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Take a hike: St. Francois State Park

St. Francois State Park is located just off U.S. 67 north of Bonne Terre in northern St. Francois County. The park is open year-round and offers four improved trails with great winter hiking views.

According to the state DNR, “Overnight backpacking is available on the 11-mile Pike Run Trail. Backpackers must fill out a trail registration card at the trailhead. Backpackers may camp anywhere along the trail, at least 100 feet off the path and at least one-fourth mile from the trailhead. Campfires are prohibited, and no water is available along the trail. Backpackers should plan to bring a cooking stove and drinking water. Pike Run Trail is also available to equestrian users. The trail parking area will accommodate several large trailers, and hitching posts are provided.”

The park’s trails include:

• Mooner’s Hollow Trail (2.7 miles) which follows the narrow, steep valley of Coonville Creek and its many rugged tributaries. The trail is so named because of the past activity of moonshiners in the area. Coonville Creek is part of the Coonville Creek Natural Area.

• Pike Run Trail (11 miles) traverses much of the undeveloped 2,101-acre Coonville Creek Wild Area. It includes a 6.7-mile southern loop and a 4.3-mile northern loop. The trail is moderate to difficult.

• Swimming Deer Trail (2.7 miles) begins at the east end of the campground and follows the Big River for approximately one mile and circles back along the hillside to its origin. Scenic bluff overlooks offer a panoramic view of the Big River valley.

• Missouri Trail (0.5 mile) is a short hiking trail that skirts the outer edge of the campground and passes through a wide range of vegetative associations. Hikers can view unique glade wildflowers and then experience a scenic open woodland. The trail is easy in difficulty.

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