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Glade Top Trail National Scenic Byway in Missouri - Great Place To See Ozarks Fall Foliage Color

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Glade Top Trail National Scenic Byway near Ava, Missouri

Glade Top Trail
Caney Mountain Picnic Area on the Glade Top Trail

Glade Top Trail
A National Forest Scenic Byway

information for this page supplied in part by the National Forest Service, Ava Office

23 Miles Of Beautiful Landscape

Mark Twain National Forest's Glade Top Trail is Missouri's only National Scenic Byway. The 23 mile trail weaves through narrow ridge tops above the surrounding rolling countryside. Travelers are treated to numerous scenic views that reach the Springfield Plateau to the northwest and south to the St. Francis and Boston Mountains in Northern Arkansas.

The Glade Top Trail became a part of the National Forest Scenic Byways system in 1989. The system contains over 3,500 miles of scenic roads located in 27 states. Each Byway has certain features that meet the recreational, historical, educational, scientific, and cultural criteria required for designation.

Glade Top Trail tower in fall foliage colors
Caney Lookout Tower on Glade Top Trail (not open to public).

Historically, the Glade Top Trail's significance is very important to many of the Douglas, Taney, and Ozark County residents who worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps in the late 1930s. The trail has changed very little since CCC workers constructed the two-lane, all weather gravel road.

Local residents have long recognized the scenic values of the area by sponsoring the "Flaming Fall Review" in celebration of the smoke tree's brilliant red/orange fall foliage. Each year in mid-October, the Ava Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Ava Lion's Club, American Legion, and VFW, celebrates the annual Review with a traditional barbecue and music festival.

Glade Top Trail Caney Picnice area
Caney Picnic area on Glade Top Trail - Site of the Flaming Fall Review Festival

Complementing the "Flaming Fall Review," a Spring Flowering Tour is annually sponsored by the Ava Area Chamber of Commerce, this tour highlights the dogwood, serviceberry, redbud, and wild fruit trees along the National Forest Scenic Byway.

Glade areas are characterized by shallow droughty soils and limestone outcroppings. Eastern red cedar and oak trees are interspersed in open glades supporting native tall prairie grasses.

For the wildlife lover, white-tailed deer, wild turkey, bobwhite quail, squirrels, rabbits and numerous varieties of songbirds are prevalent within this section of the Mark Twain National Forest. The glades also provide a home for wildlife not often encountered in the Ozarks, such as the roadrunner, collared lizard, pygmy rattlesnake, stinging scorpion, and the Bachman's Sparrow, a state endangered species. Forest Service personnel can provide you with more information.

The National Forest Scenic Byways would not be nearly as successful if it were not for the cooperation of numerous interested individuals and companies, such as Plymouth Division of Chrysler Motor Corporation, Harley-Davidson, the American Automobile Association, The Garden Club of America, National Parks and Conservation Association, and others.

The Glade Top Trail Best Map
By far the best map of the Glade Top Trail is published and sold by the USDA Forest Service. These maps are available in several of the Forest Service Ranger offices around the State of Missouri. You can go to the offices to buy them, or order them online. The links are given below.

The map you want is for the Ava, Cassville, and Willow Springs Ranger Districts. It has a light green cover with a photo of a couple canoeing on a river. The $10 cost is well worth the price. Bring a magnifying glass, you will need it! This map has some wonderful detail.

You can order this map online from the Forest Service: http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/marktwain/maps/

You can also stop by the Ranger Station in Ava. They are open 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Their address is P.O. Box 188, 1103 S. Jefferson Street, Ava, Missouri 65608  The Station phone is 1-417-683-5722

Glade Top Trails Flaming Fall Review Festival
This event has been going on since about 1960. Live music, pumpkin painting, various other entertainment, and meals sold for less than $10 a person brings people together at the Caney Mountain picnic site. This is a gorgeous location with some of the best fall foliage color in the Ozarks. There are restrooms and parking here. Each year the event is organized by the Ava Chamber of Commerce.

 

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