Wappapello Lake Section of the Ozark Trail In Missouri

Here is everything you need to know about the Wappapello Lake Section of the Ozark Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Missouri
  • Length: 31 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Permit Required?: No.
  • Website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mtnf/recarea/?recid=21758

The Wappapello Lake Section of the Ozark Trail holds a significant historical background that dates back several centuries. The area surrounding Wappapello Lake was once inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Osage and Shawnee. These tribes relied on the abundant natural resources provided by the region, such as the fertile land for agriculture and the nearby rivers for transportation and fishing.

During the 19th century, European settlers began to explore and settle in the area. The construction of the St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad in the late 1800s further facilitated the development of the region. The railroad brought an influx of settlers, leading to the establishment of towns and communities in the vicinity of Wappapello Lake.

In the early 20th century, the construction of the Wappapello Dam and Reservoir project began. The dam was built on the St. Francis River to control flooding and provide a reliable water supply for the surrounding communities. The creation of Wappapello Lake in 1941 resulted in the displacement of several families and the flooding of numerous historical sites.

Today, the Wappapello Lake Section of the Ozark Trail serves as a reminder of the area’s rich history. Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts can explore the trail and discover remnants of the past, such as old homesteads, abandoned logging sites, and traces of Native American settlements. The trail offers a unique opportunity to connect with the region’s historical roots and appreciate the natural beauty that has attracted people to this area for centuries.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Wappapello Lake Dam Trailhead
2. Redman Creek Recreation Area Trailhead
3. Chaonia Landing Trailhead
4. Greenville Recreation Area Trailhead
5. Lake Wappapello State Park Trailhead
6. Lost Creek Conservation Area Trailhead
7. Mingo National Wildlife Refuge Trailhead
8. Duck Creek Conservation Area Trailhead
9. Otter Slough Conservation Area Trailhead
10. Big Oak Tree State Park Trailhead

Transportation Available

1. Wappapello Lake Marina – Full-service marina offering boat rentals and water taxi services.
2. Ozark Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service providing transportation to various trailheads along the Ozark Trail.
3. Wappapello Lake State Park – Park offering boat rentals and a boat ramp for easy access to the lake.
4. Wappapello Lake Campground – Campground with RV and tent sites, conveniently located near the lake.
5. Wappapello Lake Cabins – Cabin rentals near the lake, providing a comfortable stay for visitors.
6. Wappapello Lake Fishing Guide – Professional fishing guide service offering guided fishing trips on the lake.
7. Wappapello Lake RV Park – RV park with full hookups and amenities, perfect for travelers with recreational vehicles.
8. Wappapello Lake Jet Ski Rentals – Rental service providing jet skis for thrilling water adventures on the lake.
9. Wappapello Lake Kayak Rentals – Rental service offering kayaks for exploring the scenic waters of the lake.
10. Wappapello Lake Bike Rentals – Bike rental service for those looking to explore the surrounding trails and scenic areas.


The amenities available at the Wappapello Lake Section of the Ozark Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available for visitors to use.

2. Parking: There are designated parking areas for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: The Wappapello Lake Section of the Ozark Trail offers camping sites for overnight stays. These sites may have amenities such as fire pits, picnic tables, and access to water.

4. Picnic Areas: There are designated picnic areas where visitors can enjoy outdoor meals and gatherings. These areas may have picnic tables, grills, and trash receptacles.

5. Hiking Trails: The Ozark Trail offers various hiking trails for visitors to explore the natural beauty of the area.

6. Fishing: Wappapello Lake is known for its fishing opportunities. Visitors can enjoy fishing from the shore or by boat.

7. Boating: The lake allows boating activities, including motorized and non-motorized boats. There may be boat ramps and docks available for launching and mooring.

8. Swimming: Some areas of Wappapello Lake may be suitable for swimming, but it is important to check for any specific regulations or safety guidelines.

9. Wildlife Viewing: The Wappapello Lake Section of the Ozark Trail provides opportunities for wildlife viewing. Visitors may spot various bird species, deer, and other wildlife.

10. Interpretive Centers: There may be interpretive centers or visitor centers where visitors can learn more about the natural and cultural history of the area.

Please note that amenities may vary, and it is always recommended to check with the local authorities or park management for the most up-to-date information before planning a visit.

Nearby Services

1. Wappapello Lake State Park – Offers camping, cabins, and RV sites near the lake.
2. Lake Wappapello Lodge – Lakeside lodge with comfortable accommodations and scenic views.
3. Wappapello Motel – Budget-friendly motel with basic amenities and easy access to the lake.
4. Wappapello Lake Campground – Campsites with electric hookups and access to hiking trails.
5. Wappapello Lake Marina – Provides boat rentals, fishing supplies, and a small convenience store.
6. Wappapello Lake Restaurant – Casual dining spot serving American cuisine with lake views.
7. Wappapello Lake Bait Shop – Offers live bait, fishing gear, and snacks for anglers.
8. Wappapello Lake Visitor Center – Provides information about the area, maps, and trail guides.
9. Wappapello Lake Ranger Station – Emergency services and assistance for visitors in need.
10. Wappapello Lake Medical Clinic – Nearby medical facility for any emergency medical needs.

Wappapello Lake Section of the Ozark Trail Difficulty Notes

The Wappapello Lake Section of the Ozark Trail presents a moderate level of difficulty for hikers. This section spans approximately 35 miles and offers a diverse terrain that includes rolling hills, dense forests, and occasional steep inclines. While the trail is generally well-maintained, hikers should be prepared for some rocky and uneven sections. Additionally, the trail can become muddy and slippery after rainfall, making it necessary to exercise caution. Overall, the Wappapello Lake Section provides a challenging yet rewarding hiking experience for those seeking to explore the beauty of the Ozark region.

