Now is the time to start planning fall and winter hiking adventures. Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR) has a variety of great trails for everyone to enjoy.
Visitors can explore trails independently or can participate in several hiking and trail-building events planned throughout the fall.
The fall hiking season offers special activities nearly every weekend through early November.
Activities and events are free of charge.
• Saturday, Oct. 13 — Join the Ozark Trail Association at Round Spring as they begin building the new hiking trail from Round Spring to Echo Bluff State Park.
Meet in the Round Spring campground at 8 a.m. Saturday morning. Free camping for project volunteers is available in a designated group campsite.
Fall hiking series
• Sunday, Oct. 7 — Fall hike from Owls Bend to Klepzig Mill/Rocky Falls. Meet at the Ozark Trail trailhead located at the end of Shannon County Road 533, south of Owls Bend access, at 10 a.m.
You can hike 5 miles to Klepzig Mill or continue to Rocky Falls for an 8-mile hike.
• Sunday, Oct. 14 — Meet at 10 a.m. on the pedestrian bridge at Round Spring to hike the Round Spring spur trail of the Ozark Trail.
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The guide will be a former resident of the old Lewis Farm, which is located along the trail. This hike will be approximately 4 miles.
• Sunday, Oct. 21 — Enjoy spectacular fall colors along the Cave Spring Trail. Meet at Devils Well at 10 a.m. to hike 2.2 miles to Cave Spring, and then return using the loop trail (2.7 miles) for a total of approximately 5 miles.
• Saturday, Nov. 3 — Meet at Rocky Falls for a brief flag ceremony at 10 a.m. Pack a lunch and hike 2.5 miles on the Ozark Trail to the top of Stegall Mountain. Following lunch, everyone will hike back to Rocky Falls.
Trails have always been an important feature of the community. People in local communities are connected by a system of roads, trails, and water routes.
Trails are also a major attraction for people who visit the ONSR area. Many come to float and paddle on the river trails. Horse enthusiasts travel from great distances to participate in area trail rides.
The Ozark Trail passes through the park and local communities. Volunteer groups attract hundreds of people to build and maintain trails.
Trails are an important part of the local heritage and of the recreational opportunities available in the Ozarks.
According to the American Hiking Society, countless studies and research have consistently shown that regular exercise not only improves a person’s overall health and fitness, but lengthens and improves the quality of life.
Regular physical activity substantially reduces the risk of dying of coronary heart disease, and decreases the risk for colon cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
It also helps to control weight; contributes to healthy bones, muscles, and joints; helps to relieve the pain of arthritis; reduces symptoms, of anxiety and depression; and is associated with fewer hospitalizations and physician visits.
For more information about any of these activities, please contact Dave Tobey at (573) 323-8093, visit the park’s Facebook page, or website at www.nps.gov/ozar.