Short Backpacking Trip Near Crane Lake on Marble Creek Sect?

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Short Backpacking Trip Near Crane Lake on Marble Creek Sect?

Postby cbj314 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:50 pm

We are thinking of taking some young children on a short backpacking trip near Crane Lake. The youngest can go about 2 miles, maybe slightly more. We are hoping to get to the shut ins below the lake and camp play there. Ideally, we'd like to be able to stop short and camp at the lake if the youngest tires. If anyone has direct experience with this section of trail, I'd really appreciate your feedback:

A. Is camping allowed around the lake? My wife thought she read that it wasn't, but I haven't found anything that says so.
B. Is camping allowed down by the shut ins? I have seen stuff online that implies that it is.
C. How difficult is the trail getting there? Would anyone specifically recommend the north or south route?
D. Has anyone been there recently, or know if the shut-ins are likely to be fun for kids age 3-6 this time of year?

Alternately, if you know of another short (2 mile) backpacking trip for kids that terminates near water along the trial, I'd be interested in that as well.

Thanks!
Chris
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Re: Short Backpacking Trip Near Crane Lake on Marble Creek S

Postby Jim » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:13 am

The lake was drained last summer due to issues with the Dam. I am not sure that it has been repaired. In the past the trail has had minimal maintenance.
I think you could backpack camp away from the parking lot at Crane Lake.
Otherwise, I would camp at the campground on Marble creek and do an out n back and just hang at the creek.

Other option for a family with water access:
I would consider a family trip near Johnson Shutin's. There is a nice campsite option near where the OT(Taum Sauk Section) crosses the river. Just north of the "15" mile marker on this map. The trail intersection. Easy river access and a short yet rugged hike along the shut-ins.
http://www.ozarktrail.com/maps/detailed/TaumSauk2.jpg
Note the blue line trail closest to the river has some precarious climbing/hiking. I would keep a rope/hand on the little ones, as it's a long way down to the rocks.
You might have to get creative with parking otherwise its a bit of hike over to the trailhead on Highway N.

Hike in camping at JSI campgrounds is an option. Goggins Mtn is a big up from the campground.
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Re: Short Backpacking Trip Near Crane Lake on Marble Creek S

Postby cbj314 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:01 am

Thanks very much for the reply Jim, it would have been very disappointing to drive 2 hours to Crane Lake and find it empty.

The Johnson Shut-ins trip looks extremely promising. I will follow up in a few weeks with a post about where we ended up, so that future parents can find it.
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Re: Short Backpacking Trip Near Crane Lake on Marble Creek S

Postby Jim » Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:31 am

Johnson Shut - ins also has some really nice cabins. for $80 bucks.

If you head that way Elephant Rocks State Park is on the way from pretty much everywhere. Makes a great weekend when you tie them all together.
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Re: Short Backpacking Trip Near Crane Lake on Marble Creek S

Postby cbj314 » Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:13 am

Jim, we are planning to do this trip, and stop at both the shut-ins and elephant rocks. Is the campsite you are referring to explicitly marked/obvious/well used, or are you just saying there are some nice level places 100 feet off-trail around that area, and we should pick one? If it is an established campsite, do you remember where it is? (Its always nice to know where we are going with the young children).

Thanks!
Chris
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Re: Short Backpacking Trip Near Crane Lake on Marble Creek S

Postby Jim » Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:36 pm

Use this map: http://www.ozarktrail.com/maps/detailed/TaumSauk2.jpg
Look at OT(red) mile marker 15.5 The blue trail intersects the red at 2 points.. The second point was a nice fire pit and flat area. sorta close to the trail...I wouldn't hesitate using it. I am sure you can find other suitable camping near this location.
While it has been extremely dry if we get any significant rain please be aware of flash flooding conditions.

Should this location not be suitable you can always bail out and head to JSI campground North of Hwy N and they have walk in sites(Same Map - near Goggins Mtn Trail Head). Works as a good back up. You never know when the kids are going to call the day's events over....
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Re: Short Backpacking Trip Near Crane Lake on Marble Creek S

Postby Mark J » Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:29 pm

We hiked the Marble Creek section earlier this year. The lake is still there and is only partially drained, although I don't know what that might mean for mosquitoes this time of year. I thought the trail was in good hiking condition. The shut ins are pretty and the views are worth the hike.
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