Pavement Ends
James Baughn

Black Mountain: Missouri's tallest challenge

Posted Sunday, August 4, 2013, at 11:17 PM


View 5 comments or respond
Community discussion is important, and we encourage you to participate as a reader and commenter. Click here to see our Guidelines. We also encourage registered users to let us know if they see something inappropriate on our site. You can do that by clicking "Report Comment" below.
  • Sounds like a place to visit, as you suggested, in the winter.

    -- Posted by tuffoldbird on Mon, Aug 5, 2013, at 12:04 AM
  • Thanks for the pics and report from the summit of Black Mtn. I've been up the falls but never made it to the peak.

    -- Posted by halffasthiker on Mon, Aug 5, 2013, at 5:25 AM
  • I completed this hike with several others in late winter last year. Same route, except some of us went up the right side of the falls. Fun, but some minor rock climbing required.

    I think the best views we had were from the top of the falls looking east, but we didn't find the glades on top looking south.

    All in all, one of the best hikes I've done in the Midwest.

    I've been looking into the possibility of continuing northwest from the summit and eventually meeting and exiting down Rock Creek. It would require a short car shuttle though.

    -- Posted by evanpederson on Thu, Jan 7, 2016, at 4:30 AM
  • I spent the today (March 5, 2016) hiking up to Black Mt. My heart got a great workout. The first part of the hike is amazing! I followed the creek up to near the top of the mt.; then bushwacked on up to the top; I found the logging road as I came back down, and followed it back down to where it intersected the creek; then followed the creek back down to the car. I took some great pictures too.

    -- Posted by hikingpastor on Sat, Mar 5, 2016, at 7:30 PM
  • having ascended Black Mountain since I was about 10 years old (1954), from the southern side @ E hwy, where the river parts and fields open up on the left across from the mountain, I am extremely familiar with both the terrain and some of the history.

    It might be that you ascended from what is locally called the "Shut-ins", below which, in the St. Francis River you will find several enormous boulders, apparently fallen from the area in question. Farther along from there, a road meets the main highway from the east and proceeds to other farms across what is called "Little Rock Creek".

    The open fields north and south of that intersection and some of the mountain to the north are part of what once was the Shoemaker Place, where John Shoemaker settled in the late 19th Century, build a solid house that lasted into the 1990's until torn down to accommodate a mobile home which no longer is there (long story). Now I believe one of the Ellis Brothers (who run a battery store near Imperial, north of Festus/Crystal City) owns it -- he did about a decade ago.

    From this area it is easiest to ascend the mountain. An old logging trail ascends almost vertically from this point and then disappears; but you will traverse several grassy glades dotting an elevation. Continue ascending until you reach the ranger road the circles the mountain. At a glade where a pine tree has been cut down by some destructive individual(s), the road ascends steeply, winding somewhat until it reaches the saddle, where between the two peaks, Forest Rangers some time ago dug out a pond for the wildlife, mainly whitetail deer, and which has water in it during the dryest summers. The road does end, with several trees having fallen across it due to an extremely rare tornado twisting over the mountain and down to the river.

    The summit is a US Geodetic Survey "triangulation point", with 3 brass markers set in granite rocks there. The one large flat rock contains one, very easily found, and the "ridge" of rock going to the north had one at its end. The third lies along the trail near the PVC tube holding the climbers' log and is somewhat hard to locate, although it also is imbedded in a limestone rock. Traveling west from there once was continuation of the ranger road, passing another granite glade strewn with rocks, some of which once were arranged in a peace sign. From there you can see for quite a distance over the hills and catch a glimpse, I think, of the bridge over the river far to the north. If you did ascend from the waterfall, you will notice a large glade on either side of the stream that constantly runs down there, and then gravel glades along that, and you should spy ring-necked lizards that skutter about both on four legs and on two.

    Now, from the summit, returning south past the lower peak on the saddle, you might come across fruit trees, because an orchard was planted there late 19th, early 19th century -- which persisted until the 1960's. If any trees exist there now, they would be from the seeds of the older trees.

    A farm stood I would suppose near the stream that issues from the gully between the peaks, for legend was that a man had a farm around the spring that feeds is and I don't know, but maybe a foundation for a house might lie there.

    I hope that helps. Ask questions if you have them - no guarantee of an answer.

    -- Posted by dalemaxcannon on Mon, Feb 13, 2017, at 1:32 PM