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Missouri State Parks

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USA Parks
Southeast Region
Hartshorn State Forest
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Hartshorn State Forest, located in south-central Missouri, is a pristine woodland oasis encompassing approximately 1,128 acres of natural beauty. The forest boasts an impressive diverse ecosystem with rolling hills, dense forests of hardwood trees, and sparkling streams. Visitors can explore miles of scenic trails that wind through lush meadows, offering opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and wildlife observation. With its tranquil ambiance and serene atmosphere, Hartshorn State Forest provides a tranquil retreat for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike, allowing them to disconnect from the noise of everyday life and immerse themselves in the picturesque charm of Missouri's wilderness.
History of the Area
The area that is now Hartshorn State Forest was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, primarily the Osage and Delaware tribes. They utilized the land for hunting and gathering, as well as for cultural and spiritual purposes.

In the early 1800s, European settlers began moving into the region. The land was used for agriculture and logging, as the forests provided valuable timber resources. The settlers established small communities and cleared the land for farming.

By the late 19th century, the land had been heavily logged, and the forests were rapidly diminishing. Recognizing the importance of conservation, the state of Missouri began acquiring land to establish state forests. In 1937, the state purchased a large portion of the Hartshorn area and designated it as a state forest.

The forest was named after Earl P. Hartshorn, who served as Missouri's Conservation Commissioner from 1933 to 1955. Under Hartshorn's leadership, the state made significant efforts to preserve and restore forests and wildlife habitats.

Hartshorn State Forest has been managed for multiple purposes, including timber production, wildlife habitat preservation, research, and public recreation. The forest provides various recreational opportunities such as hiking, camping, hunting, and fishing.

Hartshorn State Forest covers approximately 7,300 acres and is managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Its diverse ecosystem includes oak-hickory forests, glades, and streams, providing a home to numerous plant and animal species.
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1. Pine Ridge Trail: This is a 4-mile loop trail that offers moderate difficulty, with an elevation gain of about 400 feet. It winds through dense pine forests and provides stunning views over the surrounding countryside.

2. Hartshorn River Walk: A relatively easy hike along the banks of Jacks Fork River, this trail stretches for approximately two miles one way and features beautiful river scenery as well as opportunities to spot wildlife such as deer or beavers.

3. Oak Hollow Pathway: At just under three miles long, this moderately difficult path takes hikers on a journey through lush oak groves before reaching its highest point where panoramic vistas await.

4. Wildflower Way Loop: As suggested by its name, this short but sweet half mile walk showcases some of Missouri's most vibrant wildflowers in springtime while also offering glimpses into local bird species' habitats throughout all seasons.

5. Cedar Creek Crossing Trail: An adventurous five-mile trek which includes several creek crossings (some without bridges), steep inclines/declines and thick cedar forest sections; it's recommended only for experienced hikers due to challenging terrain conditions at times.

6. Bluff Overlook Track: About six-miles round trip, this strenuous uphill climb rewards those who undertake it with breathtaking bluff-top panoramas overlooking vast expanses below - perfect place for sunset viewing!

7. Sycamore Springs Circuit: Approximately four miles long featuring gentle slopes making it suitable even beginners ; highlights include passing near natural springs area filled sycamores trees providing cool shade during hot summer days.

8. Ridge Runner Ramble: One longest trails within park stretching eight full length taking you across varied landscapes including hardwood forests ridges valleys alike giving true sense wilderness experience.

9. Fern Gully Footpath: Just shy two distance yet packed plenty scenic beauty small waterfalls fern-covered gullies hence earning itself moniker 'Fern Gully'.

10. Bear Hollow Trail: This is a 7-mile loop trail that takes you through dense forest, across small streams and past an old bear den site. It's moderately difficult with some steep sections.

11. Meadow View Path: A gentle two mile stroll perfect for families or those looking for less strenuous activity; it winds its way around open meadows providing ample opportunities to spot local wildlife such as deer, rabbits and various bird species.

12. Wildcat Ridge Route: An adventurous three miles one-way hike leading up onto ridge offering expansive views surrounding area including glimpses Jacks Fork River distance below ; be prepared challenging inclines along route!

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Area Campgrounds
Montauk State Park
345 County Road 6670
Salem, MO

1. Start by getting on I:44 E from Market Street.
2. Continue driving on I:44 E for approximately 100 miles until you reach Exit 186A-B toward Rolla/Salem.
3. Take exit 186B to merge onto US:63 S towards Houston/Summersville and continue for about 60 miles.
4. Once you arrive in Summersville, turn right onto MO:H Highway/MO Hwy H (signs for Hartshorn).
5. Follow this road southbound for around 6 miles until you see signs directing you to Hartshorn State Forest.

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Missouri State Parks