Rockwoods Reservation Lime Kiln Trail
Rockwoods Reservation is a great spot to hike not far from St. Louis. Several different trails wind through this rocky and wooded spot. The Trail Amoung the Trees is probably my favorite trail here, especially in fall. We recently tried out the more challenging Lime Kiln trail, and found it to be a fun and scenic hike as well.
Lime Kiln Loop
- Distance: 3.25 mile loop
- Difficulty: 4/5 This is known as a good local trail for training. There are some moderately steep ascents.
- Scenic Value: 4/5. Some interesting rocks and a pretty spring and stream.
The Lime Kiln parking area is the first lot on your right when entering Rockwoods Reservation. The parking area is not very large and can fill quickly on weekends. Additional parking is available at the picnic area a little further down the road.
The area where Rockwoods Reservation is located was once a bustlying area of mining activity. Limestone was mined here from the 1850s until the Great Depression. A company town sprung up near where the current Visitor’s Center is located. Narrow gauge steam trains hauled the quarried limestone to several large kilns to be reduced into lime. The remains of the mining operations can be seen throughout the area. The most obvious is the towering lime kiln located near the Lime Kiln trailhead. Built in 1856, it is an interesting feature of the past.
The trail is a loop and can be hiked in either direction. I like to get the harder climbing out of the way first, so we went right to hike counter-clockwise. The trail starts out flat and wide for a short distance.
Soon it turns and starts to head up a rocky hill. Watch your step as there are lots of roots and rocks here. Take the time to admire the interesting rock formations and bluffs.
You will continue to climb up with a few short sections of flat before heading uphill again. It’s not super steep, just a steady incline. Eventually the path flattens out again as it runs along the top of the ridge. This is a nice stretch with towering trees and some distant views of the valleys below.
The trail passes a fork. Stay straight to remain on the lime kiln trail.
Soon after the fork, the trail starts to switchback down the ridge.
The valley below has some fun downed trees to climb.
Keep an eye out and you might find some wildlife or wildflowers.
Once you think you are at the bottom, it’s time to climb again. This hill is not very long or steep, but is rocky.
Not too much further down the trail, the path winds down to road level. The trail passes right next to and across a pretty little spring.
The path continues to parallel the spring on the way back to the trailhead. This is a nice way to cool down at the end of your hike.
Kids will enjoy the shallow stream and some unique trees to view.
The path passes by the kiln again before returning to the parking area.
Things to Know:
- The park is located at 2751 Glencoe Rd, Wildwood, MO 63038
- You can download a map of the area here.
- A vault toilet is located near the picnic area. There has also sometimes been a portable restroom near the Trail Among the Trees parking area.
- There is an education center located here. They are closed weekends and holidays so I’ve never been inside.