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Courtois, Track Creek, and Taum Sauk Sections
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MILE MARKER: DESCRIPTION:
0 Start at Highway 21 Trailhead. (directions)
Highway 21 Trailhead. Has Department of Conservation signage as Claybaugh Branch.
Highway 21 Trailhead to Russell Mountain Trailhead Connector - 3.3 miles
1 Traveling to the west it is often easy to overlook this sharp turn and continue up a double-track trail. The turn is well-marked, so just keep an eye out for signs.
1.3 Eastern-most glades on Taum Sauk section. 
3.3 Russell Mountain trailhead spur to the north. Consult a map to insure you're on the correct trail 
Russell Mountain Trailhead Connector to Mina Sauk Loop Connector (east) - 2.5 miles
5.8 Mina Sauk lower loop trail is on your left. Continue straight towards the peak of Taum Sauk.
Mina Sauk Loop Connector (east) to Taum Sauk Mountain Trailhead Connector - 0.3 miles
6.1 Taum Sauk Mountain trailhead is located 1/4 mile northeast of main trail. Stay to the left, heading down to Mina Sauk falls.
Taum Sauk Mountain Trailhead Connector to Mina Sauk Falls - 1.2 miles
6.7 Several glades in this area with great views of Taum Sauk Creek valley 
7.2 Travel to the bottom of Mina Sauk falls.
Mina Sauk Falls to Devils Tollgate - 1 miles
7.3 Mina Sauk Falls. Spectacular, especially after heavy rains. Intersection with Mina Sauk lower loop to the southwest. Consult a map to insure you're on the correct trail. 
8.2 Devils Tollgate rock formation 
Devils Tollgate to Proffit Mountain Power Lines - 4.7 miles
9.2 Taum Sauk Creek. Fairly reliable except perhaps in drought conditions.  No reliable water between here and Highway N.
12.9 Powerline area. Subject to seasonal growth. Continue across to trail on the other side.
Proffit Mountain Power Lines to Scour Connector (north side) - 4.9 miles
17.8 Make a left, crossing the scour and heading south on the Taum Sauk trail.
Scour Connector (north side) to Black River Crossing - 2.3 miles
17.8 Limestone rock overlooking the scour valley with a view of the reservoir. The trail through this rocky area may require a little scrambling, so watch your step. 
17.9 Southwest side of scour crossing. The trail runs perpendicular to the scour. Look for signs and rock cairns to navigate. Watch your step through this rocky area. 
17.9 Good water source running through scour valley 
18.7 The trail weaves its way through numerous rock outcroppings 
19.9 Delightful bluff overlooking the Black River just north of the switchback.  
20.1 After you cross the Black River, make a left and continue south on the Taum Sauk.
Black River Crossing to Highway N Crossing - 2.3 miles
20.3 Trail to the east and southwest is the OT. Check your map if needed.  If coming from the Black River, go left. Trail heading north goes to Johnson's Shutins.
22.4 Highway N crossing. Watch for taffic.
Highway N Crossing to Goggins Mountain Connector (west) - 4.2 miles
23.9 Power line crossing. Can be brushy in summer. Trail continues on opposite side of clearing. 
24 Walker Branch. Rarely has water, but some people have had luck further to the southeast by the power line crossing of Walker Branch 
24.7 Illegal ATV activity abounds in this area. One of several ATV roads you'll cross on south Goggins 
24.8 Another glade but this one has a great view to the southwest. Can you see Stegall Mountain from here? 
25.1 Open glades with a southwest view. On a clear day you can see Stegall Mountain in the distance, which is on the Current River section. 
25.5 Nice glade with a west-facing view. 
26.4 One of many fine glades on Goggins. 
26.5 Pass Goggins Mtn Trail turn-off. Continue straight on Taum Sauk trail.
Goggins Mountain Connector (west) to Bell Mountain Trail Turn-Off - 7 miles
27.4 The trail drops down through a steep boulder-strewn area that produces mini-waterfalls after a good rain. You can sometimes find pools of water for filtration, but it's not a reliable spot. 
