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Natural Bridge Loop

Difficult
 4.0 (1) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

An easy to moderate loop with two stream crossings passing Clifty Creek Natural Bridge, a 40-foot arch over the creek.


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Map Key

2.4

Miles

3.8

KM

89%

Runnable

927' 283 m

High

715' 218 m

Low

378' 115 m

Up

379' 116 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

22%

Max Grade (12°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Cave · Fall Colors · Geological Significance · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

This loop is through the Clifty Creek Conservation Area, and features beautiful creeks and a nice natural bridge. There are plenty of switchbacks up cliffs and fun terrain to hike or run on, but MTB is not allowed. The creeks can be rather high when there's enough rain, be prepared to get wet! There are a couple of primitive camping spots, as well.

Runner Notes

The trail is a packed dirt singletrack with somewhat steep grades and two stream crossings. There is no gravel and the trail may be slippery with leaves.

Description

The running is straightforward and clearly marked, though with two creek crossings you should come prepared to get your feet wet. Immediately after heavy rain the stream may be up to knee deep and fast flowing.

You can see the Natural Bridge without crossing the stream by taking a right at the loop and heading directly to it, but the bridge spans Little Clifty Creek as it merges with Clifty Creek on the opposite (north) side, and to access the bridge directly you'll have to ford Clifty Creek in at least on place.

From the north side of the trail, headed east toward Little Clifty Creek, the top of the bridge is often accessed and can be walked across. The climb off the bridge on the east side is somewhat hazardous, as the bridge terminates in a 20-foot drop off to the ground. The bridge spans 40 feet across the creek and is almost as high, with tall spruce trees growing on top of it.

The trail offers modest views of the creek valley and surrounding hills from the higher points, but no lookouts cleared of trees.

Flora & Fauna

The hilltops feature lichen and moss-covered rocks typical of there area, and the valley is brushy and thorny.

Contacts

Shared By:

Meagloth M with improvements by Zac Nixon

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#3838

Overall
  4.0 from 1 vote
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Recommended Route Rankings

#31

in Missouri

#3,838

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10 Views Last Month
104 Since Jan 19, 2020
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Photos

The natural bridge during semi-high water!
Feb 2, 2020 near Dixon, MO
A small cave located shortly past the natural arch!  This isn't a deep cave, but is a good spot for photos!
Feb 2, 2020 near Dixon, MO
Clifty Creek from above! This is what the view is like for most of the loop.
Feb 2, 2020 near Dixon, MO
One of the few creek crossings that are encountered along the trail!
Feb 2, 2020 near Dixon, MO
Clifty Creek Natural Bridge Spanning Little Clifty Creek as the Two Merge, Seen from the South Side
Jan 19, 2020 near Dixon, MO
Clifty Creek After Heavy Rainfall
Jan 19, 2020 near Dixon, MO

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