Hike Missouri's trails

With over 80 state parks and historic sites, Missouri has a variety of trails for the novice as well as the advanced hiker.  The terrain varies as well, including swampland, bluffs, forests, rugged hills and rolling plains. 

Best easy day hikes. St. Louis
J. D. Tanner and Emily Ressler.
Guilford, CT : Falcon, c2011.
Best Easy Day Hikes St. Louis, MO includes concise descriptions of the best short hikes in the area, with detailed maps of the routes. The 20 hikes in this guide are generally short, easy to follow, and guaranteed to please.
60 hikes within 60 miles St. Louis : including Sullivan, Potosi, and Farmington
Steve Henry.
Birmingham, Ala. : Menasha Ridge Press, c2010.
Using clear and entertaining narrative, 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: St. Louis eliminates doubts about where to hike and what to expect when you get to the trailhead. For locating and accessing the best hikes within a 60-mile radius of the St. Louis area, this guide is indispensable!
Hiking Missouri
Kevin M. Lohraff.
Champaign, IL : Human Kinetics, c2009.
The updated second edition is a comprehensive guide to over 70 parks and natural areas in Missouri, and features updated maps and points of interest. It has 127 of the best hikes within the state, including the distance of each hike, difficulty ratings, and rules and regulations. "Hiking Missouri" will lead you to the perfect trail for you.
60 hikes within 60 miles, St. Louis : including Sullivan, Potosi and Farmington
Steve Henry.
Birmingham, AL : Menasha Ridge, c2007.
Includes bibliographical references and index.

Hiking is not only great exercise; it's also a way to enjoy the diverse Missouri flora and fauna.  Some mammals to look out for on the trail are the coyote, white-tailed deer, bobcat, armadillo, red fox and muskrat. Also, Black bears are making a comeback in Missouri and can be seen in remote areas of the Ozarks. 

Whitetail advantage : understanding deer behavior for hunting success
David Samuel & Bob Zaiglin.
Iola, WI : Krause Publications, c2008.
The two top deer biologists in the country explain how to become a better hunter by taking basic science of deer biology and behavior and relating it to hunters in a way that will help them achieve greater success and enjoyment from hunting whitetail.

Highlights of Missouri's trails:
Thousand Hills State Park: See petroglyphs depicting opossum, deer and snakes that were carved by the area's inhabitants over 1,500 years ago.

Big Oak Tree State Park: See giant trees!  This park contains 6 state champion trees, 2 of which are national champions (the largest individuals of their species.)

Van Meter State Park: Visit the site of the village and burial mounds of the Missouri Indian tribe, who lived in the area as early as 1350 A.D.

Armitage's native plants for North American gardens
Allan M. Armitage.
Portland, Or. : Timber Press, 2006.
As part of his admittedly non-purist campaign to educate gardeners about the joys of native plants (including improved cultivars), noted horticulturist Armitage (U. of Georgia, Athens) presents basic information on some 630 species and cultivars from Acontium (monkshood) to Zizia aurea (golden Alexanders). Entries provide a general description, data for successful cultivation, and color photos. Additional features include personal remarks, a list of sources and resources, and plants for specific needs (e.g., those most deer- and rabbit-resistant). Indexed by botanical and common name. Annotation #169;2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Grow wild! : low-maintenance, sure-success, distinctive gardening with native plants
Lorraine Johnson ; photographs by Andrew Leyerle.
Golden, Colo. : Fulcrum Pub., 1998.
North, south, east, and west-gardeners across the continent are embracing the sound environmental reasons for gardening with native plants.

Taum Sauk Mountain State Park: Hike to the highest point in Missouri, 1,772 feet above sea level and see the highest waterfall in Missouri, Mina Sauk Falls. 

Prairie State Park: Although bison disappeared from Missouri in the 1800's, they have returned to their natural habitat and can be seen roaming freely here in what is the state's largest remaining tall grass prairie.

Don't wait for summer to hit the trails!  Every season offers something different and beautiful, from wildflowers of every color in spring to congregations of nesting Bald Eagles and spectacular frozen waterfalls in winter.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff