The bulk of this route is along the Middle Fork section, with a bit of the Trace Creek and Karkaghne sections tacked-on to create a 30-mile hike. To the north you get great lakeside views and to the south you've got good facilities at Brushy Creek Lodge.
The northern part of this trip follows the shoreline of Council Bluff Lake and connects to the Ozark Trail via a short spur trail, just past some beaver dams. A few miles of the Trace Creek connects Council Bluff with the Middle Fork section, and its contoured, winding trail, up and down the ridges and hollows of the headwaters of the Black River. You'll find pine, oak, hickory, sassafras, dogwood, and paw-paws, surrounding spring-fed rock-bottomed brooks, a small waterfall, and a wetland that is home to the endangered Hines Emerald Dragonfly. You'll may also see spring wildflowers and the occasional beaver, deer, turkey, and hawk.
This route has a short road hike between Highway J and Brushy Creek (the creek, not the Lodge). Watch for signs along the creek crossing, which is a little overgrown. This trip has a short section of the Karkaghne, between Brushy Creek and the turnoff to Brush Creek Lodge.
There are four key intersections along this route, so bring a map and printed itinerary to make sure you make the correct turns.
Shared By: Justin Moore