Most people know that Missouri is nicknamed the Show-Me State, but what most might not know is that Missouri is also known for its vast trail systems. In fact, in 2013 American Trails presented Missouri with the
Best Trails State Award. Here are just a few of our favorites that we recommend you hike.
1. Old Kate Trail - Parkville Nature Sanctuary
This nature sanctuary holds 3 miles of trails in its 115 acres of land. We recommend going with the short and easy Old Kate Trail to view the sanctuary's beautiful waterfall.
2. River Scene Trail - Castlewood State Park
To catch the most spectacular panoramic view of the Meramec River valley, take this 1.5-mile hike in Castlewood State Park.
3. Whispering Pines Loop Trail - Hawn State Park
Plan for a day of hiking when challenging yourself to this 9.75-mile loop. Wander through a mix of hardwood and pine forest as well as Pickle Creek and the River Aux Vases.
4. Drover's Trail - Prairie State Park
The best place to see free roaming American bison in Missouri would have to be Prairie State Park. The trails are nice and flat too, so it's an easy hike.
5. Hogsback Trail - Klondike Park
Explore 250 acres of a former silica sand quarry while hiking at Klondike Park. Biking is very popular as well on these trails, so be sure to keep your head up for any cyclists.
6. Mina Sauk Falls Trail - Taum Sauk Mountain State Park
On this trail you'll not only get to see the tallest waterfall in Missouri, but also stand atop the state's highpoint. Pretty cool!
7. Ozark Trail - Current River
Technically, the Ozark Trail goes for as long as 350 miles. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy sections of it, one day trip at a time. We recommend starting at the trailhead along the Current River, especially during a hot day.
8. Confluence Trail -Columbia Bottoms Conservation Area
Explore the bottomland habitats such as shallow wetlands, bottomland hardwoods, prairie, and cropland. Due to flooding, portion of this conservation area close form time to time. Be sure to call beforehand to check for closures.
9. Lone Wolf Trail - Castlewood State Park
Hike this 1.8-mile trail in Castlewood State Park for beautiful ridge top views and fern covered bluffs.
10. Trail of the Trees - Rockwoods Reservation Area
This reservation, located in western St. Louis County, features springs, caves, and rock formations. Its cool, shaded forestry makes it a perfect hike on hotter days.
11. Black River Trail - Johnson Shut-Ins State Park
This 3.1-mile hike starts from the state park's campground and enters into the valley. Once in the valley, the terrain changes from sidewalk to crushed limestone as you get closer to viewing the beautiful shut-ins.
12. Mudlick Trail - Sam A. Baker State Park
For some serious climbs (well, pretty serious for Missouri anyways) hike the Mudlick Trail in which you'll gain almost 900 feet of elevation along the way in the St. Francois Mountains.
13. Turkey Hollow Trail - Ha Ha Tonka State Park
This 6.5-mile hike takes you through one of the best oak woodlands left in the Ozarks.
14. Big Piney Trail - Paddy Creek Wilderness
The longest of our trails, Big Piney is a 17-mile loop that meanders through the 7,019-acre wilderness area of Paddy Creek.
15. Vilander Bluff Trail - Onondaga Caves State Park
Just like its name states, Onondaga Caves State Park is predominately known for its caves. However, hike 1.25 miles through the park and you'll get to see red cedar growing out of the bluffs, some of which are over 200 years old.
16. Clifty Creek Trail - Clifty Creek Natural Area
Clifty Creek was Missouri's first designated natural area in 1971. Today it still draws visitors from throughout the region to see the 40 foot long natural bridge over Clifty Creek and explore the variety of botanical riches.