The 10 Best Hiking Trails in Missouri!

1. Coyote Trail, Prairie State Park, Nevada, MO

Prairie State Park is best known for preserving the prairie tallgrass that once covered the whole state. It only has one official trail, the Coyote Trail, although hikers are encouraged to roam through the park and enjoy the open spaces. Coyote Trail is an easy, 3.2 mile trail, and the park’s literature says that hikers might even see coyote families gamboling through the grass. Hikers report that the herd of wild bison have been known to settle in across the trail, blocking their way, but nobody has indicated they minded being displaced by these majestic, endangered beasts. 

2. Fire Tower Trail, Roaring River State Park, Cassville, MO

Roaring River State Park is located deep in the south of Missouri, a stone’s throw from the Arkansas border. It marks the region where the foothills of the Ozarks become the true Ozarks Mountains, and even the shorter trails at Roaring River State Park take hikers up steep mountainsides to spectacular views. Fire Tower Trail is the longest of the short trails at Roaring River at 3.75 miles. It is named for the old 1930s fire lookout tower that still looms over the dense woods, about a mile and a half from the visitors’ center. The steep paths might be a little more work, but the views and experience are more than worth it. 

3. Big Piney Trail, Licking, MO

At 17 miles long, The Big Piney Trail, in the Mark Twain National Forest outside of Licking, is both one of the longer ones and one of the more challenging ones in our survey. It winds through the beautiful national forest, and is considered a true wilderness hike. Park officials emphasize the wilderness part of that description; the trail has a 500-foot rise over its distance, and there is no water available apart from what hikers can bring or sterilize themselves. Horseback riding is allowed, but however you access this majestic wilderness trail, park staff cautions you to use “leave no trace” procedures so that this beautiful piece of native Missouri may be preserved for all. 

4. Taum Sauk Section, Ozark Trail, Mark Twain Forest, MO

Although the Ozark Trail is not quite completed, when it is finished, it will stretch over 500 miles in a diagonal line across the south-central to eastern-central corner of Missouri. Needless to say, the 350 miles that are available contain multiple trails of different lengths. One of the most famous and well-hiked of these trails is the 14.5 mile Taum Sauk trail, which is located in Taum Sauk Mountain State Park. One spur of this trail leads to Mina Sauk Falls, the highest waterfall in Missouri, and circles around to make a 3 mile loop back to the main trail. It’s one of the most scenic and best-loved trails in the state. 

5. Castle Trail, HaHa Tonka State Park, Camdenton, MO

There are 5 hiking trails at Ha Ha Tonka State Park, each of them fairly short and local, totaling only 15 miles of trail between them. But few places can offer such arresting scenery in such a small area. The Castle Trail is only 1.5 miles long, but leads hikers over hills, through woods and open areas, and to overlooks where information is available about the scenery and the area. Most notably, this wheelchair and stroller accessible trail leads to the ruins of a 20th century castle, set high on the bluffs over Lake of the Ozarks. Other trails at Ha Ha Tonks take hikers over boulders, under natural bridges, or along the lake. It’s one of the most intriguing locations for hiking in the state. 

6. Natural Tunnel Trail, Bennett Spring State Park

Bennett Spring Park has 7 hiking trails, from the 70-mile Bridge Trail (named for a bridge that no longer exists) to the tiny 1/3 mile Oak Hickory Trail, but by far the most famous and sought-after trail is the Natural Tunnel Trail. This is a 7.5-mile trail that routes through the 296-foot long Natural Tunnel. It includes several other points of interest as well, including two small family cemeteries, and natural shelters that settlers may have used as they passed through the area. 

7. Gans Creek Wild Area Trail System, Rock Bridge State Park, Columbia, MO

Gans Creek is an 8.5 mile trail found off one of the shorter trails in Rock Bridge State Park outside of Columbia. It is open to both hikers and horse riders, although horse riding is only permitted during the summer and fall. The Gans Creek trail passes near Gans Creek, and the presence of high bluffs along the trail highlight the waterfalls running into the creek. The trail is only minimally maintained by park staff, in order to optimize the experience of an extended hike through unspoiled Missouri nature.  

8. Cedar Creek Trail, Mark Twain National Forest, Rolla, MO

This 36-mile trail is found in south central Missouri, near Rolla. This section of the Mark Twain National Forest covers 16,000 square acres, and the Cedar Creek Trail that winds through it takes hikers through both forest and prairie. It is divided into 4 sections, and different sections permit pets, mountain bikes, and even horses. 

