Trail Map: Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area

If you live in the Springfield Missouri area or are visiting Branson and the Ozarks, Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area (it’s not a state park) is a must visit place for a day hike, mountain biking or riding. The Red Trail offers some fairly easy hiking, but be prepared for creek crossings and some rugged Ozarks terrain. After heavy rain the trails can be muddy and the creeks dangerous to cross.

There is one bridge on the east side of Busiek, located just south of the eastern end of the parking lot, and one, at the shooting range, on the west.

Download the kmz file for Google Earth or your GPS receiver. The KMZ file includes a full USGS topographic map of the Busiek area.

Link to a down-loadable, printable, pdf version of the trail map.

Trail map of Busiek State Forest, Missouri

Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area Trails Map

Link: the full resolution Busiek map

Official Trails in Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area

Length: 2.95 Miles
Elevation gain/loss: 472 ft.
Maximum slope: 45% (probably less)

Starting fairly level from the East parking lot, going counter-clockwise this trail begins with a crossing of Woods Creek – there is no bridge. Apart from crossing the creek it starts as a nice easy stroll, the terrain does get quite rough in places, though there are no really dangerous surfaces.

Going clockwise, the trail begins with a nice even walk until you get to the Woods Creek crossing, shortly after the that the trail get rough and starts to climb. Whichever way round the trail you go, you’ll have to cross the creek twice.

Mapped by GPS: May 13, June 20, 2012.

Length: .52 Miles
Elevation gain/loss: 80ft.
Maximum slope: 17%

From Woods Creek, the trail begins with a flat open area and then climbs up to meet the Yellow trail. The climb is rough but not steep.

Mapped by GPS: June 21, 2012.

Length: 4.1 Miles
Elevation gain/loss: 698ft.
Maximum slope: 32%

A complete loop (ignoring the short cut) is 3.9 Miles.

To get to the trail from the South trailhead you can add another .3 Miles (.6 Miles altogether) and add 80 feet of elevation. That’s assuming you start by going up to the ridge. The alternate route, going East and dropping down to the creek, is an additional .66 Miles (1.2 Miles altogether) and adds 190 feet of elevation.

If you start from the East trail head you can add .4 Miles in total and 50 feet gain in elevation.

Starting fairly level from the East parking lot, this trail includes a couple of hard rough climbs on stone covered trails. There are three crossings of Woods Creek and no bridges, so be prepared to get wet when the creek is running. Key points to note are the Carter Family Cemetary, the open glades, some unmarked intermittent falls, and areas that have previously been cleared for farming.

Mapped by GPS: June 20, 2012.

Length: .33 Miles
Elevation gain/loss: 30 ft.
Maximum slope: –

A fairly flat and easy trail – except the crossing of woods creek which may become difficult at times.

Mapped by GPS: June 20, 2012.

Length: 2.58 Miles (‘Hill’ Loop only)
Elevation gain/loss: 574 ft.
Maximum slope: 32%

The above distance assumes you hike this trail from the South Trailhead off of HWY A.

Starting at the South Trailhead, the Silver Trail consists of a longish descent to a loop with a 300 ft. steep ascent (1:3 and 1:2) and descent. The steep ascents/ descents include loose gravel and so can be quite difficult going. Be prepared for some heavy mud in places after rain. There’s a couple of small creeks to cross, both can normally be stepped over without getting your feet wet. Getting round the seeps that cross the trail after rain without getting your feet wet is a bit more of a challenge.

If you are out of condition the steep 300 ft. hill in the middle of the hike is a challenge, as is the long climb back to the parking lot, which seems to go on forever!

Mapped by GPS: February 3, 2013 – GPS Track and Elevation Profile

Length: 3.82 Miles
Elevation gain/loss: 579 ft.
Maximum slope: 32%

This trail although steep in places is fairly easy going. There’s a long walk along the ridge, and another along the valley floor. The latter involves creek crossings and can get muddy at times.

