Hiking,  Illinois,  Kids,  Missouri,  St. Louis

10 Amazing Winter Hikes near St. Louis

Don’t let the cold weather scare you away from hitting one of the great trails around St. Louis. Winter can be a perfect time for venturing outdoors. Not only are the ticks and oppressive heat absent, but so are the crowds. Some of the outstanding views that are normally blocked by vegetation are now wide open. Just spending time outside can also be a wonderful way to beat the winter blues. Here are 10 amazing trails near St. Louis well worth bundling up to explore.

Pere marquette State Park

Babler State Park

Babler is a natural oasis close to the city. Visit after a fresh snowfall and be transported to a winter wonderland of white. A large variety of trails can be found here. If you want to avoid muddy conditions, the paved bike trail is a great choice for exploring. Check out the stone tunnels and other CCC craftmanship that can be found throughout the park.

Babler State Park

Pickle Springs

It’s all about the ice at Pickle Springs in winter. The towering bluffs and trickling waterfalls form dramatic icicles. The scenic Trail through Time trail is 2.5 miles of beauty. The whole family will enjoy the unique rock formations, slots, and arches.

Pickle Springs frozen waterfalls

Great Rivers Greenway

The Great Rivers Greenway is an extensive network of trails throughout the St. Louis metro area. If you are looking for a paved or stroller friendly option, any of the trails in the network are a good choice.

Two that are extra nice in winter are Cliff Cave and Jefferson Barracks. Cliff Cave has both paved and unpaved trails. The paved portion passes a scenic waterfall and has a great Mississippi River overlook. The Jefferson Barracks Greenway parallels the river for a chance of glimpsing eagles. Kids may enjoy watching the barges chug by.

Jefferson Barracks Great River Greenway

Klondike Park

Once the site of an old silica sand quarry, the area has been preserved as the beautiful and unique Klondike Park. 4 miles of both paved and unpaved trails wind around the scenic quarry lake as well as along the bluff. You can catch a great view of the Missouri River and Katy Trail from atop the bluffs.

Klondike Park

Hawn State Park

I say it over and over, but Hawn is one of the most beautiful state parks in a state full of amazing parks. The rushing cascades of Pickle Creek are extra stunning surrounded by snow. Colder temps bring unique ice formations along the water. Use extra caution here as wet feet in winter are more than just an annoyance.

Hawn State Park Pickle Creek

Don Robinson

Don Robinson is another Missouri state park gem. The waterfalls that come to life along the Sandstone Canyon trail after a heavy rainfall turn into pillars of ice in winter. This park has become very popular since it opened so winter is a great time to experience it without the crowds.

Don Robinson State Park Frozen Waterfall

Hughes Mountain

The views here are always great and the whole family will marvel at the unique “Devil’s honeycomb” rock formations. A large portion of the Hughes Mountain hike is exposed which means the warmth of the sun will reach you during the one mile hike to the top.

Hughes Mountain

Millstream Gardens Conservation Area

This unique spot is a year round stunner. Missouri’s only stretch of true whitewater rapids can be found at Millstream Gardens. Warmer weather brings kayakers in droves to try their luck navigating the waters. Winter means less crowds and more serenity. Explore the viewpoints above the water either by taking a one mile paved trail or continue closer to the edge along the unpaved path.

Millstream Gardens

Pere Marquette State Park

Heading over to the Illinois side, Pere Marquette is one of the state’s top parks. Take a hike on the Goat Cliff trail up to McAdams peak for panoramic views of the Illinois River valley. This spot is extra stunning and worth climb for sunset. The park is also a popular place for winter eagle watching due to it’s location along the river.

Pere Marquette State Park Illinois

Fults Hill Prairie

It’s about the view at Fults Hill Prairie. Winter means the steep climb at the start is not quite as difficult as attempting it in the dead of summer. This trail can become overgrown with prairie grass in warmer weather so winter is a great time to explore without worrying about picking up ticks.

Fults Hill Prairie

Do you have a favorite winter hike? If you are new to hiking in winter be sure to bundle in layers, bring plenty of water, and make sure your shoes have good traction for icy conditions. (We are big fans of these warm and waterproof gloves for the kids and these hiking boots have built in ice cleats for traction.) As always, be sure to leave no trace and pack out what you bring in.

Happy Hiking!

10 Amazing Winter Hikes near St. Louis

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