Johnson Shut Ins to Taum Sauk mountain

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Johnson Shut Ins to Taum Sauk mountain

Postby WildwoodGreg » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:37 am

Hoping this serves as much as a warning as a trip report. We read the State park site and others but dismissed the "rugged trail" and "plan on 1 mile per hour" as silly stuff for non experienced backpackers. We were wrong.

For the section mile marker 17 thru 26 (starts about a mile after highway N trailhead all the way to water and flat campsites at aprox mile 26) it is slow going.

The route is very well marked with OT tags on trees plus pink ribbon. The condition of the "trail" is something I had not experienced despite dozens of week long trips and 14ers out west not to mention lots of Missouri hikes. Loose rock, from baseball to cantaloupe size make each step an exercise in balance and agility. Holes, brush, etc make backpacking this section slow going even if you are pushing it as we were.

We parked at TS mountain, shuttled to JS highway N trailhead ($110 up to 4 people) and set off at 1030 figuring 2 mph for an easy 5 hr trip. It took 9 and thus the last hour we were hiking with headlamps on and out of water. Reached camp, another group lead us to the hidden water source, a little pond (no running water you could hear and go find on this early Nov trip). Nice campsites, flat, water, quiet except for the ATVs at night, is that allowed?

3-4 miles from camp up thru Devils Tollgate past a bone dry Mini Sauk falls were fine, trail is about average over there, infinitely easier than JS side and obviously more travelled. Looks like most hikers and campers start and end at TS mountain, camping along the creek.

Bottom line - wanted to get the word out that if you are into bushwhacking and carrying lots of water this area is pretty with some good views, but calling it a trail, especially part of our Ozark Trail, that's a bit of a stretch.
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Re: Johnson Shut Ins to Taum Sauk mountain

Postby Jbf » Mon Dec 19, 2016 3:51 pm

I've been on 75 % of the contiguous parts of the ozark trail but not the Taum Sauk yet. Thanks for the heads up. It's always smart to build some flexibility into multi day trips and it sounds like your group was able to adjust accordingly. I've also hiked in many other areas of the country and you'd be hard pressed to find any more rugged trails than some sections of the ozark trail. If you want to find out how trail ready your feet and ankles are, the OT will give you the answer. I like the challenge of differing tread when I hike and going places others can't go. The ozarks are a very rocky area and if you build a trail on a pile of rocks, you'll have a rocky trail. A good trail will blend into the landscape it's traversing not overpower it. Welcome to the ozarks,and sorry about the lecturing tone.
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