Pilot Knob/Devil's Ice Box Tour
If you have a group that will be in Arcadia Valley, and they want to take a tour, contact U.S. Fish and Wildlife in advance. They may be able to set up a special tour for you.
The Devil's Ice Box is located near the top of Pilot Knob Mountain in the Pilot Knob National Wildlife Refuge. The mountain can only be traversed during guided tours, which are hosted by U. S. Fish & Wildlife representatives or their designates.
This once productive mine shaft, created during the mountain's mining past, goes deep into the mountain's core and during the summer a cool flow of air blows outwards from the entrance. Sometimes the air is so cold it can be felt at the base of the mountain on the Battle of Pilot Knob Historic Site, even on a hot summer's day.
During winter, one of the largest colonies of Indiana Bats in the country, as well as Northern Long Ear bats, hibernate there. Indiana Bats are on the endangered species list. Because of this, U. S. Fish and Wildlife is very stringent about how the area is accessed.
Taking the tour will show you the entrance to the mineshaft and jaw-dropping views of the valley. If you'll be here on the day a tour is conducted, it's definitely worth doing! And the best part? It's FREE!
Note: If you are with a large group, such as geology or history classes, tour bus groups, etc., call in advance. If the resources are available, they may be able to arrange a special, unscheduled tour for you.
The hike has "steep terrain with loose rock and uneven footing". You must be in decent physical shape to take the tour. All attendees should meet at the Pilot Knob State Historic Site at least fifteen to thirty minutes before the start of your scheduled tour. You can view the Civil War Museum while you're there! Groups are typically restricted to 20 or fewer people.
You can find Pilot Knob State Historic Site on Google Maps.
Pre-register to reserve your spot for the hike by calling the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge at 573-222-3589. Details on schedule and meeting location will be provided to registered participants.
Tour dates are limited, so you'll need to contact U. S. Fish & Wildlife well in advance to secure a spot.
Pilot Knob National Wildlife Refuge is located in Arcadia Valley near the junction of Missouri Route 21 and Missouri Highway 221. Pilot Knob National Wildlife Refuge is managed by the staff at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge.