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Whispering Pine - North and South

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.7 (27) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A great loop hike through a mixed hardwood and pine forest with creeks and bluffs.


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Map Key

10.2

Miles

16.4

KM

Loop

919' 280 m

High

591' 180 m

Low

1,011' 308 m

Up

1,006' 307 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

34%

Max Grade (19°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

This hike meanders through a beautiful mixed hardwood and pine forest. Extensive exposures of sandstone and granite can be explored along the banks of Pickle Creek and the River Aux Vases. Mosses and ferns create a luxurious effect on the moist overhangs that occur along the two streams. A hike on the Whispering Pine Trail is especially enjoyable in the spring and winter, but a summer-day hike ending with a cool dip in Pickle Creek or a backpacking trip on a crisp, fall weekend can be equally rewarding.

Need to Know

It can get overgrown in the summer.

Description

When you start the trail, you'll cross two wooden bridges. The trail is signed in a counterclockwise direction with colored arrows. You'll begin on the North Trail (blazed in red arrows) which is 6.5 miles and if you split off halfway through to do the South Trail (blazed in blue arrows) it will add an additional 4 miles.

You'll climb to a bluff with great views over Pickle Creek, this is your first taste of the beauty of this trail. Then continue down and around to a second view of Pickle Creek, you'll hear it rushing by below you. The trail then descends to the creek with a crossing with plenty of rocks to hop across.

The trail follows the creek through a grove of pines and then makes another crossing. It will follow the creek for for a mile or two, then you'll begin your ascent. Once the trail climbs through a rocky outcropping you'll be deep in the pine forest and begin another slow climb. Once you reach the top, there are great views from two points along the ridgeline.

The trail then drops back down and this is where you have the choice to take the addition of the South Trail. It is not as well maintained/traveled as the North Trail but does offer two backpacking camps. There is also a nice cliff that has been cut by the River Aux Vases at the horseshoe bend that the trail follows along.

Once the South Trail rejoins the trail, it drops through a low lying area then climbs back up steeply. There is a nice open area at the top of climb to enjoy the view and take a rest. The trail then drops back down and follows a small feeder creek which is mostly dry in the summer, but active in the spring.

The trail rejoins Pickle Creek across from the main campgrounds and you hike up the bluff line with lots of great views over the tree tops.

Water is not available at the trailhead, but can be obtained at the park office or the campground.

History & Background

Whispering Pine Trail was constructed in 1976 and 1977 with the help of the Ozark Chapter of the Sierra Club. This effort has resulted in what is generally considered to be one of the best hiking and backpacking trails in the state.

Contacts

Shared By:

Michael Schoenewies

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 27 votes

#290

Overall
  4.7 from 27 votes
5 Star
74%
4 Star
22%
3 Star
4%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Missouri

#290

Overall
91 Views Last Month
4,743 Since Jul 3, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult

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13%
42%
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Photos

Trail through the pine forest.
Jul 3, 2016 near Farmington, MO
View along the trail.
Jul 3, 2016 near Farmington, MO
Bluff overlooking Pickle Creek and campground.
Jul 3, 2016 near Farmington, MO
Trail along small creek.
Jul 3, 2016 near Farmington, MO
View along Pickle Creek overlook.
Jul 3, 2016 near Farmington, MO
View of Pickle Creek.
Jul 3, 2016 near Farmington, MO

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 47 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Jun 26, 2020
Beau Maloy
Just as fun as I remember it! The South Loop was a little more overgrown in some spots... but it is summer in the Ozarks after all. 10.4mi — 4h 01m
Jun 6, 2020
Allison Lynnette
May 30, 2020
Guy Dar
North+South loops, parking lot was full had to start back from the office 12mi — 7h 00m
Aug 23, 2019
Cynthia Hahs
Aug 4, 2019
Christopher Gotthelf
4h 11m
Jul 22, 2019
Jason Keilholz
10.2mi
Jun 14, 2019
Krystina G
I hiked with my 8 month old lab/mix puppy. This is a rough time estimate. We got lost once due to a lack of trail blazes on the North Loop, might h… 12mi — 13h 30m
Mar 2, 2019
Ryan Butler