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Best Easy Day Hikes: St. Louis
by JD Tanner and Emily Ressler (Falcon Guides)
This loop trail offers visitors a steep climb to scenic limestone bluffs and a flat finish through the floodplain along the Meramec River in Castlewood State Park.
Mountain Bike! Ozarks
by Steve Henry (Menasha Ridge Press)
Castlewood State Park features 13 miles of trails divided into four loops of 2 to 3 miles each. There's something for everyone here. The River Scene and Grotpeter Trails begin near the picnic area nearest the park entrance. The Stinging Nettle Trail begins near the westernmost portion of the River Scene Trail. This trail is located on the western edge of the St. Louis metropolitan area, just south of Ballwin.
60 Hikes within 60 Miles: St. Louis
While exploring Castlewood State Park’s trails, you’ll hike through lush, flower-decorated bottomlands, admire panoramic views from bluffs towering above the Meramec River, and wander past the ruins of abandoned resorts that once graced this riverside landscape.
Great park, very close to the city. begins with a moderate climb up the bluff followed by nice views of the Meramec River. A steep descent down some stairs and then a nice walk along the river banks. Plenty of room for mountain bikers and hikers. A pretty easy trail, we hiked it with three dogs and three kids under 5. All had a great time. The kids particularly liked the occasional passing train. Great hike, only 30 minutes from St. Louis.
Beautiful park, but both the experience and the landscape have been degraded by mountain bike abuse and overuse in general. Go during the week when there is less of both and try to ignore the tire ruts.
This trail was way too crowded for us, with quite a few rude bicyclists. The trail itself had only one highpoint at the end where it opens up to a nice beach area on the river. Most of it runs alongside a very busy railroad track. The park at the trailhead is nice enough, but again very crowded.
There is a nice variety of trails here. None of them are especially technical, but there is every thing from practically paved, to mildly technical.
The only real problem is that the Stinging Nettle and Blue Ribbon trails dry VERY slowly, and hence a substantial portion of the trails are unrideable for quite a while after a good rain.
I train in castlewood several times a week, year round. For those living not far from Saint Louis it's a close by trail and park. I combine 2-3 trails and work out for and hour to 1.5 hours. From the parking lot next to the play grounds I like to go on Grotpeter and connect with Lonewolf. an excellent work out with technical chalanges and nice hilly climbs with fast decents. I also lie to go on the river trail, your reach a short technical section after 2 miles of riding on the bank of the meramec. After that section take the right trail wich leads to Cedar bluff trail. You go under the rail road to a nice 3 mile loop wich is a good work out and some what technical (all rideable). Begginers should do the trail clockwise.
Castlewood is not well marked but after riding the trail system and maintaining your bearings with the river you can't get lost
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