60 Hikes within 60 Miles: St. Louis
by Steve Henry (Menasha Ridge Press)
© 2010 Steve Henry/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.
The Lost Valley Trial is schizophrenic but enjoyable. Remember this area was a munitions site in WWII so the LVT is a mixture of Ozark ridgeline trails and old roadways which can be clay, light gravel or even 80 year old asphalt. But the mix is nice! Just when you think you are 1000 miles from civilization, you come across an old remnant of mankind returning to nature. Shoe soles should be thick enough to step on sharp gravel and the bugs? That is why "OFF!" is sold everywhere. Use it and no problems. Takes about 3-1/2 hours at a 3.4 mph pace.
Walked only the Clark Trail. Overnight rains made much of the trail very muddy and subsequently slick in places.
Aside from that? Beautiful views of the Missouri and a nice (mostly) wide trail. Will definitely go back in the fall and winter and in the spring if not too wet.
But never again in the summer.
Excellent hike, rugged and scenic (beautiful views of Missouri River). However, I will not hike this trail again between April and October as the mosquitos are the worst I've ever seen. The closer to the river, the worse they get. This would be a great winter hike.
This is a very enjoyable trail which is well marked and quite easy. The trail is well worn, so there are no tricky footing problems up or downhill. You get some beautiful view of the river and you also cross a few streams. A really enjoyable walk, but by no means a workout. I bring a 30 pound backpack for training and I was hardly tired after doing the 5.3 mile Clark route. This would be a great trail to take kids on or to just walk with friends. Be prepared with insect repellant!
The Lewis & Clark trail remains one of the best in the St. Louis area.
The wildflowers at this time of year are just phenomenal on this trail. Of course the ever-present blue phlox was in abundance. Also trillium, spring beauties, violet wood sorrel, and a spectacular row of bi-colored birdfoot violets growing on a mossy slope.
The last overlook on the "Lewis" loop was indeed the best one, Steve Henry's favorite. We called it a mini "Angel's Landing" because you do have to step out on a saddle to reach the overlook. The Missouri River has a bright green slough below this overlook that seems more appropriate to the Bootheel end of the state.
There were some pesky mosquitoes around mile 5 - 6 of the hike. These critters should not drive you away from enjoying this wonderful hike. Put a bandana under your cap to keep them off your neck & cheeks, and wear long pants & a long-sleeved shirt.
We hiked the 8.3 mile loop in 3.5 hours. It was quite a workout. We saw a couple of families backpacking on the trail, it looked as if they were training for an overnight. Great idea!
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