Mark Twain National Forest
Posted on March 14th, 2011
The enormous 1.5 million-acres Mark Twain National Forest that’s scattered over 29 counties in southern and central Missouri does grand justice to its famed namesake.
Clear spring-fed rivers and streams, rocky bluffs, pastoral views and trails shaded by massive oak and hickory trees beckon visitors to explore and enjoy the beauty of the renowned Ozarks. Springtime and early summer offers special treats of blooming dogwood, redbud, serviceberry along with one of the largest collection of plants and wildflowers to be found anywhere in the United States. Autumn brings forth the vivid foliage of maples, smoke trees, oaks and hickories.
There are many choices of scenery and adventure for travelers in the Mark Twain National Forest as it sprawls from the wooded hills and hollows of the St. Francois Mountains in the southeast to dry rocky glades in the southwest. From the north it stretches from the fertile prairie lands along the Missouri River to bald-knobbed mountains in the south that are among the nation’s oldest.
Two especially scenic sections of the national forest—Piney Creek Wilderness and Hercules Glades Wilderness—lie within an easy drive from Branson. Both have excellent trails that meander through some of the most dramatic scenery to be found in Ozark Mountain Country. www.Mark Twain National Forest.com for regulations and permit requirements.