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Burr Oak Tree

Point of Interest
McBaine MO
Mile marker 170.7
Burr Oak Road, Huntsdale, MO 65203

Burr Oak Tree is located approximately 0.2 mile from the Katy Trail, in McBaine MO

Directions: Near mile 170, you'll see the tree to the south, some 100 yards or so from the trail.

Thanks to chrisjw for helping map this location.
Burr Oak Tree
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Forum Discussions about Burr Oak Tree

Burr Oak Tree in Columbia
Steve from Bentonville on 10/18/2021 02:41 PM:
So cool seeing this tree again! Visited a few years ago by car! Amazing to think of the things that have occured during its time on Earth.

Burr Oak Tree in McBaine
Mr. Bump from Hannibal on 12/05/2018 09:49 PM:
Obligatory pics by the big oak. Why do people insist on spray painting this tree? Don't forget the big sycamore too. Lotta traffic on this road.

Burr Oak Tree in McBaine
Mr. Bump from Hannibal on 01/25/2018 06:52 PM:
Gotta see the tree. It's good for your soul dude.

Burr Oak Tree in McBaine
Marie Rothwell from Jamestown, ND on 09/29/2011 02:51 PM:
How old is this beautiful tree. There is a cement Stub for a plaque but missing.

Darrell from Jefferson City, MO. on 09/29/2011 07:46 PM:
Have read that it is estimated to be about 300 yrs old. Have also seen approx 250 yrs.

My guess is 310 years 274 days, and that is taking in to account all of the leap years, which is considerable. But, I have been wrong before about other things.

Trek on 09/29/2011 09:24 PM:
From the columbiamissourian dot com
Arborists work to preserve McBaine bur oak tree
Tuesday, June 30, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

Williamson, who owns the McBaine oak, also has an older graft of the tree in his front yard. Williamson was happy to see the original tree trimmed, grafted and pampered because it’s part of his family history.

“It’s kind of a historic landmark,” he said. “College students and people from the university have been coming down here to look at it all my life. My dad, who was born in 1902, remembered it as a big tree. It’s obviously genetically superior, but it’s also lucky.”

The MU Forestry Club bore a hole into the tree in the 1950s and counted the rings from the sample, Williamson said. They estimated the tree to be about 300 years old, so Williamson now considers it 350 years old and in good health, despite the fact that the McBaine oak has been struck by lightning several times and was surrounded by 6 feet of water for six weeks during floods in 1993.

“Trees don’t really heal like humans,” Russell said. “They just seal off the wound and form calluses, which stops it from decaying any further. This year, I went back and checked it, and it seems to be healing quite well.”

Russell was surprised to see more than half an inch of callus wood over the cuts where limbs had been trimmed away last year — something that usually takes years.

The tree has an official circumference of 287 inches and is 90 feet tall with a limb spread of 130 feet, according to the National Register of Big Trees. It has been the Missouri Champion bur oak for 22 years, Williamson said, and it is the national co-champion, tied with a tree in Woodford, Ky.

Darrell from Jefferson City, MO. on 09/30/2011 04:17 AM:
Excellent Trek! Very interestng, a truly "awesome" sight, a highlight of the Katy for sure.

Beth from Denver on 10/04/2011 09:31 PM:
The tree is an awesome sight--it's beautiful. It took seven of us joining hands to enclose the entire tree!

Jim from St Louis on 10/05/2011 09:09 PM:
We were just thru Mc Baine. Is the tree visible from the trail. Nothing of that size was evident from the trail or trailhead in a very small town -- pop.19.

Beth from Denver on 10/06/2011 07:32 AM:
It's actually off a country road a bit west of McBaine--first road east of Katfish Katy's, turn right and go a short distance. The tree will be on the east side of the road.

MidSouth from Rogersville, MO on 10/06/2011 08:50 AM:
The tree has it's own facebook page here http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Big-Tree-in-McBaine/131942922676

Jason Thomas vanatter from Columbia Missouri on 11/25/2017 11:44 PM:
I measured the tree around at chest height in 2012 it came to 24 feet around. The tree was fully mature probably 50 years old when Lewis and Clark came through. The rich soil from the Missouri River has given the Burr Oak Tree a life of growth like no other. It's just a miracle that it still stands due to the river. I had a friend take a picture of me and my 97 GMC Yukon park on the highway next to it and the tree looks bigger around than my truck, the branches on the tree are larger than most trees I've ever cut and I burnt wood my whole life there's always something special about standing next to something so old and the history that has been around it, you it left me impressed!

