If you are looking for a short and family friendly trail that still packs a scenic punch then Pickle Springs Natural Area in southeastern Missouri is a must see. Located about an hour south of St. Louis, The Trail Through Time path is a quick 2 mile loop hike through a variety of rugged and interesting geographical features. Quick being a retaliative term when hiking with kids and so much to discover! When we last hiked the trail over the summer, we managed to cover the trail in about 90 minutes.
The trail is well marked with signs pointing out the points of interest. Don’t let the warnings about dangerous cliffs scare you, while there are a few areas with some drop offs, it’s not a concern if you remain on the trail. Do remember that as this is a natural area, dogs are not allowed even though we have seen them on the trail every time we have been there.
The trail passes through interesting rock gorges and boulders. Many of the rocks are covered in bright green moss giving it an almost jungle like feel.
The double arch is a popular photo spot with two sandstone arches that have eroded from the rock. We have seen many larger arches in Utah, but this one is still amazing to see.
The Key Hole is another fun spot to pass under a large formation.
There are also several waterfalls throughout the trail. Some are small but run year round as they are fed by Pickle Creek. Others are taller, but are wet weather waterfalls. For those, you have to be here at the right time after a rainfall.
The falls seen below near the end of the hike run year round.
The kids always have a fun time hiking this trail and enjoy showing us the things they find along the trail. Like acorns and pine cones.
I think they are even more excited about their discoveries than the squirrels would be.
The trail eventually winds up to a nice overlook. This is one area to use caution with small children as there are no fences.
With a distance of just 2 miles and so many fun things to see, this is a great bang for your buck hike for the whole family. You don’t even need a buck since it’s free!
More info and a map can be found here.
More hikes in Missouri can be found HERE
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