Mark Twain National Forest

Little Scotia Trail
Gorp.com

Type of Use: Foot

Other Recreation Activities: Boating, canoeing, birdwatching, sightseeing, photography, picnicking, camping, mushroom/berry picking. Hunting is allowed in season.

Nearby Facilities: Huzzah Ponds Recreation Area, Big Scotia Recreation Area, Loggers Lake Recreation Area, Sutton Bluff Recreation Area, Bell Mountain Wilderness.

Also nearby: Ozark Trail, Dillard Mill State Historic Site, Taum Sauk State Park, Johnson's Shut-ins State Park, Sam A. Baker State Park, Deer Run State Forest, Ozark National Scenic Riverways

In late April, flowering dogwood sparsely shields a campsite near the entrance of the Little Scotia Trail. The trail winds around the two-acre pond of the same name, over the earth dam, and across the spillway to the picnic area on the south side. On the green grass, patches of bird's-foot violet lay spread like handkerchiefs. The trail forks here, one fork leading to the parking lot, the other turning eastward and passing the stream that connects to the Big Scotia Pond and goes back to the campground. It only takes about half an hour to go around the loop.

Little Scotia Pond rests in a forest of oak, hickory, and shortleaf pine. It has no fish. Reptile and amphibian species are at home here. The water is a mirror on a windless day, reflecting the assortment of trees and flowers that surround it. Waterfowl use the pond as a runway to take off and land, temporarily disturbing the peacefulness. But soon the surface smoothes out again and the reflections reappear. The trail curves along the water's edge, guarded at places by sandstone blocks or climbing a short ways on sandstone steps.

Black cherry and sassafras trees grow at the edges of the woods. The yellow flower of cinquefoil (five fingers) is petite, but many of them together in a field call the works of the French Impressionists to mind. The purple wood sorrel also has small flowers. If you take the time to bite one, it will taste faintly lemon-like. In addition to these native plants, glittering bushes of white bridal wreath bloom in early spring. The presence of this small shrub usually indicates that a homesite was once here. The house is long gone, but the yard plants nurtured by the pioneer women who lived there sometimes survive.

The town of Nova Scotia was founded in the 1880s by the employees of the Nova Scotia Iron Company. In 1882 it boasted for a very short time the largest iron furnace in the world. The furnace was under full operation for only three years. During that time, the miners lived along the road in Scotia Valley. To provide a water source, they built dams to back up the water at the two Scotia Ponds. Today, deer graze on High Street and blackberry briars cover the foundations of structures where there were once human habitations.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 4 Nov 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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