North of Arcadia and only a few miles from the highest point in Missouri, Royal Gorge sits just off the side of the road. Its history is both ancient, on the order of 1.5 billion years old volcanic rock — and more recent, with a giant stone and mortar wall constructed during the Great Depression which still supports the roadway. Designated a natural area in 1973, the shut-ins and towering rhyolite outcroppings above Minor Creek are magnificent.
Bell Mountain is one of the most popular backpacking destinations in the state. It's rock fortress towers above a deep chasm with sweeping views to the east which make for a stunning sunrise. Shut-in creek below flows through some of the most rugged backcountry in the state. It's a 600 foot loss in elevation to reach the bottom in a little over 1/3 of a mile. The opposite bank is a near mirror image to the crest of Lindsey Mountain.
The Bell Mountain Trail is usually hiked in a 12 mile lollipop loop beginning at the Highway A trailhead of the Taum Sauk section of the Ozark Trail...The trail is set just to the side of a massive glade with breathtaking views to the east. Little side trails criss cross this entire area of prime backcountry camping real estate. Explore all the sights & sites before setting up camp. Each spot seems prettier than the next.