Choose Your Trip
The Bell Mountain to DD shuttle stop trip can be hiked in either direction. Starting at the Bell Mountain north trail head and ending at the DD shuttle stop is considered to be a moderate two day hike. This route is manageable because you descend down the west side of Bell Mountain and not up. Reverse the direction and start early in the day at the DD shuttle stop to make this trip a strenuous day hike.
The Ozark Trail Association operates shuttles to most major trail heads. Check the Ozark Trail Trip Planner for the shuttle schedule. Free parking is also available at the trail heads if you want to queue up your own vehicles.
On Bell Mountain the trail runs through a mix of forest and rocky glades. Due to an older trail design, a heavy rain can turn parts of the trail into a small stream. Water proof boots or quick drying trail shoes are a must in these conditions.
Camping is allowed all along the trail but limited to 50 feet on either side. The premier spot to pitch a tent on this leg of the hike is at the 1,702 foot Bell Mountain summit. The top of Bell Mountain is rocky with a clear view of the country side. Keep in mind that the exposed terrain can make camping in this area a challenge during severe weather.
The decent on the west side of Bell Mountain is rugged and offers picturesque views of the Ottery Creek valley.
Ottery Creek Valley
At 8 miles from the Bell Mountain North trail head, Ottery Creek is a little short of the half way point for this trip. As you come off the trail you will see the highway “A” shuttle stop. This is a good place to rest in some shaded, grassy areas and filter water from Ottery Creek.
To continue on towards the DD shuttle stop you will need to cross Ottery Creek. If a rain event has occurred recently, crossing can be a challenge. In order to keep your footwear dry, change into a pair of inexpensive water shoes to protect tender feet from the rocky creek bottom. The current is strong so face upstream and lean forward on a stick or hiking pole as you side step to the other side.
DD Shuttle Stop
The trail between Ottery creek and the DD shuttle stop consists of timber, glades and rocky creek valleys. Significant elevation changes on this route keep the trail physically challenging. The damage done in the 2006 ice storm is still evident. Countless trees have fallen with roots torn from the ground. Dead fall along the tail is still an issue but not impassable. The fallen trees serve as convenient resting spots along the way.
Peter Cave hollow is a wooded creek valley that offers water and several remote spots to set up camp. If water is not an issue, you might enjoy the view from a campsite in one of the glades at a higher elevation.
The DD Shuttle Stop is a well maintained gravel parking lot off of highway DD with access to the Ozark Trail. A shuttle stops at regular intervals and can take you back to your origination point.
This hike is described as a signature trip for the area and includes a variety of terrain and conditions. The Ozark Trail Trip Planner makes it easy to improvise your own route or hike a trip outlined on the trip planner.