The United States Congress designated the Paddy Creek Wilderness (map
) in 1983 and it now has a total of 7,040 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Missouri
and is managed by the Forest Service.
When Sylvester Paddy first logged this region in the early 1800s, many trees floated from here to Saint Louis, Missouri, providing an important supply of building materials for that city. The area was then homesteaded and used as grazing land into the 1930s. Big Paddy and Little Paddy Creeks drain the area, flowing into the Big Piney River near the eastern Wilderness boundary. With a mixed hardwood forest lining their banks and steep cliffs and rocky outcroppings hanging over the drainages, the creeks run most of the year. Caves and distinctive rock formations are common in this wilderness underscoring the unique karst topography of the Ozark Highlands region. Above the drainages is a forest of black, white, and post oaks, along with hickories and shortleaf pines. Wildlife common to the Ozarks prevail in this area: white-tailed deer, wild turkey, squirrel, rabbit, fox, coyote, and bobcat. The Big Piney Trail starts at the Roby Lake Recreation Area, just outside the southwestern corner, and loops for 17 miles through the heart of the Wilderness along some of the area's finest overlooks. You can leave the Wilderness at the Paddy Creek Campground on the northeastern corner or loop back to where you started.