Day Trippin near southwest Missouri: King’s River Falls Trail

Seth Kinker
Neosho Daily News

Over the course of this summer, I’ll be plotting out and exploring some day trips that can be made in the southwest Missouri area.

This past weekend, I tackled another hike off of the list of the “best Ozark hikes" by going to the King’s River Falls Trail.

The falls at the end of the 1.8 mile out and back hike. You can jump right off those rocks into the water below, just be prepared, it's ice cold!

The trailhead is marked by signage and right off of the road and the path is unmarked but easy to follow.

I went last Friday when it finally decided to not rain, the path is well kept but narrow at the beginning and widens after a metal bridge.  But be careful, although the path widens, there is much looser rock that can lead to turned or twisted ankles if you’re not watching where you step.

Although I did go on a day it decided to take a break with rain, a lot of the path did still hold rainwater from previous days so you’ll have to skirt the edges if you go in the days after rainfall.

One of the things I enjoyed about this trail and didn’t know about it was that you can swim at the end of it! Bring a swimsuit and some water shoes if it’s a hot day and cool down at the end of your hike!

Travel time: I left from a different location this time, wrapping some stuff up in Aurora, but left at 10:30 a.m. and arrived at 1 p.m.

I left a quarter before 4 p.m., got to my car a quarter after 4 p.m. and was back home in Joplin by 6:30 p.m.

What to look out for: After going down the trail, it keeps you on the left-hand side of the river, it’s a 1.8 mile out and back hike and when you reach the metal bridge it’s about the halfway point.

I got down to the falls just before 2 p.m. and was able to nap, explore and jump off the small cliffs.

Once you go 1.8 miles in, you can sit down and relax for a while, there’s room on the rocks surrounding the river to sit or lay down, I even saw someone with a hammock between two trees that looked awfully comfortable on that nice sunny day.

You can explore further down the river; the path is skinny and eventually ends but I followed the river for at least another half mile.

Right when you get down to the end of the trail, you cross a small creek emptying into the top of the river before the small falls. You can climb up that creek that has layers eroded away over time by the water for another little area to explore.

The creek you cross over at the bottom of the King's River Falls Trail, you can climb those rocks next to the water to get further up that creek.

Not knowing you could swim; I was surprised to see people going to and from the trail with towels.

So, when I got down there on the sunny 80-degree day and saw people jumping in, I couldn’t help myself.

Although the water itself was ice cold, it was definitely refreshing and a nice cool down after laying out on the rocks surrounding the river for a couple of naps in the sun.

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