Although Emmenegger Nature Park is often overlooked due to it's proximity to the nearby Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center, this 94-acre park offers hikers a scenic escape from St. Louis and picturesque views of the Meramec Valley.
The 1.4-mile route starts at the parking lot and follows the park’s main loop trail to the north. After 200 feet, the path crosses a large bridge, then skirts two wheelchair-accessible loops. The well-defined trail crosses the creek again near mile 0.5 before climbing 100 feet to the top of the riverside bluff. At the top of the bluff, soak up views of the Meramec River and the surrounding valley, then begin a gradual descent (you'll catch more views on the way down). At the bottom of the hill, turn left to rejoin the paved path toward the trailhead.
Note: This trail can be hiked in either direction, but this counterclockwise route provides a more difficult climb and saves the scenic overlooks above the river for the final stretch.
-Mapped by Bill Yearout
- Distance: 2.3
Location: 38.5467725, -90.4329005
The trail begins as a paved path heading north from the parking lot. Stop at the kiosk for information about the park's interesting history.
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Cross a large bridge over a creek that flows toward the Meramec River.
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Bear right at the next few intersections. Stay on the east side of the two smaller paved loops to join the longer trail and circle the park.
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Turn right again leaving the fist short, paved loop and connecting to the second.
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You can go either way at this T-junction. The right-hand turn is shorter than the left, but both routes will take you to the dirt path ahead.
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A post marks the start of the dirt trail. Turn right to hike into the bottomland woods and along the creek.
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The topography in this 93-acre park allows for a diverse range of species. Stop to admire the uneven surface of the shagbark hickory near the bridge.
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As the trail turns west near mile 0.75, it begins a 100-foot climb to a bluff-top ridge above the Meramec River.
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At the top of the hill you can continue straight for a view of the valley before turning left above the river.
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After a quick downhill, rest your knees at this rocky outcropping offering views of the developed valley and the Meramec River below.
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By mile 1.25, you've descended the bluffs and are on even ground with the river. From here, you'll join the paved path and cross over the creek again en route to the parking area.
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A view over the large bridge just north of the trailhead.
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You'll cross this smaller bridge along the loop's eastern edge, before the climb out of the valley.
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After descending from the bluffs, the view of the river is from a more parallel plane.