“The 16,227-acre Irish Wilderness is found in the Ozark Mountains of southern Missouri.”
— Barry Hudson
Cave · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Wildlife
No water available at the trailhead.
The trail begins at the Camp Five Pond trailhead and makes about an 18-mile loop. This trail is adjacent to the Eleven Point River.
Heading westerly, at about eight miles in, you come to Bliss Spring. It's a beautiful little waterfall bubbling straight out of the bottom of a near vertical wall of rock with a nice little area to camp. Up the trail just a bit is a short spur trail that comes to an old homestead where the only thing still standing is a chimney and cistern.
The trail then heads up the bluff (a moderate climb) to a great vista overlooking the Eleven Point River. The next few miles follow a ridge that circles around Orchard Hollow. After a couple of miles along the ridge, you steeply descend to White's Creek.
There are a series of very small caves, which make exciting points to stop for a break. Just a bit down the trail, there's a spur that leads to White's Creek Float Camp. There are picnic tables, hang posts and fire rings. This area can only be accessed by foot or canoe.
Back to the trail, it's a good climb out of the river bottoms where you'll run across White's Creek cave. There are bars across the entrance of the cave that are used to protect the bat population from human interference.
There is one other spur about six miles before the trailhead. This is Fiddler Spring, which is a small bubbling spring adjacent to a nice camp area. Back on the trail, it's a gradual climb back to the trailhead.
NOTE: Be sure to bring a map and compass, even better, a handheld GPS or the Hiking Project mobile app because this trail is sparsely marked and it's very easy to get off trail.
Flora & Fauna
Hickory, White Oak, Pine, Cedar, Sycamore, dogwood, persimmon, sassafras and various species of mushrooms. The critters are many, including White Tail deer, Turkey, Bald Eagle, Bobcat, Coyote, Raccoon and I even encountered feral hogs while hiking.