Features And Attractions

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Usage Guidelines

– Pets must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
– Hunting is not allowed within the Wappapello Lake Section of the Ozark Trail.
– Fishing is allowed, but a valid fishing license is required.
– Camping is permitted only in designated camping areas.
– Campfires are allowed only in designated fire rings or grills.
– Do not damage or remove any plants, trees, or wildlife.
– Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
– Bicycles are allowed only on designated bike trails.
– Respect seasonal restrictions, such as closures during hunting seasons.
– Pack out all trash and leave no trace of your visit.
– Follow all posted signs and regulations.

Seasonal Information

The Wappapello Lake Section of the Ozark Trail is a stunning destination that offers a variety of outdoor activities and breathtaking natural beauty. The best times of the year to visit this section of the trail are during the spring and fall seasons. During these times, the weather is mild, and the foliage is vibrant, creating a picturesque backdrop for hiking, biking, and camping.

In the spring, the Wappapello Lake Section comes alive with blooming wildflowers and lush greenery. The temperatures are pleasant, ranging from the 60s to 70s Fahrenheit, making it ideal for outdoor exploration. Hikers can enjoy the refreshing breeze and the tranquil sounds of nature as they traverse the trail. Additionally, springtime brings an abundance of wildlife, including migratory birds, making it a perfect time for birdwatching enthusiasts.

During the fall, the Wappapello Lake Section transforms into a kaleidoscope of colors as the leaves change to vibrant hues of red, orange, and gold. The temperatures are cooler, ranging from the 50s to 60s Fahrenheit, creating a comfortable environment for outdoor activities. Hikers can immerse themselves in the beauty of the changing seasons and witness the stunning landscapes that the Ozark Trail has to offer.

It is important to note that the Wappapello Lake Section of the Ozark Trail may have seasonal closures or restrictions. During the winter months, the trail may be closed due to inclement weather conditions, such as snow or ice. It is advisable to check with the local authorities or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who manage the Wappapello Lake area, for any closures or restrictions before planning your visit. By staying informed, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on the trail.


1. Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to trailheads and facilities for individuals with disabilities.
2. Accessible Restrooms: Restrooms equipped with accessible features such as grab bars, wide doorways, and accessible sinks.
3. Accessible Trails: Wheelchair-friendly trails with smooth surfaces, gentle slopes, and wider pathways to accommodate mobility devices.
4. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with accessible tables, benches, and grills for individuals with disabilities.
5. Accessible Campsites: Campsites designed to accommodate individuals with disabilities, featuring accessible tent pads, picnic tables, and fire rings.
6. Accessible Fishing Piers: Fishing piers with accessible features such as lowered railings, accessible seating, and fishing platforms.
7. Accessible Boat Ramps: Boat ramps equipped with accessible features like wider ramps, handrails, and accessible docks for launching boats.
8. Accessible Visitor Center: A visitor center with accessible entrances, ramps, and exhibits designed to accommodate individuals with disabilities.
9. Accessible Interpretive Trails: Interpretive trails with accessible features such as braille signage, tactile elements, and audio descriptions for individuals with visual impairments.
10. Accessible Information: Accessible brochures, maps, and signage with large print, braille, or audio options for individuals with disabilities.

Safety Information

1. Stay on designated trails: Stick to the marked paths to avoid getting lost or damaging the surrounding environment.
2. Carry a map and compass: Ensure you have the necessary tools to navigate the trail and find your way back if needed.
3. Check weather conditions: Stay updated on weather forecasts and avoid hiking during severe weather conditions.
4. Wear appropriate footwear: Use sturdy, comfortable shoes or boots to protect your feet and provide good traction on the trail.
5. Dress in layers: Be prepared for changing weather conditions by wearing layers that can be added or removed as needed.
6. Stay hydrated: Carry enough water to stay hydrated throughout your hike, especially during hot weather.
7. Pack essential supplies: Bring a first aid kit, sunscreen, insect repellent, and any other necessary items for your safety and comfort.
8. Be aware of wildlife: Respect the wildlife and keep a safe distance, avoiding any interactions that could be harmful to you or the animals.
9. Leave no trace: Practice responsible hiking by packing out all trash and leaving the trail and surrounding areas as you found them.
10. Inform someone of your plans: Let a friend or family member know about your hiking plans, including your expected return time, for safety purposes.

Conservation Notes

The Wappapello Lake Section of the Ozark Trail is considered to have a stable conservation status. This section of the trail is located in the southeastern part of Missouri and is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The primary goal of the conservation efforts in this area is to maintain and protect the natural resources and wildlife habitats.

The Wappapello Lake Section is known for its diverse ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, and grasslands. These habitats support a wide range of plant and animal species, some of which are considered rare or endangered. Conservation efforts focus on preserving the integrity of these habitats and ensuring the survival of these species.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in collaboration with other conservation organizations, implements various strategies to protect the Wappapello Lake Section. These strategies include habitat restoration, invasive species management, and monitoring of wildlife populations. Additionally, educational programs and public outreach initiatives are conducted to raise awareness about the importance of conservation and encourage responsible use of the trail.

Overall, the conservation status of the Wappapello Lake Section of the Ozark Trail is considered favorable. The efforts put forth by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other organizations help maintain the ecological balance and ensure the long-term sustainability of this section of the trail.

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