linear Green 1) In campground 1 between campsites 84 and 85; 2) At the park store

Shut-Ins Trail

  • Hiking

Length: 1.25 Miles View map

This trail immediately begins a steep descent down several steps, leading you across a footbridge and down a second staircase to the floodplain of Big Creek. From there, hikers explore the trail as it follows along the base of Mudlick Mountain. Majestic sweet gums, sycamores and cottonwoods border this scenic stretch of trail. Hikers also travel through areas of rich vegetation, rushing water cascading over dellenite boulders in the spring, and tallus hillsides that harbor the uncommon yellowwood tree. Close to the end of the trail, there is the option of stopping off at the Big Creek shut-in’s bluff hole for a swim, turning around for the return trip, or heading up to shelter #1 where Shut-Ins Trail connects to Mudlick Trail. Before beginning your hike or after returning to the lodge area, check out the Big Creek overlook, located behind the dining lodge.  A fantastic view of the flowing Big Creek stream passes below the overlook.

You may experience:

  • Wood or stone steps
  • Natural surface, dirt, mud, gravel, shifting rocks, slippery surface, etc.
  • Rocks, roots and/or downed vegetation on trail        
  • Steep grades and inclines more than 10 percent
  • Bluffs or drop-offs next to trail
  • Bridges and/or structural crossings
  • Water/stream crossings without bridges
Find the trailhead on the park map
Missouri State Parks Trail Rules and Etiquette
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
1.25 Miles 1 hour, 15 minutes, one way Linear Blue Behind the dining lodge