Showing posts from July, 2012

Lone Elk County Park

Location: Valley Park, Missouri
Date: July 22, 2012

Lone Elk County Park is in western St. Louis County along Interstate 44 in Valley Park. I stopped here after hiking in Forest 44 Conservation Area, which is across the highway, and visiting the World Bird Sanctuary, which is next to the park, just outside the entrance. Lone Elk Park is the location of bison an elk herds that can be seen via driving routes throughout the park. There is also a hiking trail around Lone Elk Reservoir, in the general area of the elk herd. 

The park's terrain is very hilly and mostly forested, which can make spotting the animals difficult. I saw several bison, including a couple next to the road. Only two elk were in places where I could easily see them, although I did see more in the distance. White-tailed deer are also fairly common in the park. 

The area was originally a military facility in World War II, but after the war it became a county park. In 1948 elk and bison herds were established, however t…

World Bird Sanctuary

Location: Valley Park, Missouri
Date: July 22, 2012

The World Bird Sanctuary is located next to Lone Elk Park in Valley Park, Missouri. It works to secure a future for the world's threatened bird species through education, captive breeding, field studies, and rehabilitation. The Sanctuary is open to the public daily, and entry is free.

It appears to me that the Sanctuary is heavily focused on raptors since they made up the majority of the exhibits. Most of the exhibits are outdoor, and in addition to raptors, they include owls, pelicans, parrots, chickens, and other birds. There is also a nature center with additional outdoor exhibits and indoor exhibits that include bats, lizards, snakes, rabbits, and an armadillo.

The Sanctuary has scheduled programs and a wildlife hospital that offers tours on certain dates. This is a great place for a short stop in western St. Louis County, and I visited after hiking at Forest 44 Conservation Area.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights r…

Dogwood Ridge Trail, Forest 44 Conservation Area

Distance: 2.8 mi (4.5 km) round trip
Location: Valley Park, Missouri
Date: July 22, 2012

Forest 44 Conservation Area is located along Interstate 44 near state highway 141 in Valley Park. The area has 11.8 miles of multi-use trails open to hiking and horseback riding (see map here). Additionally, the Dogwood Ridge Trail is a 2.2 mile loop trail that is for foot traffic only. I hiked this entire trail twice the morning of my visit for a total distance of over 5 miles. 

To reach the Dogwood Ridge Trail begin by taking the 0.4 mile long paved and disabled-accessible Losing Stream Trail. This trail crosses a bridge over a permanent stream to a pond that was dry during my visit. It then continues to its end where it connects to the Dogwood Ridge Trail. At this point you can see where the stream disappears as it goes underground. 

The Dogwood Ridge Trail can be done as either a short or a long loop. The short loop is slightly less than half the length of the long loop. If you hike this trail co…

Meramec Conservation Area

Distance: 6 mi (9.7 km) round trip
Location: Sullivan, Missouri
Date: July 21, 2012

The Meramec Conservation Area is located in east-central Missouri along the Meramec River a few miles from the town of Sullivan and Interstate 44. Like much of the nearby areas I have been to, the area consists of forested hills and dry streambeds.

This area has a 10.5 mile loop trail that is open to hiking, biking, and horseback riding. There is also the 5.5 mile Reedville Loop Trail that is open to hiking only. The Woodland Trail is a 1.3 mile paved disabled-accessible loop trail goes through the lowlands along the river. These trails connect at several points and can be combined to form various trips (see map here).

I began my hike from the primary trailhead at the end of a gravel road that goes north a short ways from Missouri Route 185. I started out walking along the right fork (southern side) of the Woodland Trial. A short spur from this trail goes to Lone Hill Onyx Cave, one of six caves in the…

Emmenegger Nature Park

Distance: 1.5 mi (2.4 km) round trip
Location: Kirkwood, Missouri
Date: July 15, 2012

Emmenegger Nature Park is a 93 acre park located adjacent to Interstates 44 and 270 in Kirkwood, Missouri, west of St. Louis. It is along the Meramec River near the Powder Valley Nature Center and Laumeier Sculpture Park, which I visited just before arriving and Emmenegger Nature Park.

The park has a short paved disabled-accessible trail and a longer loop hiking trail that extends from the paved trail. When hiked clockwise (see map here) the hiking trail begins with a flat spur to the Meramec River but then continues with a moderate ascent up a hill along the river. Near the top of this hill there is a bluff that offers a decent view of the area to the west.