KC from Austin on 12/01/2017 02:43 PM:
It's funny, when you see this tree from the trail, its size is deceiving. I bet people go by and don't realize it's a state champ and national co-champ. Loved reading the history of it, thanks!

Burr Oak Tree in McBaine
Bob Gilstrap from Columbia on 03/19/2011 01:01 PM:
Why no plaque or sign or anything to commemorate this amazing tree?

Kris from Jefferson City on 04/03/2011 09:02 AM:
It has a Facebook page.

Anonymous on 09/15/2017 07:50 PM:
Because vandals have removed the plaque.

Bur Oak Tree in McBaine
Austin McFurry on 10/12/2015 08:38 AM:
My sister and I were ABSOLUTELY amazed of the wonder and beauty of this tree. It really got us thinking of how wonderful life is. <3

Burr Oak Tree in McBaine
Dennis d.B. from Georgia on 07/28/2015 08:15 PM:
Take a couple of minutes and go see this magnificent tree. I almost missed it as it is off the trail enough that it is easy to miss.

Burr Oak Tree (McBaine)
Chris from Harrisburg on 02/25/2010 06:49 AM:
There is a large beautiful, original pen/ink drawing of this wonderful tree at Art & Antiques in Rocheport on the Katy Trail...prints are available,too.

Burr Oak Tree (McBaine)
C_Bunch from Lake of the Ozarks on 07/19/2009 09:09 PM:
This tree is fantastic! Definitely something that you should stop and see! We were there today 7-19-09...

Local from Columbia from Columbia on 07/19/2009 11:30 PM:
Absolutely! I believe it's 350 years old if I'm not mistaken? Definitely worth a look.

Kyle from Bolivar, MO on 07/21/2009 01:33 PM:
I visited the tree for the second time this year on Sunday July 19th. I would like to know if anyone has ever measured the girth around the tree? It's amazing not only the height of the tree but I'd like to know the diameter of the trunk.

Trek on 07/21/2009 01:51 PM:
Google Kyle, Google! And, you'll find this article with the diameter listed.


You'll have to do some higher math to determine the girth. Google should be able to help you with a formula too if you don't have one handy.

JG from Columbia on 07/22/2009 08:53 AM:
The circumference is 287 inches, the height 90 feet and the spread is 130 feet giving it a Missouri point value of 410. Not only is this the Missouri state champion bur oak, it is also a national champion. For more information on state champion trees go to:


Burr Oak Tree (McBaine)
kim from bolivar on 06/01/2009 09:12 AM:
My husband "discovered" this tree this weekend on our ride. He was amazed! He returned to take my sister and I to look at it. We are so glad this tree is being preserved for others to see and enjoy.

Kyle from Bolivar, MO on 06/02/2009 12:07 PM:
Wow, what a small world.....I just read this and saw you were from Bolivar also. I was standing in front of that tree on May 23rd riding from Sedalia to Herman. Incredible history along the trail including this estimated 350 year old tree. Send me an e-mail some time at husker1@windstream.net and I'll send you the picture of the tree with my bike in front of it that I took. Besides, I'd like to know if your a Kim in Bolivar that I know.

Anonymous on 06/02/2009 02:03 PM:
Maybe she is your wife.....go figure!

Kyle from Bolivar, MO on 06/03/2009 11:20 AM:
Maybe she is your wife.....go figure!

- posted 6/2/2009 2:03:07 PM

What is this supposed to mean?? My wifes name isn't Kim.

Anonymous on 06/03/2009 02:25 PM:
I believe it was semi-clever attempt at humor. I got it.

Bur Oak Tree (McBaine)
Ann and Pete from St. Louis on 04/27/2009 05:40 PM:
We're tree people, so seeing this giant was a highlight of our Clinton to St. Charles trip last July. Well worth stopping for an hour or so and just sitting at its base, soaking it in.

