5 Hikes Under 5 Miles near Saint Louis

Saturday, November 7, 2020

where to hike near saint louis

St. Louis is a pretty sprawling metropolitan area, but there are some great places to hike not far from the city. You don’t have to be an expert backpacker to enjoy any of these hikes. Here’s five easy-moderate short trails near Saint Louis to try this weekend!

Castlewood State Park: River Scene Trail

3.1 miles, 249ft elevation gain
If you’re looking for a trail with great views, head to Castlewood State Park. This loop trail will take you up to bluffs that overlook the Meramec River. It then goes down a wooden staircase and continues alongside the river. Castlewood is incredibly popular among St. Louisans, so you can expect crowds most of the time. Being a relatively easy trail with great views only adds to the popularity. The trail and the park are also dog friendly. 

easy hikes near st louis

Don Robinson State Park: Sandstone Canyon Trail

3.9 miles, 498ft elevation gain
I completed this hike at the beginning of October and the fall colors were gorgeous! This hike begins as a walk through the forest and ends with unique sandstone rock formations and a creek. We detoured from the trail slightly to explore the creek and rocks. There are two options to experience the sandstone canyon trail, either the full 3.9 miles or a shortcut loop cuts the hike in half. The longer loop was less trafficked than the short version. The park also features several picnic areas off the trail.

Edgar M. Queeny Park: Hawk Ridge Trail

4.1 miles, 482ft elevation gain
I went to Queeny Park dozens of times when I was a kid and didn’t know until recently how big the park really is. There are actually a few trails to walk and hike and even a dog park! For Saint Louis county residents, Queeny Park is conveniently located in Ballwin. The Hawk Ridge Trail features trees that are 200-300 years old, marked with descriptive plaques. The trail is paved or hard-packed gravel, making it a relatively easy walk. 

Shawnee National Forest: Little Grand Canyon Trail

3.0 miles, 459ft elevation gain
Head over to Illinois for this fun hike, featuring unique rock formations and creeks. Little Grand Canyon is a relatively easy loop trail but becomes more challenging after a rain as rocks and path can get slippery. You will have to do a little climbing down the canyon and back up, but nothing too difficult! I hiked this trail about a year ago and we saw hikers of all age ranges.

waterfall hikes near saint louis

Taum Sauk State Park: Mina Sauk Falls Trail

2.9 miles, 433ft elevation gain 
What this trail lacks in distance, it absolutely makes up for in rugged landscape. You’ll cross creek beds and encounter plenty of loose rocks, but the falls at the bottom are absolutely worth it! The rocks around the waterfall also make for the perfect spot to enjoy lunch. When I hiked this trail, it wasn’t too busy but there were a few other hikers and photographers. That was also a weekday, so keep in mind that weekends will always be busier.

How to Find Hiking Trails Near You:

  • AllTrails - I love the AllTrails website and app to check out hikes before I go. You can view photos and reviews from people that recently hiked a trail to get an idea of the trail conditions and difficulty level. You can also log your own hikes for future users.
  • State Parks Website - Your state’s website will provide accurate information about trail and park closures. You can also get information about trail lengths and other activities at parks or wildlife areas.
  • Discover the Forest - This website offers a map view of parks and trails near the address or zip code you input. They also offer activities for kids and plenty of information about staying safe and social distancing.

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  1. These sound like some great hikes! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Glad you enjoyed this post!
      Caiti | Champagne & Postcards

  2. These look like great hikes! Hopefully when I'm comfortable to travel again I can visit Saint Louis!

    1. There's plenty to do in STL!
      Caiti | Champagne & Postcards

  3. what great views! And what a perfect time to make the most of the outdoors!x


    1. It definitelty has been!
      Caiti | Champagne & Postcards