The Best Hiking in Missouri

stunning waterfall in missouri

It seems like yesterday when I hiked for the first time in Missouri. I put on my boots on a cool fall morning and headed into the untamed Ozarks. A sea of autumnal red, orange, and gold leaves encircled me as I set out on my journey. I discovered a hidden stream here and a beautiful bluff there with each step.

Missouri trails are great way to get away from our tech-filled lives. Missouri has hiking trips for everyone, from those who want a challenging backpacking trip to those who want a fun day trip with their family. Everyone can rediscover the beauty of nature in Missouri’s outdoor activities, from the scenic river valleys to the wildlife-filled conservation areas.

As someone who has hiked on many trails in Missouri, I can say that the state’s best hiking spots are real gems. With their unique landscapes and easy access, places like the Ozark Highlands make sure that every hiker can find the right path for them. Therefore, Missouri hiking trips are a great way to enjoy the outdoors in a fun way.

Finding the Best Hiking Trails in Missouri

These are some of the most beautiful and varied hiking trails in the Midwest. No matter how much you know about hiking or how new you are to it, exploring Missouri trails will amaze you. These trails go through state parks, national forests, and natural landmarks.

Nature, rare plants, and interesting rock formations may be what you find as you hike. Each hike at these top Missouri hiking spots is like going on a trip through time because you can learn about the state’s long history.

  • Views of the Missouri River
  • Animal and plant life in the Ozarks
  • There are easy walks and hard treks.

Missouri nature hikes are fun because they are different and beautiful. There is a trail for everyone, whether you want to take a smooth stroll along the river or a tough climb in the Ozarks. Not only are these hikes good for you physically, but they also give you a chance to connect with nature.

The trails in Missouri are more than just ways to enjoy nature. They’re ways to learn about the state’s natural and historical riches. So, put on your boots and read on to learn why these top Missouri hiking spots are a must-see for nature lovers.

on a trail in the Ozarks

The Best Hiking in Missouri: My Top Picks

Missouri is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts to go hiking because it has so many different trails. Let’s talk about three of the best hiking destinations in the state that are at the top of my list.

Ozark Trail

The Ozark Trail offers some of the most beautiful hiking in Missouri. This huge network of trails goes through the beautiful Ozark Highlands and shows off a wide range of landscapes, including lush forests and clear streams.

There are different levels of difficulty on the Ozark Trail, so there’s something for everyone, whether you’ve been hiking before or this is your first time.

Ha Ha Tonka State Park

If you appreciate the combination of history and nature, Ha Ha Tonka’s hikes are not to be missed. This park has both beautiful natural scenery and interesting historical sites, like the famous castle ruins and different types of karst formations.

As you walk through Ha Ha Tonka State Park, you’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time, surrounded by Missouri’s beautiful scenery. This is a one-of-a-kind place that you should check out. There are trails for people of all skill levels.

Elephant Rocks State Park

Imagine trekking among massive granite boulders formed by ancient volcanoes. That’s exactly what the Elephant Rocks trails are like. You can gaze upon massive rocks that evoke a sense of being in a geological playground within this park.

The trails in Elephant Rocks State Park are pretty easy, so the park is good for families and people who are just starting to hike. It’s also interesting for people who have been hiking for a long time.

Each of these places has its own unique things to offer that make Missouri’s top hikes stand out. These trails will take you to a wide range of beautiful places in the state, from rough mountains to historic ruins and natural wonders.

Family-Friendly Trails in Missouri

Want to show your family how much fun it is to go hiking? The trails in Missouri are great for that. Let’s look at some great ideas that are good for everyone, but especially for kids and older people.

Forest Park

In St. Louis, you can find Forest Park, a green space in the middle of the city with lots of easy walking paths. You can take a leisurely stroll along the trails in Forest Park while taking in the beauty of the cultural institutions nearby.

This family-friendly hiking spot in Missouri can be proud of its easy-to-reach hiking trails. It’s a simple way to enjoy nature without getting too far from the comforts of the city, making it perfect for a relaxing family trip.

