Cassville Trail ReportDate: 2002, Aug 16
Author: David Nivens
I have been wheeling my old Trooper for several years, mostly all over the geat state of Colorado. I love wheeling in the Colorado Rockies but I have always wanted to try and find someplace closer to home where I could go play if the urge hit me. I guess I just never really took the time to find out where to go because a buddy and I recently found a place that is less than an hour drive from my house. It's in the Mark Twain National Forest in southwest Missouri near a town called Cassville. The day we went, we only had a few hours to explore the area, but we found some real nice, semi challenging trails. I'm sure with some more exploration we will find more and better trails in this area. Some of the trails are marked with numbers but I did not get the numbers of the trails we tried. I will try to write a followup to this article when we go back down.
One word of caution. If you value your paint job at all, DON'T GO! Some people call them "Missouri pinstripes", some just call it a mess. Some of the very narrow one lane trails will definately scratch your rig up badly.
Getting to the trails.......
Cassville is located southwest of Springfield or southeast of Joplin just north of the west end of Tablerock Lake. It is located on highway 37. After you get into town, turn south on highway 112. After a mile or two you will turn back east on highway 76. After a few miles on 76 you will come to highway 86. The trails we found were a few miles south on 86. You will see a few trails heading off both sides of the highway and at one point you will see a large parking area on the left(if you come from Cassville) back in the trees where people park to unload their trailers. I found out from someone after we got back that the better 4x4 trails can be found just off highway 76, if you stay on it instead of turning south on 86. There is also a ranger station where you might be able to get trail info. We did not go there so I can't say for sure.
The trails we found couldn't really be called hardcore, but a couple of spots we found were fairly challenging. Especially since we were both running open diffs.(I see at least one locker in my future...haha). We found a few mud holes that were fun but not so deep we were in fear of getting stuck. There were a couple of rock ledge drop-offs that were fun too, and at least one that was high enough that we both drug our rear bumpers on after going over.
There are some areas that are covered by big flat rocks, other areas that are more gravel and big boulders, and lots and lots of trails that just run through the brush and scratch up your paint. :) A lot of the trails we ended up on looked like they were more suited to 4-wheelers than to full size vehicles.
The last ravine we came up out of was the most challenging of the day. It was a pretty steep climb that was completely washed out down the center. I got my buddy and his Scout up by having him straddle the washout and after a few tries he made it without too much trouble. Since the Trooper was quite a bit narrower than the Scout, it was just barely wide enough to straddle the washout. I kept falling off into the "crack" on one side or the other, but with some good spotting from my buddy I finally made it. After I got up it, he told me I had just climed out of there with my sidewalls. Thank goodness for tires with raised lettering because that's about all the traction I had...hahaha. He was really wanting to break out his new winch and drag me up through the washout but I did not want to have the side of the Trooper caved in unless absolutely necessary. :)
Well that's it for this report but we are planning another trip down there in the fall when the trees are turning colors. It should be a little better since we now know where to look for trails. Like I said above, I will do another(new and improved) Cassville trail report as soon as I know the area a little better. If you would like to contact me about this trail report you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.