Having summited Taum Sauk Mountain
and hiked to Mina Sauk Falls
a few times previously, I decided to
grab my handy topo map and do some exploring of the area below Mina Sauk Falls and possibly summit
and Wildcat Mountain
On the way to the Taum Sauk Mountain trailhead I made a brief side trip to the fire tower
to the south.
Once at the trailhead I quickly visited the Missouri high point and then proceeded to hike the Ozark Trail
to Mina Sauk Falls. Within a half hour I arrived at the upper falls
. I decided to do some minor off-trail
scrambling to get to the base of the upper falls to get a picture of the final ten foot drop
of this nice little
Mina Sauk Falls
I then proceeded downstream to the top of the lower falls. This is a
special place for my wife Julie and I. When we first met I asked her
if she would like to go hiking sometime and she accepted (how
romantic!). I took her to Mina Sauk Falls to see the fall colors
thing led to another.
On this particular trip I scrambled down the cliffs/boulders to check
out the middle portion
of the lower falls. I then scrambled to the
base of the falls
and took a short breather and soaked my feet in the
cool water and enjoyed a snack.
From here the real adventure began as I was now in new territory! I headed downstream to a fork
Taum Sauk Creek and followed it back upstream along the west slopes of Taum Sauk Mountain to some
and a nice little waterfall. I scrambled to the top of the shut-ins
and decided to retrace my
steps back down to the fork and find the Ozark Trail.
I found the Ozark Trail downstream from the base of the falls. After about a
half hour I arrived at the Devil's Tollgate
- a nice little rock formation
middle of the forest through which the Ozark Trail passes. I then followed the
Ozark Trail for an hour or so and after crossing Taum Sauk Creek and climbing
to the south shoulder
of Proffit Mountain I left the Ozark trail and headed
north to the high point
From Profit Mountain I bushwacked cross country eastward towards Wildcat
Mountain. After passing the Profit/Wildcat saddle
and climbing for a while I
arrived at the west base of the Devil's Wall
on Wildcat Mountain. The Devil's
Wall is a steep boulderfield that guards the west and south faces of Wildcat
Mountain. I proceeded with hesitation up the Devil's Wall - this looked like
rattlesnake central with tons of south facing rocks and crevices. I was
relieved upon topping out on Devil's Wall and strolled over easy slopes to
the high point
of Wildcat Mountain.
From Wildcat Mountain I bushwacked over relatively easy terrain to the Wildcat/Taum Sauk saddle
eventually came to the loop trail to Mina Sauk Falls and followed it back to the Taum Sauk trailhead.
This was a great adventure combining a popular trail with several miles of off-trail tracking to see some
Taum Sauk areas that are rarely visited. One of my favorite trips in the Midwest!
Disclaimer: A few of the pictures linked to in this report were taken by me on different trips than the one