Hiking is one of the best ways to explore all of the natural wonders a state has to offer. It allows you to stay active, get fresh air, spend quality time with friends and family, and discover sights you’ve never seen before.
If you’re an outdoors lover and are planning to spend some time in Missouri, you may be wondering if there are any hikes worth checking out. Lucky for you, this state has an abundance of spots just waiting to be journeyed.
For anyone eager to get started on your next outdoor adventure, check out these ten amazing trails so you can lace up your hiking boots and go hiking in Missouri.
Best Waterside Hikes
1. Lost Canyon Nature Trail and Cave
Lost Canyon Nature Trail and Cave is found in Ridgedale, Missouri. This is one of the best trails for hiking in Missouri, as it takes you along picturesque paths next to rushing waterfalls, expansive lakes, and unique rock formations.
There are a few ways to experience this trail that allow you to enjoy the views based on your preferences. If you’re looking for some exercise, you may choose to walk the path, which covers up to six miles. However, if you’re hoping to see the sights without all of the walking, there are also many places that offer a 2.5-mile golf cart tour.
No matter what you’re looking for when it comes to hiking in Missouri, Lost Canyon Nature Trail has something for everyone to enjoy and is definitely worth checking out.
2. Table Rock Lakeshore Trail
This waterside hike runs along the shore of Table Rock Lake. It’s a paved path that attracts hikers, walkers, runners, and more who are looking for unobstructed views of the lake. While traveling this Missouri hiking trail, you’ll also have the opportunity to see massive oak trees that are over 200 years old, along with bald eagles, loons, and ospreys.
The trail is 2.2 miles long and is suitable for any hiker, no matter your level of experience. For those looking to cool off along the way, you’ll be happy to know that Table Rock Lake is also a great spot for swimming and fishing.
From exotic wildlife and luscious tree canopies to gorgeous views of Table Rock Lake, this Missouri hiking trail is not to be missed.
3. Creve Coeur Lakeview Loop Trail
Creve Coeur Lakeview Loop is a Missouri hiking trail found within Creve Coeur Park. It’s a paved, 3.8-mile, trail that takes just over an hour to complete.
This path will take you through an area full of runners, dog walkers, and many others just looking to spend time at an outdoor park. There are plenty of areas to rest and take in the sounds of nature along the way, and once you reach the lake, you’ll be met with stunning views and plenty of waterfront activities to keep you busy.
If you’re looking to be on the water, you’ll be excited to know that there are canoe and kayak rentals where you can paddle alongside turtles and other local wildlife.
Once you make it back to the park, you can enjoy time on the playgrounds, play areas, or tennis courts. You can even reserve an outdoor shelter, perfect for hanging out with your group of friends or family after a rewarding day of outdoor activity.
Best State Park Hikes
4. Katy Trail State Park
Katy Trail State Park is a different way to experience the Missouri outdoors. This state park was built along the longest developed rail trail in the country, essentially making it one giant hiking path. It attracts people of all ages and is perfect for hikers, cyclers, nature lovers, and history buffs alike.
The park spans over 240 miles, between Clinton and Machens, and has 26 trails to choose from. Part of this Missouri hiking trail is deemed as an official segment of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, making this spot rich with age-old stories.
While exploring this trail during your time hiking in Missouri, you’ll have access to some of the most scenic areas the state has to offer. It closely follows the Missouri River and has plenty of views of iconic small towns that used to thrive, luscious greenery, and so much more.
5. Taum Sauk Tower and Mina Sauk Falls
Taum Sauk Mountain is the perfect Missouri hike for those looking to climb up to a high point and take in the incredible views. The top of this mountain earns the title of the highest point in Missouri and therefore is not for the faint of heart (a.k.a. those afraid of heights).
It’s located in Taum Sauk Mountain State Park, which also happens to be home to Minna Sauk Falls, the highest waterfall in Missouri. Hiking Tatum Sauk Mountain allows you to see Mina Sauk Falls from farther away, so you can truly take in just how tall this waterfall is.
If you’re looking to get closer to the falls, there’s also a three-mile loop trailhead that takes you right along it. This Missouri hiking trail is rugged and rocky, so make sure you’re wearing sturdy shoes.
With plenty of mountainous landscape views of red and black volcanic boulders, high vantage points, and state record-breaking landmarks, Tatum Sauk Tower and Mina Sauk Falls make two of the best trails for hiking in Missouri.
