Valles Mines, Missouri, U S A
Founded in 1749 by Francois Valle years. 274 years later as The Valle Mining Company, his 4000+ acre property every year absorbs 21,000 tons of carbon dioxide and puts out 14,000 tons of oxygen, enough to meet the needs of 63,000 people. [USDA Forest Facts]
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Mountain Biking near St. Louis

St. Joe Park? The Katie Trail? No, ruins of old mining villages..

Exploring 274-year-old ridge roads and ruins can show you, even let you relive, the patterns left from settlements long since gone. Perhaps start from newer roads paved with asphalt then duck up into chat roads and then to trails abandoned centuries ago. Following a mining haul road only wide enough for a team of oxen can take you up to the Crowbar Mine, or even higher to the top of Hill 1133, one of the highest hills in Jefferson or Ste. Francois County where you can see for 5 ridges on a clear day.

"I rode downhill for miles. Pack a lunch and something cold to drink. I wish I had."

Valles Mines had 8 Secrets, the Lost Villages. So far we have found 6 of them:

  1. old town Valles Mines,
  2. Halifax,
  3. Prospect School,
  4. Tunnel Station,
  5. The Big Lode Mine and
  6. The Garottee Mine.

The Bisch and the Perry, ghost villages now, have remained lost since the Civil War, possibly destroyed purposely to keep them from the enemy's hands. Mining ended 95 years ago but the roads and trails still connect the villages, deep inside the boundaries of the property. Road systems connect everything: The Rock Road forms a central 5.5 mile ring that goes to the General Store in the old town, Tunnel Station and The Big Lode Mines. It joins French Village Road at Buster (Cemetery) Crossing and by way of the old Halifax Post Office Road to French Village, connects eventually to Ste. Genevieve. Back in the interior of teh property it seems as if you cannot get farther away from the city and still be this close by. From HIlo 1133 it's a downhill ride for miles.

Paved County Roads now connect the General Store to the Old Dairy Farm to Hardin Road past Cole Lake Airport to Silver Springs Roads to Berry Road past the Radio Tower back to Valles Mines School Road to the General Store. That makes it 12 miles around the outside of the property on paved county roads. If you liked the Katie Trail, try the former railroad (MRBT or Mississippi River and Bonne Terre) right of way to the Haunted Railroad Tunnel.

Visitors need permission

You must purchase a seasonal or daily permit. Call 573-631-6875 to buy a permit, get directions, orientation, etc. We are privately owned and pay our own insurance and taxes. So buying a permit helps our efforts to maintain the lands you ride over as well as our efforts to preserve wildlife and upgrade our timber stands. Call the Superintendent at 573-631-6875 for details. The place takes some getting used to. Many square miles with abandoned county roads, trails, lakes, lookout points, etc. make it possible to get lost easily, often for hours. If this is not what you want to do, we recommend you stay on familiar trails to start with. Compass or GPS users might like to download our UTM GPS map. [NOTE TO MAP PEOPLE] If you use quad sheets for your maps, you may need Halifax, Bonne Terre, French Village or Vineland, depending on where you go. If that's too techy, consider using our Horse People map instead.