Mapped by GPS: April 16, 2012.

Length: 2.2 Miles
Elevation gain/loss: 417 ft.
Maximum slope: 45.8%

Add 3 miles for the trip to and from the parking lot.

Going anti-clockwise the trail starts with a modest climb which soon becomes very steep and rough. It’s arguable that’s it’s better to climb this section than descend it as it’s hard going either way. There are many seeps on the trail and the lower parts get muddy after rain.

Mapped by GPS: April 16, 2012.

Length: 4.55 Miles
Elevation gain/loss: 485 ft.
Maximum slope: 24%

The above distance includes getting to and from the parking lot. The walk along the valley floor can be muddy and involves multiple crossings of Camp Creek (no bridges except by the shooting range). Going anti-clockwise the climb up is quite rough in places although not particularly steep. The drop back down is now a lot easier with the addition of some switch-backs in 2012. 2016: Some of the lower trails have been slightly diverted for vegetation recovery, but not enough to change the map.

Mapped by GPS: April 16, 2012, checked in 2016.

Unmarked Trails in Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area

There are no official names for these trails, so we’ve made some up. The trails are not marked on the brochure, and are not shown on the topo maps. Obviously there is no trail maintenance, and the trails may move over time. Expect more hazards on these routes. Please note. MDC requests that visitors to Busiek remain on the marked trails.

Length: .3 Miles
Elevation gain/loss: 153 ft, -149 ft.
Maximum slope: 57%

This unmarked trail loops to the North above the Red Trail. At the South eastern end where the trail rejoins the Red Trail, there is a ‘Trail Closed’ sign.

The south east descent is very steep (1:2) on loose gravel. There are fallen trees across the trail near where it joins the Red Trail.

Mapped by GPS: June 20, 2012.

Length: 1.04 Miles
Elevation gain/loss: 194 ft, -351 ft.
Maximum slope: 57%

This unmarked trail runs east from the Red Trail leading to a set of intermittent falls a short way north of the Yellow Trail.

Mapped by GPS: June 20, 2012.

Length: .3 Miles
Elevation gain/loss: 152 ft, -27 ft.
Maximum slope: 29%

Unmarked trail leading off of the Red Trail to the wilderness boundary. The trail is overgrown in places. The ridge has a very steep drop off on either side.

Mapped: June 20, 2012.

Length: .3 Miles
Elevation gain/loss: 76 ft, -94 ft.
Maximum slope: 25%

This trail is marked as closed at its junction with the Yellow Trail. It joins the Falls Trail and can be taken either East to the falls, or west to the Red Trail. The gradients are fairly steep and rough.

The trail is named for the abandoned Panel Van to be found alongside the trail. The distance given is from the Yellow Trail to the Falls.

Mapped by GPS: June 20, 2012.

Approach road to Busiek and the roads leading to the West and East Trailheads (Busiek Road).

Google Street View

State Highway A off Highway 65

Unfortunately the Google car hasn’t gone down State Hwy A so we can’t show the entrance to the south Trailhead. Below is the view looking South approaching State Highway A. Turn Left (east) and the entrance is a small dirt road .2 miles along Highway A on the left. The road is steep and rough in places. We have no trouble getting up and down it with our van, but if you have low ground clearance it might be a problem.

See other posts about Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area.

Check out our Terms and Conditions for using this site before you use our trail maps.

Page Updates

January 2016: Fixed the broken Google Street View links/images. Amended text to include mention of the foot bridge over Woods Fork at the east parking lot (bridge construction was completed in 2015).

September 2012: Major update to the trail map with unmarked trails on the East Side of Busiek mapped.

4 thoughts on “Trail Map: Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area

  1. Pingback: Hiking the Silver Trail at Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area | struggling with images

  2. Pingback: A Beautiful Day! | Kaitlyn Mueller

    1. Gary Post author

      Thanks for the reminder. We noticed the construction work back in January. I need to get down there and take some pictures.


What do you think?