Best Hikes

Got the skinny on upcoming events and fun things to do? Don't be shy...
I've recently posted Fort Bellefontaine County Park and Emmenneger Nature Park as 2 hikes that may better qualify as "best local hikes," but I'm going to go ahead and say that stringing together the nature areas in Forest Park should firmly be among the best hikes in the state. Start out at the Steinberg restoration area behind the rink, head to Deer Lake and then on over to Kennedy Woods and then follow the Trail of Trees back towards Steinberg for a great loop showcasing great manmade beauty and some pretty impressive natural restoration projects.

The only thing that bummed me out was the inscription on the Confederate Soldiers memorial near the Deer Lake area.... the fact that there is such a monument in the park at all makes me a bit uncomfortable, but it is the inscription that is deeply disturbing. I think every Saint Louisan needs to check it out for themselves and reflect a bit. There is a monument of Franz Sigel nearby honoring the contributions of German-Americans to the side of righteousness.... Sigel seems to have had quite the life.... from German 1848 revolutionary leader to Saint Louis public schools director to Civil War General to New York publisher and political appointee: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Sigel
The confederate monument is weird. It was erected with private funds in 1914, a time in which the last Civil War veterans were beginning to pass. St. Louis was a city with divided loyalties, and local families lost sons on both sides. Yes, the inscription declaring states' right to secede would never pass muster today for a monument on public land. (Treason is the only crime mentioned in the U.S. Constitution.)

Still, the sculpure carries the memory of men who died, so I'm fine with it so long as there's just one of them. I with the Elijah Lovejoy monument in Alton were across from it, though... or a monument to MLK.

The confederate monument is catalogued in the Smithsonian:
http://siris-artinventories.si.edu/ipac ... ure+--+Mis
I've been remiss in posting updates. Added Stemler Cave Woods, Royal Gorge, and Johnson Shut-Ins Scour Trail. More to come.
Looks like an opportunity for another great trail/bike path along the lines of the Katy Trail. This time the old Rock Island right of way is up for sale.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/seco ... 54fbf.html

KANSAS CITY, Mo. • A group that advocates for creating biking and hiking trails along abandoned rail lines wants a second cross-state trail in Missouri that would link with the Katy Trail to establish a 400-mile loop across the state.

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is one of several organizations seeking to buy 145 acres of an abandoned rail corridor from Ameren Corp. The St. Louis-based company has not said when it will choose a buyer for the corridor, which was put up for sale in the spring, The Kansas City Star reported.
Added Elephant Rocks State Park and Shepherd Mountain Trail.
Added Phantom Forest and Bittersweet Woods (Goodson) Conservation Areas. Very neat unexpected little hike with deep-woodsy feeling, tucked between subdivisions.
Added Champ County Park.
Added Olin Nature Preserve
This may have been posted already (I didn't scroll all the way back), but Pickle Springs is a really nice hike. Good variation in rock formations and scenery with some great views at the top.

http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/place ... le-springs
I frequently enjoy the trails off 44 from Kirkwood to Eureka. They are very convenient. Powder Valley is nice for those days when it's muddy and Rockwood Reservation has always been one of my favorites. The terrain is hilly which provides for some scenic vistas and there's pretty cool cave there.
^Yup, undervalued assets. The loop trail at Lone Elk is one of my favorite standbys; two fast-paced laps makes a nice little workout (about 8 miles total), with very few other hikers. I think most people still don't understand that hiking is allowed at Lone Elk.
Thanks for the useful thread and I happy to find this forum.
Added Devil's Well/Cave Spring trail.

I had never been to Devil's Well before, and it's certainly unique. You descend several flights of stairs and look straight down into an underground cavern and lake. The 'lake' is really just part of an underground waterway that emerges as a spring a few miles away and empties into the Current River.

Warning - there is lots of poison ivy by the trail. Also, it's perfectly well marked and maintained but a bit brushy this time of year. I'm usually pretty immune to ticks but had a few afterwards. I'd recommend long pants.