Mountain Biking Council Bluff Lake

Council Bluff Lake from the Trail, photo by MilliGFunk Photography

Who knew that “one of the most beautiful mountain bike trails in the state of Missouri” (source) was right in my backyard in the Mark Twain National Forest?

Council Bluff Lake Recreation Area offers a 440-acre lake – the largest in this particular forest – that’s surrounded by a twelve-mile loop of single track mountain biking trail.

Mountain Biker, photo by MilliGFunk Photography

If you’re not a mountain biker, single track means that the trail is only wide enough for one rider. In other words, you can’t ride side by side with other riders.

I’m still a novice rider, so I have more than my share of near-spills, hike-the-bike hills, and moments when – for lack of a more eloquent way of saying it -, I’m scared I’m going to break an arm or a leg. Mountain biking wouldn’t be any fun if it weren’t for the touch of fear, the adrenaline rushes, and the pure athleticism involved.

Riding with the Girls, photo by MilliGFunk Photography

Two friends and I opted out of riding the full 12-mile loop, instead doing a few out-and-back rides. In total, we rode approximately 7 miles, and it felt great. I’m anxious to ride more before winter weather hits us.


Council Bluff Lake is located in Iron County, Missouri and offers year-round fishing on its 440-acre lake. Camping, bicycle trails, hunting, hiking and a beach/waterfront area are also available. Council Bluff Lake Recreation Area is part of the Mark Twain National Forest.

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