- Spectular views from bluffs of the Missouri River valley
- Scenic Valley with nice (often dry) creek bed
- You can reach the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River with an easy, flat, 2.6 mile out-and-back hike (but you should really do more than that)
- Options for an 8.3 mile loop, a 5.2 mile loop, or a 4.3 mile loop.
- Great place for wildlife viewing including deer, birds, Eagles, and frogs.
- Can get very muddy in the winter and during spring rains.
- The Lewis and Clark Trail is very popular so don’t expect to escape to solitude on it. The other trails, the Lewis Trail and the Clark Trail (yeah, a bit confusing) are generally less crowded particularly as you get further from the parking lot.
- The large parking lot is often full on weekends (though you can usually find a place along the road if it is full).
- The usually dry creek bed does flow with water if there’s been a lot of recent rain or a particularly heavy rain which will make hiking the loop more challenging as you have to cross the stream which can get wide and doesn’t have a bridge.
Getting ThereOff Highway 94 in St. Charles County. 2.6 miles South of highway 40/64.
For the longest time, I kept hearing about how great this trail was but the first several times I hiked it, something involving young kids always seemed to go wrong before we got too far, had to turn back, and we never made it to the best parts. So for years, I always ended up being a bit underwhelmed. Yesterday though, the stars finally aligned and I finally got to do a full loop, we did a 5 mile variant, and finally got to see what all the fuss was about.
While being a very easy drive from St. Louis, this hike feels like it is in a very different place. This area teems with natural beauty. But it wasn’t always like this. The area was previously used for the creation of TNT and DNT based munitions for World War II and then, for the processing of Uranium. The toxic and radioactive remains of that work have been safely encased very close to the L & C trailhead as part of a superfund cleanup project. The Missouri Department of Conservation acquired the property in 1978 and has been working to restore it to its natural state ever since.
A favorite of trail runners due to it’s smooth surface, gentle grades, and beauty, the trail makes excellent use of the surrounding area leading hikers and runners through a nice variety of natural landscapes before opening up to stunning views from over a mile of bluffs overlooking the Missouri River. This area actually contains 4 different trails that can be combined for different length hikes. The Lewis and Clark Trail is mostly an old road that will lead you to the bluffs but, to me, was the least interesting trail up until you get to the bluffs. When combined with the Clark Trail, it makes up a 5.3 mile hike. When combined with the Lewis Trail, it makes a 8.3 mile hike. But, there’s also an obvious but unmarked trail about half way along the Lewis and Clark trail, that leads off to the East that allows you take almost a mile off the Lewis & Clark Trail to shorten the overall length of the Loops. Then there is the Lewis Trail