The Pinnacles Natural Area
The Pinnacles are rugged spires, arches, and cliffs carved out of Burlington Limestone by the Silver Fork Creek and the Kelly Branch Creek. The rugged spires are a spectacular contrast to the farms scenes nearby. The site is a Missouri Natural Area, and has pristine streams and caves.
Scenery: 5 Stars
Length:1/2 mile with 150 ft. elevation gain in steep gullies
The trailhead is 1/2 mile down east Pinnacles Road. It is marked by a wooden sign PINNACLES YOUTH PARK. The parking area and this side of the creek is owned by Boone County 4-H Club in a cooperative land agreement with the Missouri Natural Area System and the LAD Foundation. To reach the natural area where the actual Pinnacles are, walk to the road and cross Silver Fork Creek on the bridge. As soon as you cross the bridge, follow a steep drainage to the right down to the creek's bottomland. As you walk along the creek, you will pass a bridge spray painted with KEEP OUT. The Missouri Natural Area Website didn't say anything about that. As the bottomland gets smaller look up the hill to your left and spot two wide gullies. The one closer to the road has a lot of slippery leaves and tree roots, while the right gully is more rocky. Below is a picture of the gully on the right and it is a lot steeper than it looks:
After climbing the gully you choose, you will find a trail on the ridge. Take a right to scramble out onto the Pinnacles. The trail crosses the top of several gullies and you can see 20 ft. high towers on your right.
After passing the towers on your right you come to this scenic overlook. Believe it or not, you will soon be standing on top of the Pinnacles on the far right. From here the rugged trail descends downwards, sometimes down over rugged rocks like the picture below:
One of the Ledges
Soon after the ridge narrows, the rough trail descends and crosses the most narrow ledge on the whole trail. It is 6 inches wide at its narrowest point with a 150 ft. drop. The ledge isn't too tricky when it is dry. It can get slick when it is wet. Beyond here, the trail becomes more faint and splits into different paths. There are a lot of different trails here. Just follow any of them and you will reach the end of the Pinnacles soon.
There are different trails you can take, they all lead to the end of the pinnacles.
At the end of the ridge, two trails lead to the top of the final Pinnacle. One wraps around behind the Pinnacle and scrambles up the gentle backside. The other heads staight up a steep rocky gully. At the top, you can view the line of Pinnacles on the narrow pennisula between the two creeks.