Piney Creek Wilderness

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Piney Creek Wilderness View

The United States Congress designated the Piney Creek Wilderness in 1980 and it now has a total of 8,178 acres. All of the wilderness is in Missouri and is managed by the Forest Service.

Railroad companies were the principal loggers in this area in the late 1800’s, followed by settlers on the ridges who happily discovered that tomatoes and strawberries grew large and juicy here. Nonetheless, in the early 1950’s residents abandoned the last permanent household in the vicinity of Piney Creek.

The ridgetops rise 400 or more feet above hollows and drainages that dissect the area. Numerous small springs feed several waterways, but the main stream is Piney Creek which drains to scenic Table Rock Lake in the heart of the Wilderness. All five miles of the Piney Creek watershed lie within the Wilderness. Shortleaf pine, oak, and hickory dominate the ridges today, and along the drainages you’ll find hardwoods such as sycamore, ash, elm buckeye, and walnut. Wildlife species are typical of the Ozarks, and armadillos also live here. Copperheads, eastern timber rattlers, and western pygmy rattlers are common. Great blue herons and pileated woodpeckers add to the local color.

A printable brochure (1.1m pdf format) of the Wilderness is available for download. Trail System Map (printable) and Trail System Map GEO Referenced for use with Map Apps.

Trails: The major east-west trail follows Piney Creek for approximately 4 miles. From Pineview Tower Trailhead on the north, two paths of approximately 1.5 miles each lead south to Piney Creek. Two other maintained foot and horse trails leave the main trail to head south for a grand total of 13.1 wilderness miles. Portions of the trail system utilize old roads. The use of maps and compass are recommended.

Rating: Moderate.
Length:13.1 miles
Best Seasons: Fall, winter, and spring.
Leave No Trace: Pack out what you pack in.
Restrictions: Foot and Horse only. Please limit your party size to 10 persons.
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. The Irish Wilderness is a relatively large tract of land, so be sure to bring a compass and always carry a map of the area. Trail signs are minimal. If you become lost, don’t panic. Stay calm and try to remember how you got to your present location. Always let someone, family member or friend, know when you plan to enter the wilderness and when you plan to return. 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.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Year round, quiet hours 10:00 PM – 6:00 AM.
Usage: Light
Restrictions: Limit your party size to 10 persons. No camping within 100 feet of trails, water sources and other camps. Practice Leave No Trace outdoor ethics; Never tie stock directly to trees. No motorized or mechanized equipment allowed. Commercial use will not be permitted. Special uses will not be permitted, except for access to surrounded private property.
Closest Towns: Shell Knob
Water: None
Restroom: Vault
Operated By: USFS

General Information


North Trailhead, at the Pine View Lookout Tower, is located 32 miles west on Hwy 76 from Branson, MO. Turn left on Lake Road 76-6, go about a mile and turn right. South Trailhead is located 36 miles west on Hwy 76 from Branson, MO, turn left onto Hwy 39 at Hill City, and go 1 mile to Lake Road 39-1, then go 4 miles further to South Trailhead.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Camping & Cabins

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Horse Riding & Camping

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Areas & Activities


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