“Enjoy spectacular views and unique rock formations as you hike through the Ozark forest.”
— Vanessa McKnight
Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Trail closes at dark.
The Yellow Rock Trail takes you through several rock formations that showcase the unique geology of the Ozarks. As you pass through the huge cracks in the rock notice their puzzle like shape and imagine what this area was like when they were all one giant piece.
As you reach the higher elevations of the trail you'll see cedar glades that tell of early settler and Civilian Conservation Corp. life in this area. These glades are likely the result of their impact on this land.
As you walk along this Civilian Conservation Corp. trail you'll come to the highlight of the trail, the Yellow Rock. This bluff sits 300 feet above the valley and offers a panoramic view of the Lee Creek Valley. Each season gives you new sights and reason to come back.
Past the Yellow Rock you'll continue your hike through the oak and hickory woods of the Ozarks. You'll cross several streams and have ample opportunity to view wildlife. Some of the common wildlife observed are White-tailed Deer, Pileated Woodpeckers and Five-lined Skinks.
At the top most part of the trail sits the Civilian Conservation Corp. Overlook. This small pavilion was the first structure built in the park and offers a great opportunity to sit, rest and enjoy the view.
Need to Know
There are several open rocky areas that are very warm in the summer time. Water is strongly recommended for this trail.
There are no fences or guard rails along this trail so be very cautious of the ledges along the trail and at the Yellow Rock.
Plenty of rocks on the trail, often slick in wet weather.
The first half mile of the trail winds through cliffs as you make the initial climb towards the Yellow Rock Overlook. Once you reach the top the trail straightens, during the spring and summer months you remain under the shade of the forest. At the top of the trail, you'll find the parks oldest building, and some excellent views.
You'll make your way back down the same portion of the trail that you finished on, however there will be a fork giving you an option to take the route you didn't come up on, take this path (your direction of choice will depend on which direction you chose at the original fork when you came up the trail).
There is a parking lot at the top of the trail, just as there is an area to park at the lower trailhead, you can start the trail at either point, I recommend the lower trailhead for a fast and fun finish.
Flora & Fauna
You will find many Ozark wildflowers along this trail including Phlox, Yellow Star-grass and Blazing Stars to name a few. Prime wildflower times are from April-August.
In the spring you will see dogwoods, service berry and redbuds in bloom. In the fall you will see all the colors of autumn; orange, red, yellow and browns.
There are great opportunities for wildlife along this trail as well. Deer are frequently seen on the way to the overlook. On the Yellow Rock you will have great views of hawks and vultures especially during migration in the spring and fall.
History & Background
This trail was built by the Civilian Conservation Corp. in the 1930's. It is one of three CCC built trails in the park. You'll see their extensive rock work all along the trail.
The small pavilion at the top of the trail was the first structure the CCC built in the park.