Bell Mountain Wilderness

Sign marking a trailhead to Bell Mountain Wilderness

Bell Mountain Wilderness is a 9,027-acre property on Mark Twain National Forest. In the Saint Francois Mountains of the Potosi-Fredericktown Ranger District, Bell Mountain (1,702') is the high point in the wilderness and Joe's Creek (970') the lowest. The vegetation is a predominantly oak-hickory forest interspersed with pine and elm. There's not a lot of wildlife but there are some wild turkey, white-tailed deer and tree squirrels.

The wilderness area is bisected by Shut-In Creek, a spring-fed perennial water flow that flows through several granite gorges ("shut-ins") and between steep talus slopes.

The Bell Mountain Trail is a 6-mile maintained route that crosses the wilderness north/south and connects with a piece of the Ozark Trail in the southwestern part of the wilderness. The Lindsey Mountain Trail in the southeastern part of the wilderness is not maintained but it offers an adventure on a 2.5-mile route that dead-ends at the summit of Lindsey Mountain (second highest point in the wilderness).

The wilderness area is part of a patchwork of parklands that includes Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park, Taum Sauk Mountain State Park and several conservation areas.

A fire ring in Bell Mountain Wilderness
A fire ring in the wilderness

Photos courtesy of Scott Wilmer, via