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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.

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.

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