Sure we could have done it the easy way, but why? This way takes longer and hurts more for the same payoff…
The answer is, this trail is one of the best I have ever done in this great state. Sure, we started out 2 miles short of the real trailhead because I was sure that we were at the right parking lot. Sure, when we reached our destination of Rocky Creek Falls we realized that there was a parking lot about 500 feet away from the falls, and a nice elderly couple was enjoying the same view we had just hiked 12 miles to see. But it didn’t matter because the trail was well built, water was plentiful, the views along the way were fantastic, and the payoff of the falls was well worth the hike.
When we hit this trail in April 2011, every creek was flowing nicely, and though the leaves weren’t all the way back on the trees, green was starting to creep back from the Missouri winter. A perfect time for a hike!
We started from the Powder Mill Campground and hit the trail, which is a section of the Ozark Trail (OT). It starts out following the path of the Current River, one of Missouri’s most beautiful rivers in my opinion. It climbs up and drops down through the hills that overlook its path which creates many opportunities for pictures and refilling those water bottles.
Eventually the trail cuts away from the river, and you start gaining altitude. It continues to follow many creeks, and there are numerous crossings Glen and I brought water shoes to carry outside of our packs to avoid getting our socks wet while fording the many creek crossings.
The trail comes to this old mill house sitting on a creek. This was the most treacherous creek crossing for us. Though the water isn’t moving too fast, most of the rocks are pretty slick under the water, and a wet backpack is a heavy backpack.
The boater in me really enjoyed the next few miles of the hike. The creek that the trail follows goes through some impressive shut-ins and made for nice background noise. Obviously water was abundent as well, which was one of the nicest things about the hike. We were never in doubt of whether we would have a good source to fill up our water bottles.
Finally the trail towards Rocky Creek Falls cuts off from the OT, and we were at our destination. As I said before there is a parking lot that serves this waterfall (which was news to us), but this did little to ruin the feeling of reaching the finish. We found a great established campsite not far from the falls and enjoyed the rest of the day.
The next day we made our way back the way we had come, and there was some discussion about who parked the car in the wrong place. I think I ended up being in the right because when we got back to the car we noticed another short trail to Blue Spring that feeds into the Current River. After dropping the packs this trail was a cinch and is well worth the extra mileage.