5 Best Backpack Camping Spots in Missouri

By Kerrie Johnston

5 Best Backpack Camping Spots in Missouri

With Missouri’s magnificent natural features and range of topographies, the state makes for a wonderful place to camp. One of the best ways to connect with nature is through backpacking. So stuff everything you’ll need into your pack and get ready for a truly rustic adventure. Here are the best backpack camping spots in the state. 

1. Mudlick Trail, Patterson, MO

You will experience one of the oldest mountains regions in North America, the St. Francois Mountains, on this beautiful trail in Sam A. Baker State Park. The Mudlick Trail is a rugged hike that is nearly 17 miles in length and winds mostly through the Mudlick Mountain Wild Area, one of Missouri’s most significant landscapes. Hikers will find this park’s first backpack camp area at Mudlick Hollow, which is about three miles down Mudlick Trail.

2. Peewah Trail, Jackson, MO

The challenging, nine-mile Peewah Trail at Trail of Tears State Park in Jackson, Missouri, is broken up into an east loop and a west loop. This popular trail explores the 1,300-acre Indian Creek Wild Area, one of the most rugged areas of the Mississippi River hills. While visitors to Peewah Trail enjoy sightings of eagles, snakes, turkey, and white-tailed deer, they need to be aware of possible downed trees, briars, poison ivy, and ticks.

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3. Turkey Pen Hollow Trail, Camdenton, MO

Only hikers and backpackers are allowed on this popular trail at Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Camdenton, Missouri. Turkey and deer are often spotted on the rugged 6.5-mile Turkey Pen Hollow Trail as it takes visitors past a variety of landscapes, a large sinkhole, and a primitive backpack camping area.

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4. Lake Wappapello Trail, Williamsville, MO

Lake Wappapello Trail is a moderate, almost 13-mile-long trail at Lake Wappapello State Park in Williamsville, Missouri. Counterclockwise travel is recommended on Lake Wappapello Trail and certain parts are closed to overnight camping. Visitors to this beautiful area are treat to scenic views of wildlife and landscapes.

5. Pine Ridge Trail, Park Hills, MO

This 12.6-mile trail is located in Park Hills, Missouri, and is rated as moderate. From natural surface of dirt to really rocky sections, visitors will experience a variety of beautiful terrain on the Pine Ridge Trail at St. Joe State Park. Sections of this trail wind through pine trees while others take hikers through typical woodlands on their way to the trails designated backpack camp.

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