Avoid when wet
The Moon Loop takes you through a variety of recovering habitats. Some hardwoods, some mixed cedar and native grasses, some areas with invasive autumn olive and honeysuckle and some recovering old field. The area had a hard history of over-use that led the name, referring to sparse vegetation and a moon-like landscape. Much of it is recovering and the trail has received recent attention and clearing. Popular with mountain biking, horses and maybe some illegal atv use. Still a really nice hike.
Need to Know
Trail should be avoided when wet. Ticks are likely severe in the grassy areas during summer. Was very pleasant on a dry day in late September.
From the parking lot, south uphill to an area of cedars where the loop starts. Going clockwise, you'll drop down through hardwoods to the creek. Cross the creek, not the side-trail to the east.
Continue south and wind through nice hardwood forest.The trail runs due west along a fence line and then turns back to the north. Drop into the creek again and then uphill through a large old-field area.
The trail turns back to the east to meet back up the north-south trail to the parking lot.
History & Background
Like most of this section of the Mark Twain National Forest, this area was heavily degraded farmland purchased after the dust-bowl years. The name Moon Loop refers to "the moon-like appearance of the area cause by soil erosion in the 1930s."
Shared By: Paul P