Madison County High Point Trip Report

Black Mountain on Rock Pile Mountain quadrangle (BM 1,502 ft)

Date: March 9, 2002
Author: Hans Haustein

Just south of Ironton, Missouri is the junction of Highway 21/72 and Highway E. To reach Black Mountain, go southeast on Highway E for 12.6 miles to the Marble Creek Campground. Continue east on Highway E for 2.3 miles to a pullout and a jeep trail that partly ascends Black Mountain. Originally, I was going to take this approach up the mountain but heavy rains had swollen Little Rock Creek to a point that crossing it was not an option. Just below the jeep trail crossing on the stream was an impressive set of rapids for about a 1/4 of a mile with lots of 6-foot to 8-foot drops. I continued east on Highway E another 0.6 mile to a small gravel drive/pullout for the Shoemaker Cemetery at French Mills, Missouri. The cemetery had a nice wood sign and new gravel placed on the drive. (French Mills is shown on the DeLorme Atlas.) I crossed the Highway to the north and started my bushwhack.

From the road, my GPS indicated the summit was about 1 mile away. About halfway up the mountain I crossed the jeep trail that I was originally going to take. The forest was pretty open with only a few low limbs to impede travel. About 3/4 of the way up the mountain there are several large rock outcrops with some views to the south. Past the rock outcrops the terrain flattens a bit and then goes downhill slightly toward a game pond in a small saddle. North of the game pond, the highpoint is about 1/10 mile or so uphill.

The top of Black Mountain has scattered trees with some small boulders. I located the Bench Mark on a large slab of rock. The highest rock indicated by hand-leveling is located about 50 feet south of the BM. I built a small cairn on the highpoint rock (but not covering the highpoint) and left a PVC register. There are a few views through the trees during leaf off. The coordinates of the highpoint rock are (37.46911° N, 90.49603° W).

The whole bushwhack covered about 900 feet of elevation gain, one of the most in Missouri.