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Council Bluff Lake to Bell Mountain
A great two-day backpacking trip at a moderate pace. Fabulous views atop Bell Mountain, rhyolite glades, hardwood forests plus lakeside views at Council Bluff.
Trip Overview
This is a 'signature' trip for this region of the Ozarks. It has billion year-old rock on one end of the trip, a nice jaunt through oak/hickory forests in the middle, and gorgeous lakeside views on the other end. You can start at Council Bluff Lake and end in the Bell Mountain Wilderness, but many prefer to hike in the reverse direction.

If you're doing the trip in two days, there are two spots to consider for camping, near Ottery Creek and near Peter Cave Hollow. Both have good water. You can restock on water and climb up to one of the nearby ridges if you prefer a higher camping spot. Camping is allowed anywhere along the trail, 100' off the trail, while practicing leave-no-trace.

Don't forget to take one the side trails near the summit of Bell for a spectacular vista of the St. Francois Mountains!
Trail Conditions
It's always a good idea to know if there are any problems before you go. Make sure you check out our Trail Conditions page for the latest information.
Boat Launch at Council Bluff Lake
Boat Launch at Council Bluff Lake
Trip Summary
Trip Type:
Point to Point

Distance:
21.6 Miles

Reversible:
Yes

Rating:
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Hiking
Map Information
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