Lake Wappapello State Park

Lake Wappapello State Park

My first hike of 2018 was one of the coldest I have ever done. During the two and a half hour drive to Lake Wappapello State Park the temperature fluctuated between -4° and 3° F, finally settling at 5° by the time I arrived. It warmed up a little while I was there, but not by much. 

Before going to the State Park I planned out my trip using the park map and Google Earth. While considering the longest trail at the park, I found that it travels near  a spot called Chaonia (shaw-nee) Landing. It looked interesting so I decided to make it my first stop on the trip. The landing is actually a resort with cabins, camp sites, and a small marina you can rent boats from.

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Sam A. Baker State Park

Sam A. Baker State Park

The St. Francis Mountains are an ancient range rising from the Ozark plateau. Millions of years of erosion carved away at the volcanic rock creating the many valleys, bluffs, and shut-ins that can be found there today. The land is a beautiful rugged wilderness: hiking through these mountains can feel like you are going back to a time before humans. Sam A. Baker State Park perfectly captures the essence of this area.

At the heart of the park is Mudlick Mountain, one of the significant domes within the St. Francis Mountains. The mountain is surrounded by the largest wilderness preserve in the Missouri state park system. The park features an extensive network of trails that allow visitors to experience the untouched beauty of the Precambrian mountains. There are also many options for backcountry camping, including three shelters built in 1930 by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

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