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Katy Trail State Park

Katy Trail State Park has the longest-developed rail trail in the United States. It’s a great place for family hikes, which MO parents love. You can go hiking or riding your bike on these flat, beautiful trails.

The trail’s ease of access makes sure that the trip is fun and stress-free. Katy Trail State Park has a lot of ways for the whole family to enjoy the outdoors, whether you want to go for a short walk or a longer hike.

Forest Park Trails and Katy Trail State Park Trails are both great for family hikes because they have trails for people of all skill levels and interests.

Katy Trail State Park Tunnel

Challenging Hikes for Experienced Trekkers

There are some of the hardest hikes in Missouri for people who like to be outside and do exciting things. These advanced hiking trails in Missouri require perseverance, strategic planning, and sometimes a sense of navigation.

These backcountry hikes in Missouri often have steep ascents, rough terrain, and stunning views. If you take on these trails, you’ll enjoy the peace and quiet and feel like you’ve accomplished something. You’ll be in pristine natural areas where not many people have been before, which makes these experiences one of a kind.

In addition to being hard on the body, these hikes give you a chance to connect deeply with nature. Imagine being on top of a tall bluff after completing one of Missouri’s toughest and most rewarding trails. These kinds of moments make every step, stumble, and strain worth it.

The Best Trails for Scenic Views

When it comes to beautiful scenery, Missouri has some of the best hikes with views. The trails here lead to beautiful views and memorable experiences for everyone who walks them. Let’s look at two of the most beautiful places.

Taum Sauk Mountain

There are many beautiful hikes in Missouri, but the Taum Sauk Mountain trails are the best. Because it is Missouri’s highest point, this spot provides hikers with amazing views of the St. Francois Mountains. Even though the trails are sometimes hard, the views make it all worth it.

Taum Sauk Mountain trails are very popular with nature lovers and photographers who want to take pictures of Missouri’s beautiful scenery. The beauty here will stay with you, whether you’ve been hiking before or this is your first time.

Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park

If you want a different but still interesting hiking experience, you should go hiking in Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park. The park has trails that go through old volcanic rock formations and clear waterways. This is a one-of-a-kind place for people who like rocks and nature.

Visitors to Missouri love Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park hiking trails because they are so beautiful to look at. You can walk along these trails through a changing landscape where water and rocks make beautiful scenes.

Hidden Gems: Lesser-Known Trails in Missouri

Missouri boasts numerous undiscovered trails that are ideal for escaping the crowds. These hikes in Missouri that aren’t on the beaten path are great for people who want to be alone and peaceful. I love these quiet trails in Missouri because they let me get back to nature without all the noise and crowds of tourists.

Each trail offers a different experience, from paths covered in wildflowers to rough paths through forests. Undiscovered hiking spots often reveal hidden gems such as hidden waterfalls and unspoiled wildlife habitats. Through different historic sites, they also give people a look into Missouri’s rich history.

These hikes in Missouri that aren’t on the beaten path are great if you’ve ever wanted to find something new. You’ll want to go back to these hidden trails in Missouri because they are so peaceful and beautiful.

Tips for Safe and Enjoyable Hiking in Missouri

Missouri hiking is a great way to see a lot of different kinds of wildlife and beautiful scenery. But staying safe and being ready is important for having a good time. There are some important safety tips for hikers in Missouri that you should think about.

The best hiking in missouri

Preparing for the Hike

Getting ready is important for a successful hike. Do some research on the conditions, length, and difficulty level of the trail you want to hike. This helps you pick the right trail for your level of fitness and experience.

Remember that Missouri hiking events range from short one-mile walks to long five-mile hikes. They happen all week, including on Saturdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, so make plans ahead of time.

What to Bring

Important things to put on your Missouri hiking list are water, snacks, sunscreen, and bug spray. Remember to bring a map and a first-aid kit, because you never know what might happen on the trail.

