60 Hikes within 60 Miles: St. Louis
by Steve Henry (Menasha Ridge Press)
© 2010 Steve Henry/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.
This was a nice trail with some great canyon like structures. The problem we encountered was the mosquitos. Being so close to the river bottoms, and sometimes being IN the river bottoms, the mosquitos are AWFUL!!! Bug spray didn't even touch the swarms of mosquitos we encountered. If you do take this trail, bring some serious bug spray.
Lovely trail, easily the best in this area. Just challenging enough to hold our interest, but easy enough that my (admittedly fit) 72-year father could join us. We hiked the path counterclockwise, and will probably do so again the next time.
My girlfriend and I hiked this trail in early November. It was a perfect weekend with unseasonably warm temperatures. Because of flooding and/or high water in low areas of the trail, we were forced to do a little bushwhacking around water hazards, once even fording a stream along fallen trees. It was well worth it. A trail with fewer challenges would have gotten fewer stars from me.
We hiked the trail clockwise, and I think that this is the best option but your mileage may vary, of course. After reaching the north edge of Chalk Bluff and getting your shot of the other side of Grand Canyon and the lowlands beyond, retrace your steps back behind the fence and take the switchback descending along the same ridge you arrived on. The trail here is quite narrow.
At the bottom of Grand Canyon, you will eventually reach a side canyon with a trail marker visible to those who are taking the trail counterclockwise. You will climb this canyon back to the ridge, so don't miss it. On the topo map it will be the second side canyon branching south from the main canyon. If you'd like, you can continue past on an unofficial trail until you reach a natural shelter. There is nothing beyond the shelter, however, except for a steep climb onto private property. The short hike to the shelter is well worth it.
A fun, quick trail.
Quite a short trail but well worth the trip out there. Main comment is that there is a fork in the creek/path that you follow on the way out of the canyon. Go to the right, it is not immediately obvious and the guide doesn't give guidance on this, I went to the left, it is not the way to go, unless you fancy some off-path hiking!
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