Follow the paved 1.75-mile bicycle path at Babler State Park to a Civilian Conservation Corps tunnel. Several other trails spur off from this trail, allowing you to add mileage if you're traveling with older hikers. Note: Some sections of the trail are steep. Babler State Park is located at 800 Guy Park Dr., Wildwood, MO. Call 636-458-3813.
Grant's Trail | South St. Louis County
For a trip through St. Louis history follow Grant's Trail, a flat, paved 8-mile hike that passes alongside Grant's Farm and the notorious Clydesdales. Parking for Grant's Trail is available at Orlando Gardens, 4300 Hoffmeister Ave., St. Louis, MO. Visit stlouisco.com or call 314-615-5000.
Indian Camp Creek Park | Foristell, MO
Enjoy the 1-mile paved trail and boardwalk around the lake, then visit the nature-themed playground and make a trip to the top of an observation tower. Indian Camp Creek Park is located at 2679 Dietrich Road, Foristell, MO. Call 636-949-7535.
Rotary Riverfront Trail | Washington, MO
Enjoy views of the Missouri River as you meander along its banks on this flat, paved trail. The Rotary Riverfront Trail in Washington, Missouri, is a little less than 3 miles in one direction, and it is paved. The riverfront trail is located at #1 Elbert Dr., Washington, MO. Call 636-390-1080.
Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail | Along the Great River Road
The 20-mile Sam Vadalabene bike trail is flat and paved and runs alongside the Great River Road, offering amazing views of the Mississippi River. This trail is popular with cyclists, joggers, walkers and rollerbladers. Park at Piasa Park on IL Rte. 100, Alton, IL. Call 1-800-258-6645 or visit visitalton.com.
Wildflower Trail | Mastodon State Historic Site
For an Ice Age-inspired expedition, visit Mastodon State Historic Site. Visitors can follow the .40-mile Wildflower Trail, which leads down a series of stairs to the Kimmswick Bone Bed. Mastodon State Historic Site is located at 1050 Charles J. Becker Dr., Imperial, MO. Call 636-464-2976. Note: Missouri State Parks offers an OnCell Mobile Tour System for this trail, allowing users to access information about the area's natural and cultural history using their smart phones.
Edward "Ted" and Pat Jones-Confluence Point State Park
Follow a quarter-mile path from a parking area to the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. This is the only place where you can stand with one toe in the Mighty Mississippi and one in the Big Muddy. Keep your eyes peeled for eagles and raptors, but skip this trail when the river is flooded. If you'd like to add more mileage to your day, explore the trails of the neighboring Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Confluence Point State Park is located at 1000 Riverlands Way, West Alton, MO. Call 636-899-1135.
Trail Among the Trees or Lime Kiln Loop Trail | Rockwoods Reservation
Rockwoods offers several trails ranging in difficulty from the moderate Trail Among the Trees, which is less than 2 miles, to the more challenging Lime Kiln Loop Trail, which is a little more than 3 miles. Families with strollers or toddlers will enjoy the short Explore the Wildlife Habitat Discovery Trail, which is fully accessible. Rockwoods Reservation is located on Glencoe Road off Hwy. 109 in western St. Louis County. Note that as of August 2017, the main entrance from Hwy. 109 was inaccessible due to road construction; traffic is being re-routed to a temporary entrance approximately one mile west of Hwy. 109 on Manchester Road. Call 636-441-4554.
Tanglevine Trail | Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center
Visit Powder Valley's nature center, then hit one of the area's three short, easy trails. Families with strollers and young children can start with the accessible Tanglevine Trail. It's a third of a mile around and provides opportunities to see native plants and maybe a few furry creatures. Expand your hiking distance with the Broken Ridge Trail and the Hickory Ridge Trail. Powder Valley is located at 11715 Cragwold Rd., Kirkwood. Call 314-301-1500.
Nature-Culture Trail | Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
For a trek into the past explore the ruins of one of the greatest prehistoric cities of the world along a 6.2-mile nature hike. Intimidated by the length? Don't be. The trail is mostly flat and there are various opportunities to cut the hike short and head back to the interpretive center. Cahokia Mounds is located at 30 Ramsey St., Collinsville, IL. Call 618-346-5160.
Shaw Nature Reserve
Featuring 14 miles of hiking trails that lead visitors through glades, prairie, woodlands and forests, there is something for everyone with paved, unpaved and riverwalk trails in varying degrees of difficulty. An outpost of the Missouri Botanical Garden, the reserve is dedicated to environmental and conservation education. A Visitor Center, open seven days a week, offers trail maps, information and access to its family-friendly programming. Shaw Nature Reserve is located at 307 Pinetum Loop Rd., Gray Summit, MO. Call 636-451-3512.
If you'd like to hike with a naturalist, guide or group, check the Sprout calendar for upcoming group hikes. Be sure to check trail status in advance, as some are subject to flooding.
Prefer to explore nature by bike? Get our top picks for family bicycle rides in the St. Louis region.