9. Lewis and Clark Trail, Weldon Creek Conservation Area, St. Charles, MO

The Lewis and Clark Trail is actually two separate moderate-length trails: Lewis is 7.4 miles and Clark is 3 miles. They are found in the Weldon Creek Conservation Area, in St. Charles, which is right outside of St. Louis. The Lewis Trail is a longer loop, and but if hikers turn off onto the Clark Trail, it will take them right out onto the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River. The whole hike is beautiful, but this view is considered one of the most stunning in Missouri. 

10. The Katy Trail, Katy Trail State Park, Clinton to St. Charles, MO

The Katy Trail is over 240 miles long, and until recently stretched from Clinton, MO, to St. Charles. A new segment of the Katy Trail is currently being built that will extend the trail from Clinton northwest to Kansas City, which will mean the trail will soon extend across the state. The Trail was built along on donated land which used to be a train route, and has several entry points, including Clinton, Machens, and Rocheport, MO. For the eastern 2/3 of the trail, it follows the path of the Missouri River, which gives it some of the most spectacular scenery and variety in the state. The Katy Trail is used by hikers, joggers, and bikers, and some hearty souls even undertake to hike or ride the entire distance—a feat which is about to get more challenging!

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Find Hiking Trails Near You
678 State Route 147, Troy, MO
Looking for the Ozarks in northern Missouri? Cuivre River State Park is one of the state’s largest and most rugged parks!Cuivre River State P... Read More
345 County Road 6670, Salem, MO
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900 State Park Drive, Robertsville, MO
The Meramec River and Calvey Creek bound Roberstville State Park, creating unlimited outdoor opportunities. Boat launches and easy water acces... Read More
1401 Olive Road, New Haven, MO
About Us:Blue Bird Hiking Trail one of our most popular amenities, this easy-fitness four-mile trail encircles the property and offers spectacular ... Read More
Hwy. 100 & I-44, Villa Ridge, MO
If you love wildflowers, Shaw Nature Reserve is the place to go. Its landscape blooms from spring to fall, showcasing its blossoms in a wide variet... Read More
1 Elbert Drive, Washington, MO
About Us:The "Rotary Riverfront Trail" portion is 10' wide with an asphalt surface. Walkers, bicyclists and rollerbladers can enjoy a smo... Read More
About Us:The Joachim Loop Trail in Herculaneum, Missouri, was constructed during 2007-2008 and officially opened in the Spring of 2008. The trail c... Read More
1050 Charles J. Becker Drive, Imperial, MO
Looking to take a trip to where something big happened? Try Mastodon State Historic Site. The site is the home of the Kimmswick Bone Bed, one ... Read More
13041 State Hwy. 104, De Soto, MO
Petroglyphs, quaint hiking shelters and incredible Ozark overlooks define the Washington State Park experience. Easy access to the Big River m... Read More
3309 Kister Drive, Saint Charles, MO
Walking, Hiking and Bike trailThe Boschert Greenway is a 1.71 walking and biking trail that runs between Fox Hill Park and Fountain Lake Park. The ... Read More
2800 Pimville Road, Park Hills, MO
Status - OpenArea - TrailLand - State ParkVisit for more info The roar of engines breaks the stillness of the Old Lead Belt at... Read More
225 Grand Avenue, Wildwood, MO
Eight (8) foot wide crushed stone trail.  It is available for use by pedestrians and bicyclists.Size: The current trail length is 4.5 miles (2... Read More
Old State Road and State Route 109, Glencoe, MO
Eight (8) foot wide asphalt trail.  Available for use by pedestrians and bicyclists.Size: Current trail length is 1.4 miles.Amenities: Restroo... Read More
Linear Park along the Meramec River, Fenton, MO
The Meramec River Greenway is located along the Meramec River.  You can follow the walking/bike path from Fenton City Park along the river to ... Read More
690 Chesterfield Parkway West, Chesterfield, MO
About Chesterfield was named a Top 10 Town by Missouri Life Magazine in 2011 for cities with a population between 2,500 to 50,000. The criteria wa... Read More
12096 Park Drive, Sainte Genevieve, MO
Hawn State Park is one of the loveliest parks in a system full of lovely parks. Clear, sand-bottomed streams, wild areas ripe with orchids and awe-... Read More
41 South Central Avenue, Saint Louis, MO
Grant's Trail was once part of the Missouri pacificrailroad line. Freight trains would come from Kirkwood on their way to the Mississippi River via... Read More
Wells Road, Saint Louis, MO
271 acres Parking lot at Meramec Bottom Road and Wells Road. Read More
1401 NW Park Road, Blue Springs, MO
Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area is 1,071-acre property located in Blue Springs just north of I-70. Burr Oak Woods was purchased in 1977 and the Na... Read More
2751 Glencoe Road, Wildwood, MO
Rockwoods Reservation in western St. Louis County harbors a rich diversity of plant and animal life as well as springs, caves, and rock formations.... Read More
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