By the way, the correct spelling is bur (not burr) oak. I found this in the Audubon Field Guide to Trees: "The common name describes the cup of the acorn, which slightly resembles the spiny bur of the chestnut."

Burr Oak Tree (McBaine)
Dorian from huntsdale, mo on 04/21/2009 12:51 PM:
The land owner is john Sam williamson. He lives in the house on the hill northwest of the

big tree. The land was passed down from his father. The plaque is in a museum in at.


Burr Oak Tree (McBaine)
Dorian from huntsdale, mo on 04/21/2009 12:47 PM:
The land owner is john Sam williamson. He lives in the house on the hill northwest of the

big tree. The land was passed down from his father. The plaque is in a museum in at.


Burr Oak Tree (McBaine)
Steph from Titusville, FL on 06/21/2007 12:14 AM:
I drove by the Big Tree today.. I'm actually trying to get more information about the tree. Does anyone know who owns the land it's on? I noticed that it's marker has been vandalized ):

Michael from Columbia on 06/22/2007 12:59 PM:
This person owns both sides of the street the tree is on:


Ana from Huntsdale MO on 06/28/2007 11:34 AM:
It is the Missouri State Champion Bur Oak, in fact. Last measured

It is 84 feet tall with a spread of 116 feet. It has a circumference of 272 inches at 54" above the ground. It's about 350 years old.

The big tree is located on the Williamson farm, about a mile from Huntsdale,Missouri, in the Missouri River floodplain.

There were some fears locally that it would not survive the Great Flood of 1993, but despite standing in six feet of water for awhile, the tree survived without problems.

The big tree has been a favorite local destination for generations. It's a great spot for picnics, or just to visit. It's also very photogenic. Some of the residents of Huntsdale try to keep the tree safe and cleaned up, but it is difficult when some visitors just trash the area and graffiti the stone.

Enjoy - Ana

D.McBaine from Warrensburg on 06/28/2007 07:49 PM:
I think it is amazing.......lots of history...even more appealing is my family history in this area!

brennan from phoenix on 04/14/2009 04:06 AM:
I grew up on the williams farm it used to stretch accross the whole bottom my grandmother owns luciles tavern in mcbaine she knows the history of the whole river bottom and I am pretty sure that tree is the biggest burr oak in the world but i could be wrong

John Williams who owns the land fought against the katy trail as the land used to build the railroad was leased from the local farmers and was suppose to be returned to them if the rail pulled out instead it was stolen by the government from the local land owners they fought it to (I can be wrong) the US Supreme Court but in the end the lost and the katy trail isn't as bad as they all thought it would be anyways..just fyi

Arkie on 04/16/2009 07:27 PM:
I am glad they "stole" it. The old railroad grade won't grow anything but white rocks anyway. Might as well use it ride bicycles.

Burr Oak Tree (McBaine)
bret salladay from novinger mo. on 11/06/2008 08:23 PM:
My son drove me to this monster today 11-06-08.I am 59 yrs old ,live on a farm on chariton river north of novinger and never have i ever saw a tree in missouri of this size .We measured six feet from the ground across our best guess and she was at least 8 feet across! I WILL RETURN! with camera and love for the sight of this majestic wonder!

D.&B.L. on 02/13/2009 10:14 PM:
i miss stopping by this majestic tree... you have to admit... she has earned way more than just respect....

Anonymous on 02/18/2009 06:23 PM:
i know this has been answered numerous times. i also know where the mcbaine trailhead is. so the question is, where is the tree at mcbaine. thanx in advance.

Trek on 02/19/2009 09:38 AM:
Traveling east from Huntsdale towards McBaine....approx. 8 tenths of a mile east of Huntsdale, the Katy crosses a blacktop highway. Looking south down the highway, you can see the tree standing right next to the road a quarter to a half mile from the trail. We've all been told this before....but you can't miss it. As a side note: The Katy Trail Guidebook directions are to continue an extra 1.3 miles to McBaine and then backtrack 1.7 miles to the tree....or just turn south at the highway and ride a half mile.

