Join Ozark National Scenic Riverways for a variety of hiking opportunities this fall. All activities and events are free of charge.

Now is the time to start planning fall and winter hiking adventures. Ozark National Scenic Riverways has a variety of great trails for everyone to enjoy. Visitors can explore trails independently or can participate in several hiking and trail-building events planned throughout the fall.

The fall hiking season will kick off with activities in the Round Spring area Saturday, Sept. 14, and continue with special activities nearly every weekend through November.

Plan accordingly when hiking or participating in any outdoor recreational activity. Hikers should take weather conditions into consideration and be prepared during all seasons. Drinking water, rain gear, map, snacks, flashlight and emergency supplies for starting a campfire are recommended. Always remember inform someone of your plans.

Trail Activities

• Sept. 14: Fall Kickoff and Trail Celebration

Explore the trails along the Upper Current River with park rangers and volunteers from the Ozark Trail Association, Team River Runner, and Backcountry Horsemen as we prepare for the Fall trail season. Meet at the north end of the pedestrian bridge at Round Spring on Saturday at 9 a.m. to explore the Round Spring Spur of the Ozark Trail. A trail celebration will follow on Saturday evening at the Bluff Top Pavilion at Echo Bluff State Park at 6 p.m.

• Sept. 28: National Public Lands Day Activities

Sept. 28 is National Public Lands Day. We will celebrate by working on several trails in the park. Volunteering on National Public Lands Day is an opportunity to spend time outside with family and friends, connect with neighbors, and enjoy the benefits that come with the satisfaction of giving back. Join us at the Round Spring Ranger Station at 9 a.m. to work on small trail projects in the park. Bring a lunch and enjoy the day outdoors.

• Oct. 19: Ozark Trail Association Mega Trail Building Event at Round Spring

Join the Ozark Trail Association at Round Spring as they finish building the new hiking trail from Round Spring to Echo Bluff State Park. Meet in the Round Spring campground at 8 a.m. Saturday. Free camping is available for volunteers participating in the event.

Fall Hiking Series

• Saturday, Oct. 5: Cedar Grove to Susie Nichols Cabin

John and Susie Nichols built their home in 1910, where Susie lived until her passing in 1959. Today the park has stabilized the structures to preserve the 60-year history of the Nichols Farm. We will meet at Cedar Grove at 10 a.m. This hike is four miles, round trip.

• Sunday, Oct. 13: Haunted Hike on the Round Spring Spur of the Ozark Trail

Meet at 10 a.m. on the pedestrian bridge at Round Spring to hike the Round Spring spur of the Ozark Trail. We will hike to Capps Hollow and visit with ghosts of former residents of the Shannon County Jail in Old Eminence. This hike will be six miles, round trip.

• Sunday, Oct. 20: Fall Colors Hike

Enjoy spectacular fall colors along the Cave Spring Trail. Meet at Devils Well at 10 a.m. to hike 2.2 miles to Cave Spring. We will return using the loop trail (2.7 miles) for a total of approximately five miles.

• Sunday, Oct. 26: Fall Hike from Owls Bend to Klepzig Mill/Rocky Falls

We will meet at the Ozark Trail trailhead located at the end of Shannon County Road 533, south of Owls Bend access, at 10 a.m. You can hike five miles to Klepzig Mill or continue to Rocky Falls for an eight-mile hike. The Ozark Trail Association will provide a one-way shuttle from Rocky Falls to Owls Bend on Sunday morning. Call the Ranger Station at Round Spring at 573-323-8093 for more information.

• Saturday, Nov. 9: Hike to Honor Veterans

We will meet at Rocky Falls for a brief flag ceremony at 10 a.m. Pack a lunch and hike 2.5 miles on the Ozark Trail to the top of Stegall Mountain. Following lunch, we will hike back to Rocky Falls.

• Friday, Nov. 29: “Green Friday” Hike at Prairie Hollow Gorge.

Participants are encouraged to spend the afternoon exploring one of the most scenic areas of Ozark National Scenic Riverways and get away from the bustling stampede of Black Friday shopping. Participants will meet at Alley Spring General Store at 1 p.m. and self-shuttle to Prairie Hollow Gorge. Prairie Hollow Gorge is located on State Highway V east of Eminence. Participants are encouraged to bring sturdy hiking shoes, water bottle and be prepared for moderate hiking for approximately one mile.

Trails have always been an important feature of the community. People in local communities are connected by a system of roads, trails, and water routes. Trails are also a major attraction for people who visit our area. Many come to float and paddle on our river trails. Horse enthusiasts travel from great distances to participate in area trail rides. The Ozark Trail passes through the park and local communities. Volunteer groups attract hundreds of people to build and maintain trails. Trails are an important part of the local heritage and of the recreational opportunities available in the Ozarks today.

“Hiking is more than just fun. It’s good for you, too!” According to the American Hiking Society, countless studies and research have consistently shown that regular exercise not only improves our overall health and fitness, but lengthens and improves the quality of our lives. Regular physical activity substantially reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, and decreases the risk for colon cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. It also helps to control weight; contributes to healthy bones, muscles, and joints; helps to relieve the pain of arthritis; reduces symptoms, of anxiety and depression; and is associated with fewer hospitalizations and physician visits.

For more information, contact Dave Tobey at 573-323-8093, visit the park’s Facebook page, or website at www.nps.gov/ozar.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways preserves the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork Rivers, the surrounding resources, and the unique cultural heritage of the Ozark people.