The Best Hiking in Missouri

Missouri is more than just a mid-west farmland state. Get ready to learn about the best hiking in Missouri – there are quite a few amazing trails!

You can discover stunning geological sightseeing, embark on trekking adventures, and surround yourself in the flourishing wildlife.

Whether you are a local or an incoming tourist, you’ll love this list of the best ten hiking trips that I’ve put together for you. 

So, pick up your backpack and grab your walking stick as we go through these trails.

Braille Trail, Elephant Rocks State Park

Elephant Rocks State Park has to be one of the places you check out if you're looking for the best hiking in Missouri.

Distance: 1.20 miles

If you’re a beginner hiker looking for a short hike, then the Braille Trail is a perfect match. The trail is amazingly accessible for physically and visually impaired visitors. 

Their signs are written in both English and Braille text, which is a first in the entire state.

The highlight of the trail is the 1.5 billion-year-old granite rocks standing end-to-end like elephants. 

These were used as facing stones for bridge piers in the Mississippi River from 1880 to 1900. You can also visit their old quarry pond, which now houses various animal life.

Devil’s Honeycomb Trail, Hughes Mountain Natural Area

Hughes Mountain Natural Area has some of the most diverse terrain around in Missouri.

Distance: 1.6 miles

Devil’s Honeycomb Trail is located right outside of Irondale, which is about an hour and a half outside of St. Louis. The trail itself is moderately remarkable. However, the real gem lies at its peak.

After you trek through the grassland, you’ll reach a unique geological formation known as the Devil’s Honeycomb. 

When the magma cracked and cooled, it formed the rhyolite into polygonal columns. It’s one of Missouri’s most iconic locations and is a must-see!

 

Trail Among the Trees, Rockwood Reservation Area

Rockwood Reservation Area is a go to destination for hiking in Missouri due to it's close proximity to civilization.

Distance: 1.80 miles

One of the trail’s best features is its easy accessibility. You can get to the Rockwood Reservation Area in just under 45 minutes coming from downtown St. Louis. 

If you want an impromptu hike or a running route, this is an easy choice because of its proximity.

And if you time it perfectly, you can take this trail when the wildflowers bloom to add an extra bit of sight-seeing to an already beautiful trail. 

Most of the trail is paved and gravel, so it’s a good path for enjoying nature or a morning hike. Beginner hikers can visit this area for their trekking adventures.

 

Lewis and Clark Trail, St. Charles

Lewis and Clark Trail in St. Charles has to be a go to for anyone who is a fan of American history.

Distance: 8.5 miles

The Lewis and Clark Trail is the best choice if you want a fantastic view of the Missouri River. This trail is also the most scenic hike near St. Louis because of the river view alone. 

All three sections of the Lewis and Clark Trail pass by the gorgeous limestone cliffs.

Expert hikers use this route often as it is 8.2 miles long.

However, you can always take the fork that heads north when you reach the creek crossing. You’ll still be able to enjoy all the sights without doing the full run.

 

Lost Valley Trail, Chesterfield

Lost Valley Trail is a great choice for mountain bike enthusiasts.

Distance: 10.5 miles

The Lost Valley Trail is well-known for its hiking and biking trail. It’s open daily to the public and has overnight camping and dirtbike roads available. 

Mountain bike enthusiasts specifically choose this trail because of its scenic yet twisting routes.

If you choose to hike, you’ll enjoy the abundance of beautiful creeks and natural rock formations.

There is also a haunted hollow and an ancient cemetery along the trail for horror fanatics. 

Overall, this trail is a very popular choice for an outing with family and friends.

 

Bell Mountain Trail, Mark Twain National Forest

If you're looking for views, look no further than the Bell Mountain Trail. Just make sure you go prepared!

Distance: 11.6 miles

Experienced hikers like a challenge and that is why they often choose Bell Mountain trail.

This particular path is located along the Ozark Trail. The mountain elevates at 1,702 feet and is one of the taller mountains in Missouri.

Hikers who take this trail often end up camping around the summit because of its fantastic view.

The trail also has many open spaces that are great for watching the gorgeous sunrise and sunset.

 

Natural Tunnel Trail, Bennett Spring State Park

If you love natural rock formations, the Natural Tunnel Trail is a must see hiking destination!
Image from Another Walk in the Park

Distance: 12.6 miles

The Natural Tunnel Trail is one of the six trails running through the Bennett Spring State Park. It is also one of the greatest hiking attractions in the entire state

This trail offers two main features. The first one is the Bennett Spring Natural Tunnel that reaches up to 296 feet in length. 

The second feature is its historical sites such as caves, old roads, and a cemetery dating back to the 1880s.

The trail also has incredible foliage that adds to an already immersive hiking experience.

 

Turkey Pen Hollow Trail to Dolomite Rock Trail, Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Ha Ha Tonka State Park has some of the best views of any trails making it an excellent destination for hiking.

Distance: +10 miles

Ha Ha Tonka State Park is one of the bigger parks around Missouri, offering 14 different trails.

From the Turkey Pen Hollow Trail to the Dolomite Rock Trail, the whole state of Missouri is a wonderland of raw and untouched nature.

There are many natural rocks formations in the Colosseum Trail. History buffs can also visit an old castle while hiking the Castle Trail.

With the sheer amount of trails and unique sights, Ha Ha Tonka is definitely some of the best hiking in Missouri.

But if you’re feeling more tropical, the Island Trail is also an option.

No matter which path you choose, you can spend days trekking this gorgeous area and never get sick of it!

 

Big Piney Trail, Licking

Big Piney Trail, is one of the most immersive trails that you do not want to miss in Missouri.

Distance: 17 miles

If you’re up for a challenge, you can take the Big Piney Trail for a higher level of difficulty. The trail is as natural as it can get. 

It’s reasonably large with widespread forests, but keep in mind that there’s no water available apart from what hikers can bring.

You can engulf yourself in the wilderness and natural beauty of the state. Horseback riding is another option (if you’re not much of a hiker) when opting for this adventure. 

You can trek this trail as long as you promise to leave no trace of procedures to preserve the park.

 

Taum Sauk Section, Ozark Trails

The Taum Sauk Section of the Ozark Trails is simply stunning. Look no further if you want to see some incredible sights.
Image from the Ozark Trail Association

Distance: 35 miles

Lastly, I have one of the most prominent trails in the Missouri area: the Taum Sauk Section of the Ozark Trails.

While the group of trails offers more than 14 sections and stretches over 500 miles, hikers often recommend this stretch.

This particular trail is a part of the Taum Sauk Mountain State Park and is around 3 miles long.

Visitors love taking this path because of its panoramic views and breath-taking natural beauty. They make it a no-brainer for some of the best hiking in Missouri.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can also take up some of their lesser-known trails found throughout the park. 

Marble Creek Trail and North Fork are just two options for other excellent local trails that you can take your family on even hike by yourself!

 

Closing Thoughts on These Trails in Missouri

And there you have it – ten hiking trails to explore the best hiking in Missouri!

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just trying to get a nice change of scenery from city life, my list offers plenty of options for you to check out.

I hope that by looking at some of the trails I’ve mentioned – you’ve found the inspiration to get out and about. And I wish you an awesome hiking trip ahead!