Take a ride back in time on southeastern Missouri's Berryman Trail. Located in Mark Twain National Forest on the low shoulders of the ancient and gnarled Ozark Mountains, Berryman offers classic Midwestern mountain biking.
Traverse from woodsy creek bottoms to ridgetops on tight, rocky singletrack. You'll pass a cave rumored to be the hiding place of notorious Old West outlaw Jesse James and his gang. The route mixes narrow toboggan-run descents, rock gardens and twisting, bench-cut singletrack as you curl back to the Brazil Creek campground.
The ridge crest rewards you with a view of Taum Sauk Mountain (Missouri's highest point, elevation 1,772 feet) and the velvety green Ozarks stretching away south and west. Take a breath then dive back in to the trees and head toward verdant creekbottoms and rugged hollows.
Location: The Berryman Trail is located near Potosi, Missouri, about three hours southwest of St. Louis. The nearest town of size is Sullivan, just off I-44.
Length: 24 miles
Elevation: 800-1,200 feet
Terrain: Rolling singletrack with steep climbs and technical descents in remote, dark forested areas.
Season: Year round. June, July and August can be extremely muggy. The soil is mostly rocky, so rain rarely makes sections unnavigable.
Details: Contact the Potosi Ranger District Office at 573-438-5427. (Mark Twain National Forest, Potosi Ranger District, Hwy 8 West, Potosi MO 63644.) For a brochure about the Berryman Trail including trail map and directions to trailheads. Mountain Bike! The Ozarks, by Steve Henry.
Shop: Big Shark Bicycle Company, University City, (314) 862-1188 (closest shop to Sullivan is Route 66, 38 miles the wrong direction; phone there is (573) 368-3001)