Top 3 Hiking Trails around the Ozarks
The Lake of the Ozarks features over 1,100 miles of shoreline which is more than the Californian coast; no wonder, it’s Missouri’s most popular lake destination. While the lake offers several public beaches, amazing fishing opportunities and some of the most fun water activities, it also offers something other than water and it’s the hiking trails around the Ozarks and great possibilities to find the delicious morels. Let’s explore.
1. Ozark Trail
The Ozark Trail spans from St. Louis to Arkansas and is more than 500 miles long. Although the full trail is still under construction, it’s going to be one of the top long-distance trails of the nation. It’s divided into thirteen sections. While the entire trail is stunning, the Taum Sauk section is the most amazing. This 35-mile section meanders through mountains that are 1.5 billion years old. The entire trail is full of verdant glades, natural springs and rolling forests, and is certainly worth a visit.
2. Busiek Red Trail
The heavily trafficked Busiek Red Trail is 2.9 miles long. It’s a loop trail featuring a river and is perfect for all skill levels. It’s open year-round, even to dogs and horses, and offers numerous activities including morel hunting. The Red Trail can be best hiked counterclockwise. To start with, there’s a short climb and small undulations next to that. At the end, you can cross the river or stay along the shore.
3. Ozark Park Trail
This 2.2 mile trail is moderately trafficked and features a lake and is perfect for all skill levels. It’s open year-round and offers a number of activities.
Exploring Morel Mushrooms
As such, the hiking trails around the Ozarks offer a range of activities. But one of the most amazing among them is to hunt for morel mushrooms. You’ll find people wandering off these gorgeous trails with a bag or container of some sort. Families, old timers and even teenagers participate in this activity and it’s quite addictive. This fun, challenging activity offers a delicious reward at the end. It’s recommended to hunt for morels near ash, dead or alive apple trees or elm. South-facing slopes are also recommended.
Start looking for them after the average daily temperature is more than 50 degrees for many days with a few springtime showers. Look for the right ones i.e. deeply grooved, beige-colored raisins on top of a tan stalk. The season typically ends in late April in some parts of Missouri, but elsewhere it can last until mid-May.
Quick and Easy Morels with Shallot, Peas and Mint Recipe
Here’s a quick and easy morels recipe:
Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil and 2 tbsp. butter in a skillet over medium-high flame. Cook 1 roughly chopped shallot for a minute; add 8 oz. fresh morels, cleaned and trimmed, and 8 oz. each of snow and sugar snap peas, both trimmed. Cook for two minutes. Now add a cup of fresh peas and cook till morels become tender i.e. for 2-3 minutes. Stir in 2 tbsp. minced preserved lemon peel, ¾ cup chopped mint leaves and 1 tsp. kosher salt. You’ll find these morels even better than steak!
The Ozarks hiking trails will make your hiking trip adventurous as well as yummy!