The forecast called for ridiculous cold and high winds. Luckily, that didn’t happen until after I got off the mountain. I went down to Bismark, MO in preparation for Caballo Blanco Ultra in Mexico. It’s about 1 1/2 hours out of St. Louis and, hey, it’s a mountain and the 3rd highest peak in Missouri, so, why not?
First, the details: The Buford Mountain Conservation Area is a 3,824 acre piece of land that, according to legend: “was purchased by the Missouri Department of Conservation from the Nature Conservancy in 1979. The area was named after its settlement in 1812 by William Buford, who acquired the land through a Spanish Land Grant.” So, history abounds! The trail is a 10.5 mile lollipop that has another trail that branches off it about halfway around the loop. I didn’t take it, but will probably explore next time I get down there.
GPS was little help finding the actual entrance (taking me down a dirt road that ended in a fence), but it got me in the general area.
The gates were closed, but I was able to park, run up the road about a 1/4 of a mile, and then onto the trails. Beautiful start to the day, temperature-wise, and once on the trail, I really enjoyed it.
The trail basically goes straight up to the peak of Buford at 1740 feet! (not meters) to start, gaining 350 feet in the first mile and a half, up Screaming Calves Hill.
From there, you come down the other side, dodging rocks and mud, but with the occasional runnable sections, then back up to Bald Knob, for a great view!
After Bald Knob, you hit the start of the loop. I decided to go clockwise and it became a bit more runnable as you head down the other side of BK. Then your into the flats, making the loop, a little bit of up and down. Re”summit” BK and Buford on your way back, and then it’s 1 1/2 miles to home.
Total elevation gain was just about 2100 ft for the 10.5 miles. It was about 2.5 to the loop, about 5.5 around the loop and then 2.5 back. The trail was “eyes down” technical in a lot of places (at least for me)
Behold my leisurely pace…
And of course, a visit to Buford Mountain without eating at Lady Queene is a missed opportunity!
And, don’t forget the mines!
All in all, a good day out. I’ll come back to explore the “tunnel” trail and do the loop counterclockwise (which might be a tad bit more runnable in that direction).
Next stop- Urique and the Copper Canyons of Mexico to run with the Tarahumara on March 1st!