Irish Wilderness

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Irish Wilderness
IUCN category Ib (wilderness area)
Map showing the location of Irish Wilderness
Map showing the location of Irish Wilderness
Location Oregon County, Missouri, United States
Nearest city Fremont, Missouri
Coordinates 36°43′51″N 91°10′30″W / 36.73083°N 91.17500°W / 36.73083; -91.17500Coordinates: 36°43′51″N 91°10′30″W / 36.73083°N 91.17500°W / 36.73083; -91.17500
Area 16,277 acres (66 km2)
Established 1984
Governing body U.S. Forest Service

The Irish Wilderness is a 16,227-acre (66 km2) wilderness area in the U.S. State of Missouri. The U.S. Congress designated it a wilderness in 1984. The Irish Wilderness is located within the Eleven Point Ranger District, of the Mark Twain National Forest, 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Alton, Missouri. It was named after an Irish Catholic Priest, John Joseph Hogan, founded a settlement of about forty Irish families here starting in 1858; the settlement was wiped out during the American Civil War and has remained a wilderness ever since. The Irish Wilderness is one of eight wilderness areas protected and preserved in Missouri.

Hiking and horseback riding are popular on the White's Creek Trail, an 18.6 miles trail throughout the wilderness. Attractions include White's Creek Cave (temporarily gated to protect endangered bats), Fiddler and Bliss Springs, traces of old tramway railroads, and overlooks of the Eleven Point River. The Karst topography of the area creates very scenic views along this trail. Wildlife present include black bear, mountain lion, whitetail deer, timber rattlesnakes, turkey, and bald eagles.

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