The 9,143-acre Bell Mountain Wilderness is part of the St. Francois Mountains, one of the oldest landforms in North America. This is mostly old-growth, oak and hickory forest, with pine and elm, grassy glades, and granite outcroppings. The rugged 12-mile Bell Mountain Trail (rated More Difficult) is recommended for experienced hikers only. Steep slopes are encountered throughout the area. Elevations on the trail range from 1,702 feet, at the peak of Bell Mountain, to 970 feet at the base, in the area of Joe's Creek. Groups are limited to a maximum of 10 people, to help protect wilderness values.
Horses are allowed; no motorized/mechanical transportation allowed. No camping within 100 feet of trails and water.
Shut-in Creek, a year-round, spring-fed stream, crosses this area; there are several shut-ins along its path. The U.S. Congress designated the Bell Mountain Wilderness in 1980.
ALERT: Feral hogs are degrading the natural habitat within the Bell Mountain Wilderness. The Missouri Conservation Department asks all hunters who encounter a feral hog to shoot it on sight.
Two crucial rules: 1> Do Not Carry in Your Own Firewood! (Moving firewood around the country spreads forest pests like the Emerald Ash Borer and Gypsy Moth.) 2> On and near any waterway, glass containers and glass bottles of any kind, and all foam-type food and beverage coolers are prohibited by Missouri law.
Note: the address and phone shown are for the Mark Twain National Forest office responsible for this wilderness area; however, the map pointer indicates the approximate location of this Wilderness Area.