Named for a family that once farmed here, Bell Mountain protects a predominately oak-hickory forest interspersed with pine and elm, scattered grassy glades with lichen-covered granite outcroppings, and a diversity of plant species usually found in old-growth forests. Shut-In Creek, a year-round spring-fed run of water with several gorges ("shut-ins") crosses the area between steep talus slopes. The elevation peaks at 1,702-foot Bell Mountain, then falls to 970 feet at Joe's Creek, another small perennial stream. White-tailed deer, turkeys, and squirrels call this home, but not in abundance. They share the area with pileated woodpeckers, woodthrush, and ovenbirds, all of which thrive in a mature forest. A maintained pathway, the Bell Mountain Trail, crosses the Wilderness from north to south for approximately six miles and joins a small section of the Ozark Trail in the southwestern corner of the area. When completed, the Ozark Trail will run from Saint Louis, Missouri, to the Arkansas border, where it will join the Ozark Highlands Trail. Another route, the Lindsey Mountain Trail in the southeastern portion is not a part of the formal trail system and therefore not regularly maintained, but provides recreation opportunities for adventurous visitors. It climbs almost 2.5 miles one-way to a dead end on Lindsey Mountain, the second highest point in the Wilderness.
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 Bell Mountain 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.
Colorado Wilderness Act - Public Law 96-560 (12/22/1980) To designate certain National Forest System lands in the States of Colorado, South Dakota, Missouri, South Carolina, and Louisiana for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System