After a lot of cajoling from Joe Folse, I finally wrote the below description of the trail. Someone will need to sticky this, as I don't think I have the power.
The Honey Run Trail at Lake of the Ozarks State Park is approximately 9 miles of secluded singletrack trail nestled quietly into the Ozark wilderness. It is a "stacked loop" system that allows trail users to sample parts of the trail or enjoy the entire trail. Overall technical ability of the trail is intermediate. Overall fitness ability of the trail is intermediate to advanced. The preferred route is a clockwise "out and back," beginning by riding out the Connector Trail to the South Loop (clockwise), then the North Loop (again, clockwise) and the riding the Connector Trail back to the McCubbin Trailhead for a total of approximately 11.5 miles. Please be advised that some sections of this trail are very sensitive to damage if ridden during wet conditions. Please use common sense and do not ride this trail when wet, as it is maintained 100% by volunteers.
While it is certainly open to hikers, the Honey Run Trail was built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. Much of the bench cut on the trail was performed with a Toro Dingo mini skidsteer, but we hope you can't tell.
The "Connector Trail
" is a 2.25 mile "out and back" stem that provides your access to the North and South Loops. It is a flowing, downward-trending trail that begins at the McCubbin trailhead (just north of Anderson Hollow Road) and spits you out on Anderson Hollow Road (gravel) near two low-water crossings. There are periodic rock sections that will challenge some riders, but the overall technical level of this trail is beginner to intermediate. Riding from the McCubbin trailhead to Anderson Hollow, the fitness level of this trail is also in the beginner to intermediate range. Riding up from Anderson Hollow to McCubbin is a bit more of a challenge, since it's primarily uphill, but it's still not too difficult. The uppper 0.25 miles of this trail goes through a somewhat rare ecosystem in Missouri called an "upland wetland" that is very sensitive to rain. This section has been armored with rock to protect the land, but it is still sensitive to use in wet weather
The South Loop
is a fast, fairly flat 2.25 mile loop through a lowland valley. There is very little climbing on this loop, and many sections really allow you to 'open it up' and cruise though its flowing turns at whatever speeds your legs can carry. It begins on the east side of a low water crossing on Anderson Hollow Road across from where the Connector Trail spits you out onto Anderson Hollow. The South Loop features one of the most scenic stretches of the entire system as it meanders along the Honey Run Creek. It returns to Anderson Hollow on the west side of the low water crossing. Many parts of this loop are extremely sensitive to moisture, and excessive damage can result if ridden when wet
. The technical and fitness levels for the South Loop are near a beginner level.
The North Loop
is the most challenging segment of the Honey Run Trail. If ridden clockwise, the 4.75 mile loop begins with approximately a 1 mile climb that takes you into some of the most secluded wilderness in the park and over the ridgeline near the point to a scenic overview of Lake of the Ozarks (in winter). It then twists and turns along the contours, over rocks and through the valleys until it reaches what is left of an old access road. At this point, it turns right and follows the access road for approximately 0.25 miles straight downhill until it turns back into the woods to follow the contours back. On your return trip to Anderson Hollow, the trail will snake you through some small sections of cedar trees, along limestone outcroppings and through sections of narrow benchcut on steep sideslopes. During the winter months, you will get great views of the Lake, and during the summer, you will feel like you are in a secluded forest somewhere far west of Missouri. The technical and fitness levels of this trail are intermediate to advanced.
Future expansions of the trail are "planned" to extend from the old roadbed on the North Loop, but nothing is moving forward at the moment. I think we'll just ride the trail for a little while.
Here is the most current map I have:
Bike racing is good. The people you meet, the struggles you overcome, the highs and lows, the downhills, the finish lines. Bikes in general just make us better people. -Cameron Chambers