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Wagon Wheel Trailhead Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.7 (6) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

The highlights of this hike include the wagon wheel, some great views, and two crossings of the creek.


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Map Key

3.1

Miles

5.0

KM

Lollipop

843' 257 m

High

687' 210 m

Low

308' 94 m

Up

309' 94 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

19%

Max Grade (11°)

Dogs Leashed

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

Overview

A tree grew up through the iron loop of an old wagon wheel, which is what gives the trailhead its name. This loop includes both blufftop views and easy crossings on limestone bedrock over Gans Creek, making for an enjoyable hike.

Need to Know

Watch for hard right turn at mile 2 (if hiking clockwise). Also, keep an eye out as there are several options after the second creek crossing. Horse riding is allowed on the trail during cetain times of the year.

Description

This is one part of the Gans Creek Main Loop trail system. Wagon wheel is one way downhill from trailhead. Throughout the way, you'll find plenty of great singletrack. Start out on the Gans Creek Main Loop before transitioning to a short connector. Keep an eye out for a final connector heading north to finish the route.

You'll first be making your way along the edge of the bluff, then switchback down to Gans Creek below the same bluff. Cross the creek and then hike back up to the opposite bluff and the best overlook views in the park.

Flora & Fauna

Most of the loop is through mature oak hickory forest. Lots of birds, vireos, tanagers, wood thrush and more.

Contacts

Shared By:

Paul P with improvements by Zac Nixon and 1 other

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 6 votes

#2178

Overall
  4.7 from 6 votes
5 Star
67%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
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2 Star
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1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#10

in Missouri

#2,178

Overall
30 Views Last Month
3,430 Since Apr 22, 2017
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

There are a couple of bluffs off trail that provide excellent views below.  This is one of them.
Dec 6, 2019 near Columbia, MO
One of the few creek-crossings you'll encounter on this loop!
Dec 11, 2019 near Columbia, MO
Leading up the the best lookout point on the loop!
Mar 6, 2020 near Columbia, MO
One of the many bluffs that are climbable!
Dec 11, 2019 near Columbia, MO
Perfect natural bench!
Dec 11, 2019 near Columbia, MO
Looking out off of the first bluff you come to, if you take a left at the fork. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Oct 9, 2018 near Columbia, MO

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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Check-Ins

Jun 19, 2022
Lee Elliott
Nice hike. Twenty-two bird species during hike. 3.5mi — 3h 04m
Jun 3, 2021
Rosie Schauffler
Lots of ticks 3mi
May 29, 2021
Rosie Schauffler
3mi — 1h 26m
Dec 6, 2020
Jeremy D
Nov 3, 2019
Zac Nixon
Low water at creeks currently. Excellent trail, beautiful fall colors and nice lookouts. I never found the wagon wheel, but it was still nice! 3mi — 1h 18m
Oct 18, 2019
No Ordinary Path
Good hike with the kiddos and pup in tow. Pretty Fall colors and a dry trail. Not too crowded on a Friday afternoon. 4mi
Jul 24, 2019
Bonnie Conley
2.7mi — 1h 20m