Best Missouri Mountain Hikes
6. Bell Mountain
For anyone looking to explore the stunning sights of a local mountain range, make sure you check out Bell Mountain. This wilderness area consists of over 9,000 acres within St. Francois Mountain (a.k.a. one of the oldest landforms in all of North America).
Outdoor adventure lovers will love this Missouri hiking trail because it offers almost 12 miles of well-maintained trails for you to discover. Because this spot has been officially declared as “A Wilderness” (meaning an area that appears to be affected primarily by the forces of nature), it’s not safe for inexperienced hikers.
Another enticing fact about this Missouri hiking trail is it has an abundance of diverse flora and fauna that are unique to the area. The dispersed pines and glades throughout Bell Mountain allow for an array of plant species more common to old-growth forests. This also makes it a favorable environment for woodpeckers, wood thrush, and oven birds.
Some other wildlife you may find while traveling this hiking trail in Missouri are white-tailed deer, squirrels, wild turkeys, and more. If you’re an experienced hiker looking for a challenging and rewarding place to discover, Bell Mountain is hard to beat.
7. Buford Mountain State Forest Trail
Within the eastern region of Missouri, you’ll find Buford Mountain Conservation Area. This is a densely forested area with an abundance of foliage. It’s also home to Bald Knob Mountain, which has been determined to be the tallest peak in Missouri.
The state forest trail is a challenging hike that takes experienced hikers through a variety of glades while climbing up the mountain. Once you progress through this Missouri hiking trail, you’ll be met with unbeatable views from the top of Bald Knob.
The conservation area spans almost four thousand acres of land, giving you plenty of opportunity to go off the beaten path (so to speak) and explore on your own. While visiting this conservation area, you can also spend time bird watching, hunting local game like deer, squirrels, and turkeys, and of course, hiking.
Scenic Hikes Near St. Louis
8. Fort Bellefontaine Loop Trail
If you find yourself eager to get outdoors during your time in and around St. Louis, make sure to check out Fort Bellefontaine Loop Trail. This trail is perfect for anyone hoping to go hiking in Missouri, even if you’re short on time. Fort Bellefontaine Loop Trail is on the 30/30 list, which designates 30 trails around St. Louis that each take around 30 minutes to do.
This hike begins alongside Bellefontaine Road on a paved trail. You’ll take this loop for just under two miles, where it will fork off. At the fork, take the trail on the left to finish this relaxing three-mile hike.
Because this hiking trail is within Fort Belle Fontaine, you’ll have access to all of the park’s features, including the Grand Staircase and other on-site trails. You can also spend time learning about the unique history of this park, as it’s been a staple in the St. Louis community since its creation as the first U.S. military, west of the Mississippi River, in 1805.
9. Cliff Cave County Park Loop
Cliff Cave Park is another spot that St. Louis locals love to enjoy. The park not only offers an abundance of trails for hiking in Missouri but also allows for fishing and reservable shelters for group get-togethers.
Cliff Cave County Park Loop is another one of the hikes listed in Missouri’s 30/30 program. It’s an out-and-back trail that covers about two miles in total and is great for beginner hikers.
Some things you’ll note while hiking this trail are the tall grasses and abundance of wildflowers and vegetation that once were the primary features of local prairies. You’ll also find massive northern red and white oaks across the woodlands and plenty of animals to keep you entertained on your walk.
If you’re looking for the opportunity to see ducks, herons, deer, raccoons, beavers, turtles, songbirds, and so much more while taking in the fresh air, this Missouri hiking trail is right for you
10. White Bison Loop Trail
White Bison Loop Trail is a moderately challenging loop hike found in Lone Elk Park. This four-mile hike will take you through this local wildlife management area known for having bison, waterfowl, elk, and deer.
There are some rocky patches throughout this Missouri hiking trail, so make sure to wear sturdy shoes and be prepared for a few rewarding challenges. It’s a popular spot for hiking, walking, and running, so you’ll likely see other people taking in the views and stopping to admire the animals along the way.
During your hike, you’ll pass by a lake where people frequently get to see elk playing in and around. Because of the lake and lots of tall grass, make sure to pack bug spray so nothing can stop you from fully enjoying this eventful hike.
With so many animal sightings and a few twists and turns, this trail is perfect for hiking in Missouri, no matter your level of experience and skill.
Time To Get Packing!
Whether you’re looking for rigorous exercise, incredible views, or a walk for fresh air, hiking in Missouri has something to offer for everyone.
If you’re looking to extend your hiking trip and spend even more time in nature, check out our list of the best places to go camping in Missouri for all you need to know!