This section is 28 miles long. There is a pretty good gap without water sources between Bee Fork and Grasshopper Hollow, so water planning is important.
About this Trail
The lower 18 miles of this section were constructed in the 80's, running from Sutton Bluff to Highway 72. In 2000, a 10-mile extension to Oates was added. This is mainly a side-slope trail, running just below the ridge-tops as it snakes its way from Oates to Highway 72, occasionally dipping into the valleys as it crosses the West Fork of the Black River, Bee Fork and a few hollows along the way. Near the southern end of the trail is a side-trip to Grasshopper Hollow
, the largest fen complex in non-glaciated North America. Due to major wind damage resulting in hundreds of downed trees, this section of trail still has many deep holes in the tread left from tree root balls that blew over, and Ozark Trail markers have not been repaired yet. Mountain biking and horse riding on these sections of trail is not recommended due to the large holes in the tread.
The Forest Service will be making repairs on the tread on this section over the next year. It will take some time.
Directions to Trailhead
There are three trailheads on this section. There is a small parking lot at the Highway J crossing.
- Sutton Bluff- From Centerville, take Highway 21 north 2 miles to Forest Road 2233. Go west six miles to FS 2336, then south 2 miles past Sutton Bluff Recreation Area. Cross the bridge and continue around the hillside to the trailhead parking lot.
- Highway 72- From Centerville, go south on Highway 21, then west on Highway 72. Go south on Highway P and the trailhead is almost immediately on your left.
- Highway J- The turnoff is .7 mile east of Oates (the Highway J & CR 836 intersection) and 7.6 miles west of the Highway J & 49 intersection. Go south on a little gravel road marked with "Ozark Trail Parking" signs and continue until the road makes a small bend. The parking area is straight ahead, just next to a red gate. This is currently a small lot with parking for only 2-3 vehicles. Please don't block the red gate! Pleaes be courteous and respect the land, as this gravel road lies on private property.
Notes on Difficulty Rating