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I absolutely love hiking. If you hate winter as much as I do, you are beyond grateful for this warm weather. In Missouri, the weather can be unpredictable but thank goodness spring has begun and we can start hitting a ‘norm’. With the start of spring and summer comes exciting opportunities to be adventurous! It is a perfect time for outdoor activities like hiking, and to really get out there and appreciate nature. If you enjoy getting outside and getting a little dirty, go for a hike!
Spring into action with these top spots for hiking in Missouri.
Ha Ha Tonka is one of those spots I stumbled across one day searching for somewhere to hike on the way back to St. Louis from the Lake Of The Ozarks. Ha Ha Tonka features the stone ruins of a turn-of-the-20th-century castle built by a prominent Kansas City businessman high atop a bluff. The park includes more than 15 miles of trails throughout. Take caution as the trails will lead you through some rough terrain such as sinkholes, natural bridges and caves. I would not recommend this park if it is a misty day, following storms, as the moisture makes it extremely difficult. There are the most gorgeous natural springs located at the bottom of the park that you can either drive to hike to. The architecture and breathtaking scenery combine to make Ha Ha Tonka State Park one of Missouri’s most treasured spots.
This is one of my favorite spots for hiking. My go-to trail is the lone wolf trail that I think turns into the river scene trail. Each trail has multiple resting locations with benches and viewing decks overlooking the Meramec river. You will have to stop every once in a while because the views are some of the best photo ops. This park is great for everything from hiking to biking to fishing and bbq! Maybe throw some Frisbee with your fur children (dogs haha) or set up a game for flag football in the field. There are some great playgrounds for kids also! The park has hiking and mountain biking trails that range from those great for first-timers to ones that even the most experienced will return to time after time.
Shaw Nature Reserve is a division of the Missouri Botanical Garden. However, it is not free like the other parks mentioned in this article. It costs $5.00 USD for admission for efforts to help support the reserve. There are beautiful fields of wildflowers blanketed across the reserve and mystical back trails that will loop you around to unsuspected attractions and incredible views. The visit is definitely worth the $5.00 admission.
Meramec State Park is located in Sullivan, MO and features 7 trails of different lengths and difficulty. Among them is the 8.5-mile Wilderness Trail, highlighting the best of numerous geological features. Be careful. it is the most rugged and remote section within park boundaries and could be dangerous under certain circumstances.
Pickle Springs is a National Natural Landmark located on 180 acres in Sainte Genevieve. The scenic natural area that contains all sorts of fascinating sandstone rock formations including box canyons and wet weather waterfalls. The sandstone rock here is the Lamotte sandstone that was formed from sandy beaches of a shallow ocean that existed here 500 million years ago. Since then layers of limestone were buried upon this sandstone but millions of years of erosion and uplift of the Ozark plateau have exposed the sandstone we see today. As you hike through this natural wonder do’t forget to stop and enjoy the blossoms of rose azalea along the sandstone valley in the spring.