Best Day Hike

Bell Mountain Wilderness and Trail

Staff Pick

Sometimes, an urge for serious nature overtakes even the most committedly urban among us, resulting in an itch that Tower Grove Park just can't scratch. Luckily, we live in Missouri, which is directly adjacent to Missourah. And Missourah is home to some stunningly beautiful parklands, such as the Bell Mountain Wilderness and Trail, a rigorous and beautiful day-long tromp through the St. Francois Mountains in Iron County. The trail wends its way through the Mark Twain National Forest, and the ascent up Bell Mountain provides the kind of breathtaking view that makes scraping your carcass out of bed at 7 a.m. on a weekend seem totally worth it. Shut-In Creek and Joe's Creek crisscross the landscape, with boulder formations and a variety of tree types providing homes for plenty of critters. You might go the whole twelve miles without seeing another human. Be warned — this isn't a stroll. You need hiking boots and lots of water, and probably an energy bar or two. It takes two hours just to get there from the city, so plan on it being the kind of all-day excursion you cap off with pizza and Netflix. Highway A, seven miles west and five miles south of Highway 32. Belleview, 63623, 573-364-4621.
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