When you’re in wildlife areas or state parks, binoculars can make your experience better. Some events may provide extras like binoculars or detailed instructions on meeting and parking locations, so be sure to review the event details in advance.

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Staying Safe on the Trail

Following outdoor safety rules will help make sure your hike goes smoothly. Always stay on marked trails to prevent mishaps and minimize environmental damage. Some hikes are open to people of all ages, while others are only for people aged 18 and up. Check the rules before you go.

You can handle the challenges of the trail if you have the right gear and a map to keep track of your route. Hiking in the morning, in the evening, or even through historic neighborhoods in cities can give you a lot of different experiences. These tips will assist you in appreciating Missouri’s natural beauty without any harm.

Last words on best hiking trails in missouri

The trails in Missouri are great for getting to know nature and have something for everyone. MO is an excellent place to go hiking because it has a variety of landscapes, a lot of history, and trails for hikers of all skill levels. If you want a fun family trip or a tough hike, you can find unforgettable Missouri hikes that fit your needs.

Every hike in Missouri shows off the state’s natural beauty, making it a great place to get away from it all. Hikers can connect with nature, see beautiful views, and make memories that will last a lifetime on the many trails. As soon as you put on your boots and hit the trails, you’ll understand why Missouri is a great place for hikers.

If you want to go on an outdoor adventure with beautiful views, historical significance, and a variety of hiking options, Missouri is the place to go. Every hike here is a chance to see and enjoy the amazing natural beauty that this state has to offer. Get out there and see why people who enjoy the outdoors love these trails.


What are the best hiking trails in Missouri?

There are many great hiking trails in Missouri. Some of them are the Ozark Trail, Ha Ha Tonka State Park, and Elephant Rocks State Park. Each one has its own landscapes and challenges, which makes them all must-sees for hikers.

Are there any family-friendly trails in Missouri?

You can go hiking with your family in Forest Park and Katy Trail State Park. Both parks have easy-to-reach and fun trails that are ideal for teaching kids how to enjoy hiking.

Can you recommend any challenging hikes in Missouri for experienced trekkers?

For thrill-seekers and experienced hikers, Missouri has trails that are hard to get through because they have rough terrain and steep elevation changes. These include treks in remote backcountry areas where you usually need to have very good navigational skills.

Which trails in Missouri offer the best scenic views?

Taum Sauk Mountain and Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park offer breathtaking views. From Missouri’s highest point, Taum Sauk Mountain, you can see a lot of land. Johnson’s Shut-Ins boasts clear waterways and ancient volcanic formations.

Are there any lesser-known hiking spots in Missouri worth exploring?

Of course! Missouri has many hidden gems, such as hard-to-find trails and hikes that aren’t on the main trail. These trails frequently lead to hidden waterfalls, undisturbed wildlife, and historic sites. They are a great way to get away from the busy tourist spots.

What should I do to prepare for a hike in Missouri?

Getting ready is very important. Find out more about the trail, the weather, and the animals that live in the area. To make sure your hiking trip is safe and enjoyable, bring things like water, snacks, a map, and a first-aid kit.

What are some must-bring items when hiking in Missouri?

Bring water, snacks, a map, a first-aid kit, and the right gear for hiking with you at all times. A multi-tool, sunscreen, bug spray, and a cellphone or compass for finding your way are some other useful things to bring.

How can I stay safe while hiking in Missouri?

Follow the marked trails, wear the right gear, and pay attention to your surroundings. To protect the environment, it’s also important to follow the “Leave No Trace” rules. Get ready for the worst, and let someone know you’re going hiking.

What are some top-rated hiking destinations in Missouri?

The Ozark Trail, Ha Ha Tonka State Park, and Taum Sauk Mountain are just a few of the best places to go hiking in Missouri. Not only are these places very beautiful, but they are also great for hikers of all skill levels.

Are there any trails in Missouri that are suitable for beginners?

You can start out on easy trails, such as those in Forest Park and along Katy Trail State Park. They have mostly flat, beautiful trails that are great for a slow hike or a family trip.


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