Shortly after reaching the trail's highest point it turns downhill and follows a valley between the hill along the river and the Interstate. There are a few bridges on the trail and there would probably be water in the streams if it was a wett…

Laumeier Sculpture Park

Location: Sunset Hills, Missouri
Date: July 15, 2012

The Laumeier Sculpture Park is an outdoor sculpture park and museum west of St. Louis in Sunset Hills, Missouri. The park has over 70 outdoor sculptures and over 1.4 miles (2.3 km) of walking trails most of which are paved. It is open from 8:00 am to 30 minutes after sunset daily, but the indoor galleries have more restricted hours.

I visited the park before going on a short hike at Emmenegger Nature Park. The sculpture that I found most interesting was Eye, which is a giant blue eyeball located near the museum. This eye is one that never blinks and is constantly looking back at you.

One of the most interactive sculptures is Treetent, a tent that can be hung from a tree off the ground. There is a ladder to the tent that allows visitors to go inside.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.

Fox Run Trail, Rockwoods Range

Distance: 3.5 mi (5.6 km) one-way
Location: Eureka, Missouri
Date: July 14, 2012

The Fox Run Trail is a 3.5 mile long trail in the Rockwoods Range Conservation Area near Eureka, Missouri. The trail is open to hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The trail cannot be combined with other trails to form a loop, so hiking the entire trail is 7 miles round trip. See a map here.

The trail is most easily accessed from the trailhead at the northwestern corner of the conservation area along Fox Creek Road. The hike begins by climbing a hill and then following the hill tops for nearly a mile. The trail then descends into a small valley before climbing another hill and following the ridge for another mile.

After traversing another valley, the trail gently descends into and follows another valley for about a half mile. The trail heads up a hill, crosses the Green Rock Trail, and ends at the Round House Loop Trail. There are no notable features along the trail, and it offers a good combin…

Trail Among the Trees, Rockwoods Reservation

Distance: 1.5 mi (2.4 km) round trip
Location: Wildwood, Missouri
Date: July 13, 2012

The Trail Among the Trees is a fairly short trail in Rockwoods Reservation that can be hiked as a loop and accessed from two trailheads on Glencoe Road. While the trail itself is not a loop, it is a short walk along the road to return to your starting point. This trail has a trail-specific brochure available at the the trailhead with contents corresponding to numbered posts along the trail. I forgot my camera, so I only have very poor quality photos.

Beginning at the office and visitor center at Rockwoods Reservation, the trail begins by entering a old quarry with many rock piles, boulders, and small cliffs. A short ways up the trail you pass by an obvious, but unmarked turnoff that leads to Rockwoods Cave. This cave has a very narrow opening and used to be open to the public, but since the spread of white-nose syndrome the cave has been closed and is completely inaccessible.

After walking through th…

Green Rock Trail, Rockwoods Reservation

Distance: 3 mi (5.8 km) one-way
Location: Wildwood, Missouri
Date: July 11, 2012

Rockwoods Reservation is located between Eureka and Wildwood, Missouri and contains 3.6 miles of the 14.3 mile-long Green Rock Trail. I hiked approximately three miles (six miles round trip) of this trail from its beginning along Glencoe Road to the point where it crosses Melrose Road, which is shortly before the trail enters Greensfelder County Park.

The Green Rock Trail is open to foot traffic only and has perhaps the most wild feel of any trail in the St. Louis metro area. I haven't encountered anyone else along the trail in Rockwoods Reservation or on the section in the Rockwoods Range.

The trail begins at an elevation of 500 feet by crossing a decent size stream (dry during my visit) and then gently gaining elevation before crossing a smaller stream. The trail then turns up a fairly steep hill where it gains about 100 feet in elevation and crosses through some large rocks near the top of the hill.…


Location: western Illinois, near St. Louis
Date: July 3, 2012

Cahokia was the site of an ancient Native American city from about 600-1400 CE on the east side of the Mississippi River from what is now St. Louis. Cahokia once contain 120 man-made mounds, the largest of which is Monks Mound at 100 feet high, 955 feet long, and 775 feet wide.

It is believed that at its peak, Cahokia had a population at least as large as any European city at the time and larger than any city in the United States until about 1800. Cahokia is one of only 21 World Heritage Sites in the United States.

West of Monks Mound is Woodhenge, the location of a timber circle that marked solstices and equinoxes. During my visit I only made the quick walk up Monks Mound and stopped at Woodhenge, but there is much more to the area.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.