Summary: This trail is arguably the best, most scenic trail in the state. It has a little bit of everything, unusual rock formations, beautiful creeks, old forests, panoramic views, and wildlife. The trail can be strenuous at times, but the climbs are worthwhile as they afford fantastic views of the surrounding mountains. There is a connector trail that allows this trail to be cut in half to make a very nice shortened day hike. There are three backpacking campsites along the trail to accommodate an extended trip. This is one trail that should not be missed!
Trailhead: There is ample parking and well marked signs within the boundaries of Hawn State Park. I recommend following the Pickle Creek Trail as it joins the Whispering Pines Trail and Pickle Creek is a beautiful granite boulder strewn creek. (Lat:37.83073 Lon:-90.23149)
Trail Guides for Whispering Pines Loop Trail:
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: Missouri Dept. Of Natural Resources, Hawn State Park (573) 883-3603
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Williams, who has posted 3 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 2 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Danielle H on 11/6/2012
I hiked this trail with my boyfriend this summer. We hiked the North loop, about 6 miles, in about 3 hours. This is one of my favorite hikes in the area. It is definitely worth the 90 minute drive from St. Louis. The trail is well-maintained and the paths are clearly marked. It is moderately strenuous since there are several steep hills to climb and some areas are pretty rocky. Since we went in the summer, there were some mosquitoes, ticks, and chiggers. Wear insect repellent and you should be ok. The scenery is beautiful (creeks, rock formations, plenty of trees)and the views from the top of the mountains are breath taking. Next time we hope to hike both the North and South loops, which is about 10 miles.
Reviewed by Amanda on 5/14/2012
Hiked the north loop today, took just over 3 hours without stopping to rest for more than a few moments. Enjoyed the terrain, but the last ridge nearly killed my knees. Hope to hike both loops next time.
Reviewed by WN on 9/25/2011
Hiked the north and south loop last Friday. Was very beautiful, lovely views from many points, great exercise, enjoyed it as much as my Smoky Mtn hikes. Pickle Creek is lovely with soft sandy shores and an area of shut ins, just the place to relieve stress. The hike can be strenous at times and very rocky so good hiking boots come in handy. Can't wait to being my kids here and hopefully our boyscout troop.
Reviewed by ach on 1/16/2011
spectacular especially with frozen waterfalls and streams
Reviewed by Jeff on 3/10/2010
I've been on this trail in all 4 seasons, backpacked, day hiked, done all the loops, camped, boy-scouted, picnicked, carried babies, etc. and it is by far my favorite trail near St. Louis. When I was training to hike the Grand Canyon, I did the big loop with full gear and it was great practice. I recently found myself near the trail and just did a couple of miles. Either way, it's a great mix of scenery, vegetation, altitude, and the trail is well worn and well marked. If you live in St. Louis it's like New Mexico but only an hour away.
Reviewed by David Eng on 10/8/2009
I had high hopes for this trail after reading reviews that said it is "the best, most scenic trail in the state." I made the 90 minute drive, and hiked the 10 mile north and south loop. I didn't discover any scenic overlook that's worth talking about, although there was a babbling creek here and there, but nothing amazing. In short, if you want to hike for hike's sake, go for it. If you're looking for a reward with the least amount of effort, I suggest Castlewood State Park.
Reviewed by Deby on 8/23/2009
We hiked this trail with the cub scouts. This was probably the most strenuous hike that we have done since starting our hiking club. We only hiked the red loop, but I would love to go back and hike the entire loop.
Reviewed by David on 7/6/2009
My girlfriend and I hiked this trail on a Sunday between noon and 4 and saw only one other couple all day. You can hike the North Loop only, which is 6 miles, or the North and South Loops, which is 10 miles. Hiking the 4-mile South Loop only isn't an option because it's only accessible via the North Loop, unless there is a road that's not shown on the park map. I found this trail enjoyable to hike and I will hike it again, but I didn't find it terribly strenuous or challenging. There are some elevation changes, and some of the path is rocky or covered with roots, but most of it is a comfortable hike.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: Missouri Hiking, Missouri Trails, Missouri Hikes, Sainte Genevieve County Hiking, Sainte Genevieve County Trails, Sainte Genevieve County Hikes