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Airing-down and disconnecting before we hit the trail.

Cassville, Missouri is located in the southwest corner of the Show-Me State, on the edge of the Ozark mountains. It is a 3.5 hour drive, straight south of Kansas City. It is at the western end of Table Rock Lake. If you have a GPS, it is at approximately 36039' North, and 93048' West. It is located on page 61 of the DeLorme TOPO map.

A Black TJ maneuvers through the rocks

Just off of State Highway's 78 and 86, SW of Cassville, MO, there are numerous trails leading off of the road and into the thick forests which make up the Mark Twain NAtional Forest. Some trails are harder than others, but none of the trails which I saw would be considered 'hard' by a veteran four-wheeler. There are numerous small obstacles along the trails, and this is an excellent trail ride for the beginner to moderately experienced trail runner.

The Martin family TJ climbs one of numerous ledges

There is a Ranger station located on highway 76, just inside the forest boundaries. Here you can have questions answered, and obtain maps of the area. On the weekend I was there, we frequently encountered motorcycles and quads along the trail. Everyone was courteous and exhibited appropriate trail etiquette.

A member of the MidRivers Jeep Thing try's the ledge

I ran the trails of Cassville with the Kansas City Jeep Club. We met-up with the Mid-Rivers Jeep Thing club from St. Charles, MO. Together, we had about 30 Jeeps. We broke up into 3 groups and headed out for the trails. The trails were short enough that we were able to all rendezvous together for lunch, exchange stories, and then run another trail before dinner. During the afternoon trail-run, we ran into some members of the Tornado Alley Cruisers from Kansas City, who were also having a club get together at Cassville. It was fun to see other off-road enthusiasts from across the state, enjoying the great outdoors in a safe and responsible manner.

A warm welcome at the Sunset Motel

I highly recommend staying at the Sunset Motel. The motel has numerous cabins, some of which have full kitchenette's, including refrigerator, stove and oven. The rates were reasonable, the rooms clean, and the owner very friendly. After I checked in, the wife of the owner brought a sack-full of snacks to the cabin, for my son and I. We were made to feel very welcome.

The trails are mostly hard rock and gravel, with a healthy sprinkling of wet rocks and occasional mud. Large lifts and tires are not required for these trails. Most any safely-equipped stock 4-wheel drive vehicle will be able to enjoy these trails.

Story and photos by Randy Halvorsen

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