Burr Oak Tree (McBaine)
Wyatt from Columbia, Mo on 10/30/2006 09:37 AM:
Definetly the best looking tree in the state. This tree has seen many things throughout history. I can't believe it is over 300 years old! If you visit this Burr Oak you won't regret it and it's graceful image will stick in your mind for many months to follow. We should throw it a birthday party for its 350th birthday.

Nicholas Wear from KCMO on 10/23/2007 07:45 PM:
I actually have a load of hi-res photos of this tree... It's amazing to look at, and be around. I spent many nights thinking under this tree when I was in college at MU. I am 30 now, and have framed pictures of this tree all throughout my house.

This Burr Oak used to have a 'sister' Oak just ~ 75 yards away from it, but it was struck by lightning, and was used for firewood, I believe. This 'sister' tree was only marginally smaller than the tree with the placard. Feel free to email me if you would like some more hi-res pics, or if you have comments or questions about "The Big Tree".

Burr Oak Tree (McBaine)
Jason from Huntsville, AL on 10/16/2006 04:25 PM:
Definitely easy to miss. You have to make sure and pay attention to see it. We had to back track to see it. It is nice, but the area around the bottom of the tree is not all that nice. Still a beautiful tree though!

Burr Oak Tree (McBaine)
Jennifer Dawson from Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY on 06/15/2006 11:21 PM:
Many years ago, sometime in the mid 1980's, I visited this very field, and this amazing tree. I have never forgotten this lovely tree and the field surrounding.

In a daydream this morning at work, it came back to me and the urge to FIND this tree somewhere on the Internet was nearly overwhelming. It's silly, I know, but the sense of peace and familiarity I felt when finally discovering this photograph was deep and great.

I attended Stephens College, graduated in 1984 and returned to NY - sadly. Since then, I attended a large Dawson family reunion downstate, with a quick day-trip to Columbia to walk the Stephen's campus with my then toddler daughter. That was nearly six years ago....

If you're near this lovely tree, say a quiet "hello" for me, and if you're in the mood, please say "thanks," too. We should all live to be so old and graceful and generous as this peaceful, strong tree.

Mark of the Dalton Boys from Austin, TX/Columbia, MO. on 06/16/2006 09:04 AM:
A nice "touchstone" in your life. Nicely expressed, thank-you. Mark of the Dalton Boys

frank from festus on 06/16/2006 09:25 PM:
what mark of the dalton boys said

Burr Oak Tree (McBaine)
Drew & Karen from Blue Springs, MO on 05/30/2006 11:48 AM:
As you go east, look down the paved road to your right or you will miss it. It looks A BUNCH bigger close up. Thanks to the Joe/Jane for the tip as to where it was. Good photo op.

Burr Oak Tree
Ana Lopez from Huntsdale MO on 08/19/2005 12:31 PM:
Correction The State Champion Bur Oak tree is owned by Mr. John Sam Williamson, Jr. It is in vesinity of Huntsdale MO.

It's Circumference is 289" Height 85 feet and had a spread of about 118 feet. estimated age Over 300 years

You can also see info and pictures at www.huntsdalemo.com

Anonymous from Rocheport on 03/11/2006 08:54 AM:
There is a beautiful black and white pen and ink drawing of this tree in the "Art & Antiques" shop in Rocheport. They have 30"x 22" signed and numbered limited edition prints available. mcrr@mchsi.com

missyanne1948 from Ciolumbia, Missouri on 04/02/2006 09:11 PM:
"Burr Oak Tree " you are talking about is not in Huntsdale or Rochport It is on Route K (just keep going south on Providence) on the south side of Columbia The land it is on may very well be owned by Mr. John Sam Williamson, Jr

There are many legends about this tree. One that I am most familar with is that it is a witches hanging tree. I have also been told that visiting the tree on Halloween is a very eerie experience

At one time there was a plaque at the tree site but vandals destroyed it many years ago.

Burr Oak Tree (McBaine)
Lisa D. from Shawnee, KS on 03/15/2006 03:13 PM:
Okay, I have to admit I was not that excited about the prospect of going to see a big old tree, but since we were so close, and the kids wanted to, we went. I am so glad we did! This tree is impressive! It's not just a tree, it's a T R E E! Well worth the very short detour off the trail to visit. Add it to your list of stops and bring your camera.