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Giant bur oak draws visitors to McBaine

Thursday, August 19, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

Anyone with a bike or car and a couple of friends up for a good time can’t go wrong with a trip to the McBaine bur oak tree, better known to locals simply as “big tree.”

And they’re not kidding. This tree is big. It’s 90 feet tall, almost 24 feet around and roughly 7 and a half feet in diameter, according to the National Register of Big Trees. It’s estimated that the tree is between 200 and 400 years old.

McBaine itself is a sight to see, particularly for anyone from a big city. Only 17 people live in McBaine, according to the 2000 census.

The only spot to dine in town is a restaurant called Lucy’s, and anyone who drops in will probably see a handful of locals sitting around a table on a hot afternoon. Most of the 12 houses are visible from State Highway K, which passes straight through McBaine. Many towns this size, where everybody really does know everybody, are scattered throughout Missouri’s countryside.

Biking to the tree is easy enough:

  • Just get on the MKT Trail at one of the access points and bike the 8.9 miles to the trail’s end. There, it meets up with the Katy Trail, which runs across Missouri.
  • At Hindman Junction, take a right toward Rocheport — not left toward McBaine, unless you want to take the 2.5 mile long scenic route through the town.
  • Turn left where the paved Burr Oak Road intersects the Katy. The tree is about a tenth of a mile away.

The ride should take an hour to an hour and a half each way. Use a Google map for a visual guide.

Driving to the tree is just as simple:

  • Head south on Providence Road until it turns into State Highway K, which will take you straight to McBaine.
  • Pass by Lucy’s — or stop in for burgers, chicken strips and soda — located in the center of McBaine.
  • Keep driving two miles down the road; the tree is on the right. There’s enough room next to the road to pull off and stop a while before heading back to town.

It’s an easy 20-minute drive through the countryside each way. 


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