Best Hikes Near St Louis  by JD Tanner

Best Hikes Near St. Louis Guide Book

by JD Tanner (Falcon Guides)
Best Hikes Near St Louis  by JD Tanner
Here are forty of the best hikes, all of them within an hours drive of St. Louis, Missouri, from the bustling urban trails of historic Forest Park to the varied geography of southern Illinois to the rocky, rolling hills of the Missouri Ozarks. Whether you're in the mood for an easy nature walk, a day-long hike, or an overnighter, this guide offers plenty to choose from.

© 2012 JD Tanner/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Hikes Near St. Louis" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 40.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 40.

The 1000 Steps Trail, in historic Washington State Park, climbs one of the t owering dolomite bluffs located in the park. The strenuous trek takes hikers to the top of the bluff to a lookout area with views of the Big River and camping area. The trail contin- ues on to pass some of the struc tures built by an African-American company of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.
Old Mines, MO - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.4
Popular with bikers, hikers, runners, and families, the Al F oster Trail provides many options for outdoor recreation. The well-maintained trail follows the Meramec River and offers good views and shade all year long.
Eureka, MO - Hiking - Trail Length: 5
The August A. Busch Memorial C onservation Area is w ell known to locals for its thirty-two fishable lakes and ponds, which provide habitat for bass, catfish, crappie, sunfish, and trout. The nearly 7,000 acres also provide quality flat-terrain hiking for anyone looking for a leisurely stroll. Other activities include bird watching, bicycling, hunting, and wildlife viewing. Pick up your fishing permits at the visitor center when you first enter the conservation area. A gift shop, snack stand, restrooms, and inter- pretive center are located at the visitor center as well.
Lake Saint Louis, MO - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.2
American civilization north of Mexico. Once a center for trade and politics, Cahokia was even said to have been larger than London at the height of its exist ence. Even more intriguing is that this huge civilization seems to have vanished into thin air. Weaving its way around ancient mounds, this loop trail offers visitors an up-close look at the m ysterious and ancient cit y known as C ahokia. Located just min utes from downtown St. Louis, Cahokia Mounds makes a fantastic day trip for hikers and history buffs alike.
State Park Place, IL - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
The Hughes Mountain Natural Area is one of M issouri’s geologic wonders. The rock formation here is similar to that of the Devils Tower in Wyoming and the Devils Post- pile in California, both national monuments. The short climb to the top is well worth some of the best vistas the state has to offer.
Irondale, MO - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.7
The Forest 44 Conservation Area is a rugged forestland located southwest of St. Louis. The 1,008 acres are at the northeastern-most tip of the Ozarks and include many of the plants and animals commonly found in the Ozarks. The area also includes a shooting range and horseback riding.
Valley Park, MO - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.4
One of the mor e strenuous hikes in Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial Stat e Park, the Dogwood Trail offers nature lovers an interesting mix of forest habitat.
Weldon Spring, MO - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.3
Passing through the Crescent Hills, the Flint Quarry Trail is an ideal destination for hikers hoping to escape the city and enjoy the natural and cultural history of West Tyson County Park.
Eureka, MO - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.5
Located in the hear t of St. L ouis and just off I-64, Forest Park is one of the lar gest urban parks in the United States. Owned and operated by the City of St. Louis, Forest Park is considered one of the cit y’s most treasured resources. This easy, paved trail forms a loop around the perimeter of the park and passes sev eral of the cit y’s most popular attractions, including the St. Louis Science Center, the St. Louis Zoo, and the Missouri History Museum, all of which are available to the public free of charge.
Richmond Heights, MO - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.7
The Giant City Nature Trail is a f avorite for regular visitors to Giant City State Park. Located near the D evils Standtable, an amazing r ock formation, the natur e trail is perfect for wildlife viewing, photography, and exploring. Nearby picnic areas make for a full day of outdoor recreation.
Makanda, IL - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.1
Carved out by ancient glaciers and meltwaters, the Illinois River provides a picturesque backdrop for visitors to the area. Known for its abundant wint er bald eagle p opula- tion, Pere Marquette State Park has something for ev ery type of outdoor enthusiast. This short but challenging hik e offers some of the best views in the 8,000- acre park. Many visitors find the time to stop in the city of Grafton for a stroll around town.
Meppen, IL - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.7
Graham Cave State Park is located just off of I-70, west of St. Louis. A series of tr ails within the park make up a 3.0-mile loop highlighted by Graham Cave. The hike itself is a moderate stroll through a moist b ottomland forest, a rocky oak-hickory forest, sandstone glades, and dolomite glades. Be sure to make a pit stop at the visitor cen- ter as you first enter the park.
Montgomery City, MO - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
The Powder Valley Conservation Area considers itself an urban oasis. Open since 1991, the ar ea offers 112 acres of oak-hick ory forest to hikers. The Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center offers numerous educational opportunities for visitors to enhance their knowledge about the use of resources in an urban setting.
Sunset Hills, MO - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.2
The Katy Trail is the longest dev eloped rail-trail in the Unit ed States. Running from St. Charles to Clinton, Missouri, the 225-mile trail stretches across almost the entir e width of the stat e and is p opular with runners, hikers, and bikers alike. The portion of trail between the Weldon Spring and Matson trailheads is a particularly beautiful stretch and makes a fine day hike and a short trip from St. Louis. Plan for a stop in the town of Defiance, a popular destination for lunch or ice cream.
Weldon Spring, MO - Hiking - Trail Length: 9.2
This easy day hike follows the shoreline of Lake Boutin and is easily accessible from the campground.
Jackson, MO - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.25
This loop hike takes you through the Weldon Spring C onservation Area. Towering limestone bluffs offering excellent views of the Missouri River, an abundance of wild- life, and easy access from St. Louis combine to make for an ideal day trip.
Weldon Spring, MO - Hiking - Trail Length: 8
This fine loop trail offers a peaceful and shaded tr ek through Rockwoods Reserva- tion, one of the oldest conservation areas in the state of Missouri.
Eureka, MO - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.8
Mastodon State Historic Site is located just off of I-55 and is a short drive from down- town St. Louis. The longest trail in Mastodon State Historic Site, the Limestone Hill Trail offers a rugged but scenic hike that traverses the base of an int eresting lime- stone bluff.
Kimmswick, MO - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
This loop hike in the Shawnee National F orest features exposed bluffs, an erosion- carved canyon, a seasonal w aterfall, and several rock overhangs, making it one of the most interesting areas in the entire region. The parking area offers several picnic sites and an outhouse for visitors looking to enjoy a longer stay.
Pomona, IL - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
Located in Cuivre River State Park, the Lone Spring Trail provides an interesting trek through a dense w oodland of white oak, black oak , shagbark hickory, and nor th- ern red oak. Lone Spring appears from under a shelf of limest one and offers hikers a calm spot to relax and take in the sights and sounds of this unique park . The park offers numerous recreational opportunities. In addition t o the park ’s eleven hiking trails, visitors can stay in the c ampground, boat, swim, fish, or just relax and enjoy the Ozark-like topography.
Troy, MO - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.8