28.6 2006 tornado damage. This area has been cleared but will prone to weediness for a few years until the canopy can regrow. 
29.1 Turnoff from road. If traveling to the northeast along the double-track road, watch for signs! Easy to miss. Left onto old jeep road. (TS7)
29.6 Padfield Branch crossing area. On the southeast side of the creek you'll find the remants of an old house and shed. If you wander past the shed you'll come to a nice spring. A lot of people camp in this area, so practive Leave No Trace. 
30.1 Dramatic view south across Padfield Branch valley to Goggins Mountain. A great spot for a break in this large glade complex. 
32.1 Beautiful view west from the glades along the southern tip of Bell Mountain. A nice spot for sunsets or to watch the morning mist rise from Ottery Creek and the Middle Fork headwaters. 
33.5 Bell Mountain turn-off sign. Do not take-- continue straight on Taum Sauk trail.
Bell Mountain Trail Turn-Off to Highway A Trailhead Connector - 2.1 miles
34 Occasional water. Dry much of the year. 
34.1 There is a small trickle of water here for most of the year that feeds a diverse growth of flowers and grasses. A good resting spot with scenic views of the valley. 
34.9 Nice valley view, especially a bit off-trail to the south 
35 This low glade is found at a switchback on the trail. If you have some time you can explore to the south for excellent views of Ottery Creek valley. 
35.5 Continue straight after crossing Highway A, heading west to Ottery Creek.
Highway A Trailhead Connector to Middle Fork / Trace Creek Intersection - 9.2 miles
35.7 Located 200 feet south of main trail is Highway A TH and parking lot. 
35.7 This crossing can be treacherous after a heavy rain. While water levels are only a few inches deep in the summer, you may have a shallow wade in other seasons. 
36.2 Trail goes on/off gravel road. Watch for signs and consult your map. Right from trail onto gravel road. (TC13)
37.1 Trail goes on/off gravel road. Watch for signs and consult your map Right onto trail. This turn is frequently missed, so keep a watchful eye for signs. (TC12)
37.8 Gravel road in Peter Cave Hollow. The trail zags a bit as it crosses the road. 
37.8 Peter Cave Hollow creek. Very reliable water. 
38.7 The old topographic maps show two caves in this area. The maps are wrong, so don't waste your time hunting for caves here. 
39.2 Trail goes on/off gravel road. Watch for signs and consult your map Left onto gravel road. (TC10)
39.6 Right onto trail. Keep a watch for signs to avoid bypassing turnoff. (TC9)
39.7 You may notice hundreds of uprooted trees along this section of trail, the result of wind and ice storms in 2006 and the derecho in May 2009. 
40.6 Left at gravel road. Take gravel road about 200 yards. (TC8)
40.7 Trail goes on/off gravel road. Watch for signs and consult your map Right onto trail. Watch for signs. (TC7)
41.4 Panther Branch. Often has water 
42.2 Highway 32 crossing. Watch for approaching vehicles. 
44.7 Go straight past the Middle Fork junction sign, heading north on the Trace Creek trail.
Middle Fork / Trace Creek Intersection to Council Bluff Spur Trail (at OT) - 2 miles
44.6 Power line crossing- can be weedy late spring and summer. The trail continues directly on the opposite side of the opening
44.7 Upper source of the Big River. Almost always has water 
46.7 Make a left at the Council Bluff spur sign. Don't take the spur!
Council Bluff Spur Trail (at OT) to North DD Trailhead Connector - 1.9 miles
47.6 Nazarenko Spring. This lovely spring is just off-trail down the hill on the south side of Telleck. Easy to miss in leafy seasons, the spring forms a round pool next to white pines before emptying with a gurgle in to Telleck Branch. 
48.4 Highway DD crossing. Watch for approaching vehicles. 
North DD Trailhead Connector to Hazel Creek Trailhead - 13.1 miles
48.7 Unmarked parking area about 1/2 mile south of Council Bluff entrance. About 200' southeast of trail. 
52.1 County Road 648. Gravel 
53.9 Trace Creek. Should always have water except in extreme drought. 
54.2 ATV usage is heavy in this area. Please consult your map and watch for signs. 
55.1 County Road 646 (also known as the Delbridge cut-off). Gravel 
56.7 Highway C. Paved  
57.4 Piney Branch crossing. Very brook which often has water. 
60.3 Fork in illegal ATV road system. If traveling north-to-south, keep going straight. 
60.4 Hazel Creek crossing. Deep in spots. There is a shallow spot downstream that may be easier than here the current trail crossing is marked. 
60.4 The trail to the north is in the woods, connecting with an ATV/ORV road to the south. This turn can be easy to miss, so watch for signs. 
61.1 6-12 inches deep, year-round water crossing 
61.7 Water available from Hazel Creek. South of trailhead about 100 yards or so. 
61.7 Hazel Creek campground. No toilets, no trash pickup. Located south of trailhead. 
61.7 Hazel Creek Trailhead. 
Hazel Creek Trailhead to Highway 8 Trailhead - 11.8 miles
61.9 The remnants of a Scotch Hearth lead smelter, built in the mid-1800s. 
62.1 County Road 657. Gravel 
62.4 Forest Service road 2540 
64.4 Snapps Branch. Reliable source of water. 
67.3 Forest Service road 2249. Gravel 
67.5 Forest Service road 2514. Gravel 
68.7 Pigeon Roost Road crossing - southern of two crossings. Gravel 
69.7 Pigeon Roost Road crossing - northern of two crossings. 
69.9 Machell Hollow has a few pools of water except during very dry periods 
70.1 Intersection of double-track bottomland ATV road with trail.  If traveling northwest, watch for signs and make a left onto single-track.
70.6 Old logging road crossing. Dirt 
71.8 Road crossing - Gobblers Knob. Gravel 
72.4 Powerline crossing. Can get brush in the summer. 
73.3 Lost Creek crossing. Water is typically 6-18 inches deep. May have swift high water during heavy rains. 
73.5 Road crossing at Highway 8. Paved. Watch for vehicles.  
73.5 Courtois Trailhead at Highway 8 
Highway 8 Trailhead to Berryman South Intersection - 1.3 miles
74.8 Forest Service road from Berryman campground. Gravel 
74.8 At the Berryman OT intersection, make a left turn to follow the Berryman Trail clockwise (official route).
Berryman South Intersection to Berryman North Intersection - 12 miles
76.2 Probable water source during most of the year in the valley down hill from the trail. 
79.6 Forest Service road - 2608. Gravel.  
79.6 A popular camping spot next to a wildlife pond located just west of the trail crossing of FS-2608. 
81.7 Artesian spring, camping area. ATV abuse in area has several double-track routes to this spot, so WATCH FOR SIGNS to keep on trail. 
81.7 Beecher spring. Lots of horse droppings in area, so water should be treated 
83 Road crossing - FS-2274. 
83.3 This is the easternmost crossing of FS-2265, located just west of the end of Highway W 
83.9 Vernal pond. Water may be muddy. Source of last resort. 
86.8 Berryman / OT intersection. Look for the sign and check your map to make sure you are heading in the right direction. 
