This remote valley in Mark Twain National Forest is often overlooked, but it’s a great escape for hikers willing to bushwhack along and through its streams to huge granite walls.
This rugged 11.2-mile out-and-back on the Ozark Trail winds through the volcanic uplift of the St. Francois range to Missouri’s highest peak and tallest waterfall.
This 9-mile lollipop loop is an adventurer’s delight: scenic bluffs, spring-fed streams, quiet campsites, and–for those who dare–an elusive limestone cavern.
On this 16.6-mile overnight in the Paddy Creek Wilderness, see tranquil emerald-green creeks and timeless vistas of the rock-strewn Ozark Highlands.
This 8.5-mile loop climbs to rugged bluffs and views of the Missouri River and its bluffs, then rolls through cool hollows in Weldon Spring Conservation Area.
This 6-mile out-and-back offers commanding views from bluffs overlooking the St. Francis River and passes remnants of an old mining operation.
This 8.8-miler takes you deep into Ozark backcountry, where deer and turkey outnumber hikers.
This 7.3-mile ramble along a serene stream, by old settler ruins, and thorough big woods illustrates why this pocket park is considered one of the most beautiful in Illinois.
This easy 5-mile adventure takes you above rugged, staircase-like bluffs, then down into the hushed hollows of Cuivre River State Park.
This 7-miler is popular with mountain bikers and dayhikers, crossing limestone hills and following the Meramec River to a parkland with bison and elk.
On this 6.8-mile loop, you’ll find reclaimed prairies, sacred Indian grounds, and scenic overlooks of the lakes and rivers surrounding St. Louis.
Introduce the kids to mass transit, then hike to President Grant’s Farm (zebras, horses) on this gentle 6.4-miler.
Explore ridges, evergreen forests, and odd rock formations on this 4.3-mile dayhike through the smallest wilderness in Shawnee National Forest.
This 3.4-mile out-and-back in the heart of Missouri’s Little Dixie region travels the wavy, wooded banks of a 205-acre lake.
Wander under oak and hickory trees, up steep hills, and along a wild Ozark creek on this 5.9-mile lassoloop in Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area.
Cruise along the shores of a shaded Ozark lake on this 12.4-mile dayhike in Mark Twain National Forest.
Scope for wildlife on bluffs high above the Illinois River on this easy 3-mile loop hike.
Whet your feet–and your appetite for nature–on this moderate 3.6-mile loop in Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest with two creek fords, year-round wildflowers and soaring fern-covered cliffs.
Traverse deep hollows and springs along a 24-mile shuttle hike on the Ozark Trail.
Traversing trickling falls, spongy boulders, and finger coves along Kinkaid Lake’s western shore, this 9.2-mile out-and-back ends high above the lake—and leaves you dry.
An easy, family-friendly dayhike, this 2.8-mile loop tours the mature forests and wildlife-festooned shores of the Sam Dale Lake Conservation Area.
This Shawnee National Forest hike loops 2.8 miles and drops 350 feet through a water-carved slot into Illinois’ Little Grand Canyon. Sure footing and a sense of adventure required.
This 9.8-mile loop covers the Shawnee National Forest essentials: lovely waterfalls, scenic sandstone cliffs, singing birds, and colorful wildflowers.
An exposed fault above the Illinois River and 30-mile views of St. Louis make this 3.5-mile loop in Illinois’ largest state park a worthwhile escape from the Gateway City.
Camp by a secluded spring in the rugged Missouri Ozarks.
Birders take note: The shallow depths of Horseshoe Lake and the grain-rich fields of Walkers Island attract an unusually wide range of feathered fliers to this 3.8-mile loop just outside St. Louis.
Explore a 59-acre lake and get a bird’s-eye view of a buzzing wetland on this 2.9-mile hike through an historic state park in central Illinois.
Escape the hustle of city life on this quiet, 1.4-mile loop in Emmenegger Nature Park that climbs a riverside bluff overlooking the Meramec River.
Loop around sinkholes on this easy, 2.6-mile lollipop loop that skirts a historic cave and a frog-filled pond in St. Louis’ Cliff Cave Park.
Hoodoos in Missouri? This 2-mile loop dips into a river valley jam-packed with sandstone formations and trickling cascades—-including the rocky, 50-foot face of Headwall Falls.
On this 16.5-mile overnight in the Paddy Creek Wilderness, you’ll see tranquil emerald-green creeks and timeless vistas of the rock-strewn Ozark Highlands.
Hike to Jesse James’ old stomping grounds on this 4.1-mile loop that strings together three short trails just 30 minutes from downtown.
Wander through one of Missouri’s most revered state parks on this 6.5-mile loop featuring sprawling treetop panoramas and an extended foray along the idyllic Pickle Creek.
This 10.8 mile overnight shuttle hike features a prairie-covered ridge, miles of picturesque lakeshore, and a rarely-used backcountry campsite tucked away in a fern-studded hollow.
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