Take a Hike, St. Louis!

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Published on: Jun. 2, 1997

Last revision: Oct. 26, 2010

Want to enjoy the natural world? There are many hiking trails within an easy drive of St. Louis that will meet your needs, whatever your hiking ability. Here's a sampling.

Rockwoods Reservation

Rockwoods has been a favorite among area hikers and their families for generations now.

What's most remarkable about Rockwoods is how primeval the terrain looks, despite the fact that much of the land was clear cut and extensively quarried within this century.

There are seven trails at Rockwoods, each offering a different experience and challenge. Distances range from 300 yards on the disabled accessible Wildlife Habitat Trail to 3.25 miles on the Lime Kiln Loop Trail. Cobb Cavern Trail is a short spur from the parking lot leading to a gigantic and photogenic quarry cave that's especially appealing on a hot day.

Some of the trails have steep climbs that could require a breather every hundred feet, so be ready for a workout. Others are partly or completely paved and are far less physically demanding.

As you hike Rockwood's trails, you will pass boulders the size of houses, clear-running springs, cathedral stands of white oaks, beautiful vistas and the ruins of structures from the lumber and quarry days.

The Education Center at Rockwoods offers a detailed topographic map of the area and interpretive brochures for several of the trails.

Rockwoods is on Highway 109 about two miles south of Highway 100 in western St. Louis County.

Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

This is a good place for the new hiker, families with young children and those who simply want a relaxing hike in the woods. There are three trails at Powder Valley. Each is fully paved, and each starts at the Nature Center parking lot.

The Trail of Many Creeks is the longest, covering 1.2 miles. It begins with a foot bridge high above the road leading into the park. There are some moderate inclines getting in and out of the valley. For less ambitious hikers, this trail has a short loop that reduces its length to one-half-mile.

The Broken Ridge Trail is two-thirds-mile long and travels through the oak hickory forests that cover Powder Valley. As its name suggests, the trail goes up and down hills, yet none is more than moderately steep.

The Tanglevine Trail is unique among the trails at Powder Valley because it is fully disabled accessible. The terrain is flat and the total distance is one third-mile.

Make sure to allow time for

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