Irish Catholic Father John Hogan brought Irish immigrants to this region in the mid-1800s to escape oppression in the big city of Saint Louis, Missouri. His timing was off. The Civil War erupted, and Union and Confederate soldiers raided the settlement. When the war ended, Hogan and his Irish had mysteriously disappeared forever. Nothing remains but the name and the rolling-to-steep topography of Missouri's largest Wilderness. Here you'll find sinkholes, disappearing streams that reappear downstream, and Whites Creek Cave, a spacious walk-in with numerous crystalline formations. The western boundary of Irish is near the Eleven Point National Scenic River, which you can see from up high. About 18.6 miles of the Whites Creek Trail provides the main thoroughfare of Irish, a looping path through oak, hickory, shortleaf pine, dogwood, persimmon, and sassafras . . . past Bliss and Fiddler Springs . . . and past Whites Creek Cave. As you hike through these wilds, you may encounter typical Ozark wildlife: deer, squirrel, rabbit, raccoon, fox, bobcat, coyote, turkey, vulture, hawk, and owl. Watch your step lest you disturb a sleeping copperhead, rattlesnake, or eastern cottonmouth.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Irish Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.