Johnson's Shut-Ins (Nov 19-20)

Post a narrative about your trip on the Ozark Trail

Johnson's Shut-Ins (Nov 19-20)

Postby eroymada » Sun Nov 22, 2015 11:51 pm

Since it was long rifle hunting season and I was going for a solo hike, I decided to take "Jim's" advice and hike the loop at Johnson's Shut-Ins. The plan was to pick up the Goggin's mountain trail from the campground and meet up with the OT at mile 9, then loop around to the public use area at the Black River.

I arrived to the campground on Thursday, November 19th at around 3:30 pm to find the place entirely to myself (two more folks showed up a few hours later). It was clear, calm, but cold that evening and I made an early night of it to get a start on the trail in the morning. I awoke at 6, broke camp at 7 (sunrise was 7:50 as I recall).

I went up to the maintenance area in the morning at around 7:30 and the park staff told me that I could short cut the Goggin's trail by parking at the public use area and taking the service road past the treatment facility. Walking along the chain-link fence entrance puts you on the trail at about mile 2. I was on the trail before 8. It was in pretty good shape and easy to follow for the most part.

However, there was quite a bit of rain earlier in the week and one of the watersheds just shy of mile 3 looks a lot like trail and I was off course a bit until I hit a small pool about 10-15 yards across. I believe it was right under the "A" on the trail map. Google Maps / TOPO! seems to confirm this. I backtracked a bit and found the trail which is marked in yellow blazes. I did run into a wild hog. Sure looked big. We stared at each other for a few seconds and then it took off.

When I got to the OT at mile 9, there was a fantastic social campsite with a a bluff overlooking the entire countryside. This would be an awesome place to camp if you were coming around the other way.

Social Campsite at Mile 9
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There is a point at mile 9.5 where the trail goes over a rocky outcropping and its not clear where the trail goes, but thankfully some hikers made a few cairns to mark the way (THANK YOU!!!).

Mile 9.5 Cairn
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Similarly, there is a point around mile 10 where there is an old road that you could easily mistake for the OT. Thankfully, there is an OT blaze, but perhaps another pointing the way might be helpful.

Old road and OT
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The whole trail from mile 9 to 11 is really beautiful. Very little elevation changes and you are constantly moving from one scenic view to another while crossing countless mountain glades.

The trail between miles 11 and 12.5 gets a little gnarly. The growth shuts in the trail and the footing is not fantastic, particularly between 11 and the creek. Also, a lot of the blazes were falling off their nails in this area. I was able to get ample water at the Walker Branch (and at many places thereafter), but we did get a ton of rain three days earlier so this is not the norm. It opens up a bit around the creek for some easy hiking, but the trail gets a little overgrown again around mile 12.5 as I recall.

I made Highway N by about 11 am. From there, well ahead of my personal schedule, I really started to take it slow. The trail between Hwy N and mile 14.5 was definitely the most rigorous, but really not that bad if you don't rush it. There were a few downed trees at mile 14.25 blocking the path, but otherwise this section was also in really good shape. Mile 14.5 to the Black River is pretty easy and flat. You could camp here as well if you needed to.

I reached the Black River by a little after noon. I was glad that I didn't have to cross since the water was moving quite swiftly. The OT meets up with the Shut Ins trail near the river crossing. It's, for the most part, a pretty easy trail, but there are a few switch backs and some slick rocks right before you pick up the boardwalk which takes you to the public use area.

I was able to finish up by 2 after leisurely admiring the shut-ins. One of the rangers was kind enough to give me a ride back to my car. I didn't catch his name, but again many thanks!
Last edited by eroymada on Mon Nov 23, 2015 12:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2015 3:22 pm
Location: Columbia, MO

Re: Johnson's Shut-Ins (Nov 19-20)

Postby eroymada » Mon Nov 23, 2015 12:01 am

Some other pics from the trip.

Goggins Mountain Glades
Goggins Mountain Glades
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Mile 11 to Hwy N
Mile 11 to Hwy N
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Black River Crossing
Black River Crossing
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Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2015 3:22 pm
Location: Columbia, MO

Re: Johnson's Shut-Ins (Nov 19-20)

Postby mike » Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:26 am

Sounds like you had a good hike. There are some great views in this sections.

Thanks for sharing,
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Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 3:37 pm
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