Hiking trails are plentiful in the Mark Twain National Forest surrounding Twin Bridges. A favorite is the Ridge Runner hiking trail with 26 miles of well marked hiking trails passing Blue Spring, one of the largest springs on the river, traversing the “Devil’s Backbone” which offers panoramic cliff views of the river, and ending of Noblett Lake recreation area.
The forest is dominated by a variety of oaks, hickory and short leaf pine. Dogwood, redbud and wild azaleas give the wilderness a wild burst of color in the spring. Fall isn’t to be outdone when the oaks, sweet gum, and sugar maple put on a show of yellows, oranges and reds.
Scattered limestone glades and other openings provide some of the more favorable places to view wildlife. White-tailed deer, gray squirrel, raccoon, coyote, red and gray fox, bobcat and striped skunk are some of the mammals native to the are Wild turkey, red-tailed hawk, great horned owl, bald eagle, turkey vulture, great blue heron, pileated woodpecker and various songbirds can be seen. Among the reptiles common to the area are two poisonous snakes, the copperhead and eastern timber rattler.
While local climate allows outdoor use year-round, fall and spring are the most pleasant, and not surprisingly more people are out on the trails at that time.
Leave your camp cleaner than you found it. Pack out what you pack in. Animals generally dig up what you bury, so don’t. Dispose of human waste at least 100 feet from campsites, trails and waterways. Dig a shallow hole and cover, nature will biologically decompose.
Wilderness rangers frequently visit trailheads and patrol the interior of the area. They are there to assist you and answer your questions. Have a pleasant wilderness experience and remember, leave only footprints and take only photographs and memories.
Click here for Hiking and Horseback Regulations.