Hiking & bicycling in the 1.5 million acres of the Mark Twain National Forest

Headlines are quick hits from media outlets from Missouri and around the world. Follow the headline link for the full story. The source of this headline says:

The Mark Twain National Forest, with over 1.5 million acres spread across a good part of central and southern Missouri, is one of the state's hidden recreational gems.

Whether you're looking for a day hike, multi-day backpacking trip, mountain bike day trip or multi-day bikepacking trip, gravel riding, or road riding, the millions of acres of remote backcountry in Mark Twain National Forest has got you covered.

If you've ever ridden on the Berryman Trail--Missouri's most popular mountain biking destionat--or the Ozark Trail, you've already been in Mark Twain National Forest.

But it can be hard to find out accurate information about trails, camping, and destinations in MTNF.

Here are a few resources that help:

TOPOGRAPHICAL OVERVIEW MAPS

MTNF topgraphical maps for each of the 9 national forest districts in Missouri:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/mtnf/maps-pubs/?cid=stelprdb5199809&w...

These maps provide a good overview of what is available in each district.

MOTOR VEHICLE USE MAPS

The motor vehicle use maps show roads open to motor vehicle use. If a road is shown on this map, you can be sure that it exists and is usable (though the road may be paved OR gravel--and the maps don't always allow you to tell which is which):

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mtnf/maps-pubs/?cid=fsm8_045644

THE BEST: FOREST SERVICE ONLINE MAPS

Finally, the Forest Service online maps are perhaps the most all-around useful:

https://www.fs.fed.us/ivm/

Many of the forest service areas are covered on Google maps and other online maps. However, for areas within the Forest Service boundaries, this Forest Service map is the most accurate for locating trails and forest roads.

Generally speaking, trails and roads, including gravel roads, that are on these maps exist and are usable.

Other online mapping services include some roads and trails that do not actually exist or are no longer open. And they miss many of the Forest Service roads and trails that do exist.

So within the forest Service boundaries, this is you best map option.

WHAT'S COMING

Mark Twain National Forest is currently working to update trail information and make trail maps and other helpful aids more available. Stay tuned.