Big Piney River, Paddy Creek Wilderness Area, Mark Twain National Forest – Plato, MO
Big Piney River, Paddy Creek Wilderness Area, Mark Twain National Forest, Plato, MO
Fellow Ozark trail riders’ it is with a heavy heart that I write to you this month. The Ozark region of the state of Missouri was devastated by heavy storms and flooding. As folks turn thoughts and prayers toward the region, many are rolling up sleeves and engaging in the hard work of cleaning up the mess. As I ride through some of the prettiest parts of our state, I did encounter some damage along the Big Piney River and all of you are in my thoughts and prayers with every hoof-step.
To hit the trails you have two choices. Big Piney Trail Camp, a primitive camp situated in an open pine forest, this area serves as one of 3 trail heads for the 18-mile Big Piney Trail, which travels through the Paddy Creek Wilderness; or Slabtown Trail Rides just down the road. Slabtown Trail Rides has plenty of shaded campsites that accommodate any size horse trailer. There are also cabins to rent if you don’t have a trailer and a well known Saturday night fish-fry, you bring the sides! Campground owner Greg Cook is known for hospitality and fun.
The riding in this area of the Ozarks is through heavy oak and pine forests. Some trails are rocky and ascend to views that are some of the best in the state.
The Little Colorado trail is by far one of my favorites. The trail starts just up the road from the Big Piney river where downed trees and debris were reminders of the very recent storms and flooding.
The trail winds up a rocky hillside with an overlook that is worth stopping to take a gander.
The Little Colorado is an intermediate trail with a steep climb and rocky terrain.
Another trail favorite in the area is the ride up to Roby lake. In the early springtime along this trail there are several very pretty waterfalls. The riding through the forest is beautiful and Roby lake is a great place to have lunch. There are picnic tables and barbecue pits with a very pretty view of the lake. The Roby Lake trail is an easy trail that all levels of riders can enjoy. A meandering forest trail with great views that are enjoyed the entire length of the trail.
I encourage you to get out and enjoy our state. Missourians are a tough bunch and are all pulling together to restore the natural and beautiful areas of southern parts of the state