Special Places

Rockpile Mountain Wilderness

Rocky terain with a viewThis 4,238 acre Wilderness takes its name from an ancient circle of granite rock, piled by some earlier man on top of the mountain. It is located in Madison County on the Fredericktown Ranger District, southeast of Bell Mountain and southwest of Fredericktown, Missouri. The area is primarily a broken ridge, having steep rocky slopes running from Little Grass Mountain on the north to the National Forest boundary four miles to the south.A printable brochure (546k, pdf format) of the Wilderness is available, additional a recreational opportunity guide (376k, pdf format) is available

Trails: From the trailhead there is a 2 mile section of maintained trail. The rest of the area is accessed by old woods roads or cross-country hiking.

Rating: Moderate. Terrain is sometimes steep. The area is within the St. Francois Mountains where elevations range from 1,305 to 520 feet.
Length: 2 miles
Best Seasons: Fall, winter, and spring.
Leave No Trace: Pack out what you pack in.
Restrictions: Foot and Horse only.
Safety: No drinking water is available at parking areas or along the trail; bring what you will need, or be prepared to sterilize water you find. During temperate months, be prepared for biting insects, poison ivy and high temperatures. Be advised of hunting seasons. Avoid using the trail during excessively wet periods.
Surface Type: Unsurfaced, native material.

Other Activities: Backpacking, bird watching, and primitive camping.

Camping: Dispersed camping allowed. Practice leave no trace outdoor ethics. To protect the solitude, seek campsites that are out of site and sound of trails and other camps. Do not build rock fire rings. Never leave a fire without completely extinguishing it. Pack out all that you pack in.

Scenic attractions: Rockpile Mountain itself, the steep limestone bluffs, rock formations, and caves along the St. Francis River. The narrow gorges or "shut-ins" with rushing cascades during periods of runoff and the scattered granite glades add variety to the wilderness landscape, as well as unique plant and animal communities.

How to get there:
The area is accessible from Fredericktown via Highway 67:south to County Road C, then about 10 miles on C to County Road 406. Follow 406 to Forest Road 2124.