Spring riding in Mark Twain National Forest

A friend and I are planning on heading down from Minneapolis MN March 31 and trailering our bikes to Mark Twain National Forest area 3 (between Springfield MO and Branson AR I think--we should arrive by early evening).

We're going to set up camp and spend 4 days (Sat, Sun, Mon, Tue)

riding in and around the Chadwick ATV/Motorcycle Area, possibly even

a day trip into Ark. Plan is to pack up and head home to sunny Minnesota on Wednesday morning (Apr 5th).

Anyone have good trail suggestions? My friend and I are looking at this ride as kind of a warm up, learning experience as we're both experienced street bike riders but new to dirt bikes (I last rode dirt bikes in the 1970s...). Bottom line is I guess no single track stuff, looking more for fire roads, interesting (easy) trails, etc.

If anyone is interested in joining us for part or all of the trip, please feel free to contact me at levine98@hotmail.com.


Jay Levine


Welcome back to the "full motorcycle experience" (both street and dirt)!

I would have been just like you since I was riding off-road in 70's, but me and my riding buddies never quit the dirt thing, we just got into street bikes too.

I'm sure you'll have a lot of re-kindled memories of old dirt-bikin' times. :thumbsup:

Sorry I don't have much info on Chadwick, although a post in this forum stated that the quads have opened it up (wider trails) compared to before . . . probably will work good for you from what you said.

Chadwick is cool, but getting wider everyday (QUADS). You can be going along with ease but you never know Chadwick can turn Hairy in a hurry. The good thing is that if you don't like whats ahead you can always turn back and find another trail, till of coarse that one gets hairy. Don't go to AR. if you don't want single track but I like that much better.

You didn't say if you have street legal bikes or not. If you do you can ride the forest roads. Some of them can get pretty gnarly and would be fun to poke around on.

Both are street legal and plated running DOT approved tires (KLR 650 and Suzuki DRZ400S).

Chadwick is a full riding adventure. Some places are very rocky, or should I say boulder city! The park is kept in good shape and the campground is top notch with 100' double wide pull through RV sites. Some logging roads in the park but they are not very long before you see the NO BIKE signs. Be sure to stop in town to pick up your permits or the riding can get expensive.


You got me laughing here. That has got to be the most liberal use of the word 'town'. I assume you are talking about the permits at Kays. Kays is an all purpose gas station, deli, moto shop but not quite sure its a town. Anyway, Matt's right. Also, they have good turkey sammiches in 'town'.


Both are street legal and plated running DOT approved tires (KLR 650 and Suzuki DRZ400S).

the Chadwick riding area is pretty gnarly for a KLR...trust me, I've tried it, now riding a plated WR450, and sometimes that feels too big for Chadwick! There are some really good KLR/dual sport roads in the area however - PM me if you want some help finding them. My first recommendation would be to pick up a DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer for Missouri and study grids 62 and 63 - you will find tons of good dual sporting roads suitable for a KLR. Stuff like Garrison ridge road, Deveraux road, Blue Creek road, and all the roads off the Gladetop trail over by Brownbranch, Longrun, and Thornfield. I live in Springfield and dual sported a KLR for about 3 years...if I can help, just PM me.

I'm not trying to discourage you from going to Chadwick...some of the trails in Chadwick are KLR'able but as someone else mentioned things can get hairy pretty fast in there.

The trails are marked just like skiing trails. Green= easy Blue= difficult Black= oh shit. My wife and kids ride there with me and there are plenty of trails for the new guys. Don't get scared off just ride it. The trail map at Kay's gas station will help you. :thumbsup: You will have 4 days of great time.

I wouldn't worry about the trails and your KLR, you can survive. There is a bike shop in the town of Sparta (Sparta is the town right before the town of Chadwick, and Chadwick is the town where Kay's store is located where you purchase a riding permit :thumbsup: ) and the owner of the bike shop is a Kawasaki man. You know, just in case you need something for a mishap :thumbsup:

It will be good times down there, the rocks are not that big. I don't know what everyone complains about.

yeah they aren't that big, but they are perfectly rectangle sitting in the middle of the trail around every blind corner.

You sound like a man with experience, but I have done the same.

The three black bears that were hangin around the riding area this last year were more of a nuisance than the rocks. Although they didn't eat very much!

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