Taum Sauk to Bell Mountain Short Cut?

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Taum Sauk to Bell Mountain Short Cut?

Postby friskyspatula » Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:51 pm

A friend and I will be going from Taum Sauk Trailhead to (hopefully) the Bell Mountain North trailhead, over essentially 3 days (Thursday late afternoon, Friday, Saturday, Sunday morning), probably camp the first night at Taum Sauk Creek before the trail turns north. We will really have to boogie Friday and Saturday. After referencing the maps and calling the Johnson's Shut Ins Park office it looks like at least 2 miles could be shaved off by coming down the Scour Trail (hwy N trailhead) then cutting across to the Goggins Mountain trailhead, then go back up to the Taum Sauk Trail.

It looks like Taum Sauk Creek to Johnson's shut ins campground is about 10 miles, would that be a good place to stop on Friday night? Looks like next 10 miles would take us to the Taum Sauk/Bell Mountain connector for a Saturday night, then 6 miles out to Bell Mountain North for Sunday morning.

Is this a good idea? Will this save distance, but not necessarily time?

Thanks in advance!
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Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:28 pm

Re: Taum Sauk to Bell Mountain Short Cut?

Postby Jim » Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:54 am

1) Is this short cut good. Yes. There is a paved trail from the Hwy N Bridge to the JSI campground as seen on this google Map.
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Johns ... 6259?hl=en

For my vote I would change up the route to get the best views and hiking.

1) Thursday Afternoon - Start at Bell North TH. Hike to Bell Summit - Mile Marker 4 - Camp. Enjoy the views of the rolling St Francois Mtns you will walk over the next day or two.
No water available on top of Bell.

2) Friday Hike to Googins Trail instersection - Mile Marker #9 (This would be about 10 miles for the day.) There is a nice campsite at this location with a view in the valleys to the west. Another mile south and a great view opens from a glade to the southwest. I would camp at MM #9 though.
Water fill options on the way to Goggins. Worst case get to Goggins and drop your gear set up camp and hike to the JSI campground for water...*ice cream if the campground store is open.

3) Saturday Hike to Black River ~7 miles There is a rock campfire ring near the trail split. The blue trail goes toward JSI on the west side of the river. Spend Saturday evening exploring up and down the river. http://www.ozarktrail.com/maps/detailed/TaumSauk2.jpg

4) Sunday - Wake up slow and finish about 4 miles out to the Scour TH. If ya really want to score the Taum Sauk mtn peak... I would drive over there on the way out of town. Do the short loop hike to mina-sauk falls and back to the car before heading home. http://www.ozarktrail.com/maps/detailed/TaumSauk3.jpg

The views from Bell/Goggins and up through JSI far out weight the views from Taum Sauk headed north to JSI.
Overall you could have 22-27 miles depending on how much exploring you do along the river and if you picked up Taum Sauk Mtn.

In summary - The hiking on Taum Sauk is much slower than other OT sections. Very rocky, tough on the ankles. consider this to be the 1.5 mph walking pace...slower if your stretching your current pre-spring fitness. ;)

Bell has awesome Moon rise if you can catch one that comes up after sunset. example - 4/13/17 Waning Gibbous, 95% visible Moonrise 10PM. However - Also calling for 80% chance of rain each day that weekend.... walking this trip in the rain....been there done that...lightning is scary $hit on top of Bell Mtn.... pss...wont hike it again in the rain. the rocks are slippery.
keep an eye on the forcast - It is subject to change by day of...
If you have any more questions - feel free to throw them out here.
Happy Trails!
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Location: O'Fallon, MO

Re: Taum Sauk to Bell Mountain Short Cut?

Postby friskyspatula » Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:39 pm

Thanks for the input, I will talk if over with my friend.

One of our big factors will definitely be weather. I used to live in Rolla so I know storms can blow up very fast down there.
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Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:28 pm

Re: Taum Sauk to Bell Mountain Short Cut?

Postby Homespun » Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:28 am

The JSI to Goggins Mountain is a shortcut and the way I've taken the couple of times I've gone that way. Horse trail but not extensively used. From there East are two options, crossing a bridge near the JSI campground and heading East on the trail to Taum Sauk or going South through the park,wet crossing the Black River south of the Day Area Store and that path goes north to connect with the trail East to Taum Sauk. Made a round trip myself, one way going and the other returning.
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