Our troop recently camped at Johnson Shut-Ins State Park in southern Missouri. While we were there, we took a day trip to Taum Sauk Mountain State Park and hiked the Mina Sauk Falls Trail. View additional photos from the trail.
The trailhead starts near the highest point in Missouri - 1,772 feet above sea level. The highlight of the hike was Mina Sauk Falls. This is the tallest waterfall in Missouri. There were lots of rocks formations around the falls for the Scouts to explore and they all agreed it was a beautiful spot.
For those seeking a backpacking experience, the Ozark Trail runs through the park. We spoke to a group who was hiking from Taum Sauk to Johnson Shut-Ins. They expected they would not make it by nightfall and were planning to camp on the trail. This would be a challenging experience for older Scouts. It is about a 15 mile hike from the trailhead at Taum Sauk to the campground at Johnson Shut Ins.
I’d recommend the trails at Taum Sauk State Park for Scouts. This was a good first hiking experience for our new Scouts. Several of them learned that they did not bring nearly enough water for a 3 mile hike and there were some other comments about what they would do differently next time. So this should prepare them for their longer hike coming up.