The Crane Lake Trail is a three-mile natural path in the Mark Twain National Forest in the Missouri Ozarks. Most of the trail takes you around the edges of the 99-acre Crane Lake, which is a popular fishing and hunting area. The locals boast about the largemouth bass, bluegill, red ear sunfish, and huge channel catfish that are in abundance in the lake. If you do decide to fish in the lake, make sure you have a Missouri fishing license, or risk getting a fine.
Most of the Crane Lake Trail meanders along the Crane Lake, hence the name, and because of this you and your pooch may get a bit muddy during the wet months. But, this is easy enough to avoid as the trail is wide enough to scoot on by any problem areas without getting messy. Your little buddy will absolutely love all the scents of nature the path provides from all the wildlife that live in the area.
Along the way, you will see the dam, huge pine and oak trees, the shut-ins, and glades. The Saint Francois Mountains are part of the path as well, but the incline is so minor, you probably won't even notice it. The wildflowers and other vegetation on the trail are pawesome during the spring and summer, and the trees show some beautiful color during the fall season. The winter is nice too, and you will likely see plenty of wildlife on your walk, such as whitetail deer, raccoons, squirrels, and rabbits. Keeping your pup on leash six feet or less along the trail will ensure a safe passage, and avoid any animal encounters.
Note that there are restrooms by the lake where you can refill your water bottles for your hike, but there are no drinking water or restrooms on the Crane Lake Trail itself, so stock up when you can. Also, make sure you bring clean up bags because there are none provided on the path. You will find some trash receptacles along the way.
Spend a lovely afternoon with your pup along the Crane Lake Trail!