Rush Mountain Trail: Morning Star – Landing (Buffalo River)

Rush Mountain Trail: Morning Star - Landing (Buffalo River) photo
Stone smelter constructed in 1886 – the oldest structure in the Rush area

Rush is a former mining community that existed along the Buffalo River that was originally established for the mining of zinc ore in the mountains there. The town exists now as an old ghost town with no current residents. However, many historic sites remain with structures dating back to the 1880’s.

The Morningstar Loop is a short loop that is the best route to take to get a feel for the history of this area. The Rush Mountain Trail is a level stretch of trail that takes you by several of the old mine entrances for the area.

Morning Star Loop

(Directions for getting to the Rush Historic District are in this post.) Park at the Morning Star trailhead. It is the first parking area on the road. It is on the left, just past the row of old buildings on the right.

Rush Mountain Trail: Morning Star - Landing (Buffalo River) photo
A view of the old general store

The Morning Star Loop is .2-mile loop that starts to the left. It first passes an old smelter that dates back to 1886. It is the oldest structure in Rush.

Next up the trail are the remains of an old livery barn that was built in the 1890’s. The trail then passes an old blacksmith shop and the remains of the Morning Star processing mill, and several other old ruins. Also there is a great view through the trees in this area of the old ghost-town houses and general store that are on the other side of the road.

Rush Mountain Trail: Morning Star - Landing (Buffalo River) photo
One of the historic information signs along the Morning Star Loop

This little loop (about .2 miles long) has a lot of history and reading. It is worth taking the time to read the plaques to learn about the history of the area.

Rush Mountain Trail: Morning Star - Landing (Buffalo River) photo
The old livery barn is in great condition.

Midway through the Morning Star Loop is a trail juncture that heads up the hill to the left. This is the start of the Rush Mountain Trail. From here, the Morning Star Loop continues off to the right past some more historic sites and then back to the parking area.

Rush Mountain Trail: Morning Star Loop to Rush Landing Area

The Rush Mountain Trail starts at about the midway point of the Morning Star Loop and heads straight uphill. (There is no signage at this juncture.)  This is a pretty steep climb, but it is definitely worth the effort.

After about a one-fifth-mile climb, the trail levels out. Stay on the well-traveled main trail. (Don’t take the small, unmarked path to the left. It is a primitive unofficial trail section that completes the loop back from the Monte Christo area.)

Rush Mountain Trail: Morning Star - Landing (Buffalo River) photo
There are at least seven old mine sites along the trail.

From here, the trail is pretty level with a few ups and downs, but it is easy to follow.  There are at least seven old mine sites along the trail. They are remnants of the former Rush zinc ore mining industry. (For safety reasons, the mines are all closed to public access by fencing and grates.)

Rush Mountain Trail: Morning Star - Landing (Buffalo River) photo
Me at a vista on the Rush Mountain Trail

As you pass the last of the mines on this trail, the trail will follow an old road bed down the hill.  At one point, the main trail heads LEFT off the old road trace.  Take the trail to the left, and it will head off into the woods (straight will take you to the main entrance road).

Rush Mountain Trail: Morning Star - Landing (Buffalo River) photo
Rush Mountain Trail, heading back downhill

Eventually, the trail hits a juncture. At this point, the path to the right goes to the Rush Landing parking area. (There is a pit toilet here.)

The trail to the left is a continuation of the Rush Mountain Trail into the Monte Christo area. If you are not hiking into that area, you can do a return hike back the same way or simply walk the road back to the Morning Star trailhead. The round trip length of this hike is about three miles.

Date Hiked: 10-23-2011

Length: 3 miles (out and back)

Difficulty:  Easy

Footwear: Tennis shoes or trail runners are fine.

Trail Book:  None required, but covered in Buffalo River Hiking Trails.

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