86.8 Take a left at the Berryman OT intersection.
Berryman North Intersection to Harmon Spring Spur - 0.4 miles
87 Several sources of water in the Harmon Spring general area, along with a nice rock ledge on the left. 
87.2 At the Berryman OT intersection, make a left to continue on the Ozark Trail towards Bass Resort.
Harmon Spring Spur to Forest Road 2265 - 2.9 miles
87.2 Harmon Spring spur / OT intersection. Check your map or directions to make sure you head the right way. 
88 Road crossing - FS-2284 
89.5 Small creek bed that often has a trickle of water 
90.1 Logging road crossing. Trail continues to the southwest towards the Courtois Creek valley.
Forest Road 2265 to Courtois Bluffs - 5.8 miles
90.3 Forest Service road 2757. Gravel  
90.8 Logging road crossing. Watch for OT markers and trail continues to the northeast. 
92.3 A lovely hollow with many seasonal wild flowers and pawpaw trees. 
92.5 A small pool of water is usually found at the base of a rock formation of the ravine. Last-resort water if needed. 
93 Bluff overlooking the Courtois Creek and the creek valley. Located just off-trail at turn. 
93.7 To the southeast of the switchback is a short bluff directly over the Courtois Creek. 
93.8 Small slice of Forest Service land off the trail on the opposite side of the creek can make for a nice camping spot along Courtois Creek. A wet crossing would be required. 
93.8 Off-trail water in the Courtois Creek. 
95.2 Scenic views of Courtois Creek valley. 
95.3 This is the eastern border of Bass' property (private). Turns from single track and double-track. Traveling northwest, keep to the left. NO CAMPING between here and Bass Resort.
95.6 The trail will turn to the right towards a cemetery and run along the pasture. Trail goes to the north and to the west.
95.8 Come out of the woods and continue down the hill to the left for a one mile road walk through Bass River Resort.
Courtois Bluffs to Bass River Resort Trailhead - 1 miles
96 Traveling east-to-west, go straight at this intersection, following the road to the left towards Bass Resort.
96.2 Bridge and take-out / put-in spot for Bass Resort canoes. Subject to flash flooding. 
96.8 After you pass the cabins on the right, continue straight towards the woods, past some gas tanks, to where the trail continues to the southwest
Bass River Resort Trailhead to Lower Narrows Rd Crossing - 1.3 miles
96.9 Bass River Resort. Canoe outfitter with campground, cabins, store, parking. 
98.1 Road crossing - Lower Narrows Rd 
Lower Narrows Rd Crossing to Lower Narrows Trailhead - 3.6 miles
98.4 Pool of water below riffles. Fairly reliable water source. 
98.6 Small wet-season waterfall with many mossy rocks 
99 Pipeline road 
99.9 Road crossing - Barn Rd 
101.2 Great bluff top overlooking the Huzzah valley 
101.7 Look for the Trailhead kiosk on your left, then then take the road down towards Courtois Creek.
Lower Narrows Trailhead to Little St Louis Campground - 2.7 miles
102.2 End of multi-use trail. Bike and horse travel not allowed on trail in Huzzah C.A. (this is an MDC directive and has nothing to do with the OTA)
102.9 Sharp turn to the left from double-track road to trail.
104.1 Large opening at the gated Bat Cave. There was a shooting here in the 1870s over a disagreement at a poker game. 
104.2 Courtois Creek crossing. This is a 'wet crossing' with water depth normally 6 inches to 2 feet deep. This area is prone to flash flooding. During spring rains the creek may not be passable for days. 
104.4 As you enter the campground, take the road to the right. Continue past the kiosk toward the creek, and pick up the trail again between the creek and the bluffs.
Little St Louis Campground to Onondaga Trailhead - 5 miles
104.6 The trail passes at the bottom of limestone bluffs and next to the crystal-clear Courtois Creek. Lots of nooks to explore, too. 
106.1 Going South to North, watch for this sharp turn off double-track to single track. Easy to miss
106.8 Social trail turn-off the Ozark Trail to the southwest for visiting the ruins of the old Scotia Ironworks smelter, built in 1870. Smelter is 500' or so south of trail. 
107.6 Road crossing - Scotia Ranch Rd 
108.8 Road crossing - Cave Rd.  
109.4 End at Onondaga Trailhead. (directions)
The Onondaga trailhead has room for 1-2 vehicles. An alternate trailhead is at Ozark Outdoors; please register at the office to see if parking is available.
Select a Mile Marker link above to see this waypoint on a google map.