Matson Hill and Oxen Trail State Park

Matson Hill and Oxen Trail Loop is a 5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Defiance, Missouri that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate.

We appreciate the trail markers but wish they were more frequent as one trail forked off with no marker and we walked another 1/4 mile before deciding to go back and take the other (just didn’t feel right!) Better enjoyed in summer and early fall. Spring is a bug-fest, as you would expect. It has a nice running creek after rain, however this trail in the summer is a bug fest. (wear repellent!!) early Spring or Fall is a better time to explore here. I don’t recommend if it is too wet due to the trails becoming very muddy; unless you like lugging extra weight on your shoes. The trails have a lot of switchbacks and you will cross a stream numerus times. In wet weather, the small falls are pretty and you will want to cool you feet off and wash the mud off your shoes/boots in them, as the clinging mud adds extra pounds. Speaking of mud, its good ol’ slimy Missouri clay mud and very slick. There aren’t any real scenic highlights on the trail. However, the woodland area that it covers is nice. The trail itself is well packed when dry and fairly wide so we never had to brush up against undergrowth that might be carrying ticks. Even so, we both found several ticks on us when we returned home. Again, wear bug and tick repellant! Between the bugs and mud I can’t say it was one of our favorite trails. In the Fall we may try it again, but not during the Summer.

Sink Hole next to the Matson trail
Wet, muddy and slick!
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