Thursday, May 2, 2013

Where to Go: Buford Mountain Conservation Area, Missouri

The view from Bald Knob

This wasn't even the rockiest part of the trail.
As an epilogue to my blog miniseries about Zach’s and my hike up Buford Mountain, I decided to give the area a more comprehensive review. Any serious hiker should check it out.

Why you should go: The 10.5-mile loop is is one of the most challenging hikes in the St. Louis area, and delves through incredibly scenic forests and glades, rich with wildlife, especially birds. There’s a nice view from Bald Knob. As a bonus, primitive camping is allowed year-round, so it’s one of the few places I’ve encountered in Missouri so far where you can just hike into the woods and pitch a tent.

How to get there: Buford Mountain is about two hours from St. Louis. Backpacker magazine has the most comprehensive directions in this article. (Note that, not being a Missouri publication, they label the trail as fit for a “lazy weekend.”)

What to bring: Assuming a day hike, bring plenty of water and snacks. Dress for some hardcore hiking, especially your shoes: as I mentioned in my previous blog, the terrain is really rocky. There are also no toilet facilities, so come prepared to do your business in the woods.

What else you need to know: The outstanding (but somewhat-lacking-in-trails) Elephant Rocks State Park is just a few miles away, and makes a good side trip. Also, from St. Louis, the drive down is full of scenic Midwestern vistas. Whether you’re day-tripping or spending the night, Buford Mountain is a great place close to St. Louis that lets you experience nature in a vivid way.

The trail also periodically turns into a creek.


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