Hiking The Cuivre River State Park
The 19th most popular hiking trail in Missouri.
Saturday 9 July 2016 05:25 GMT
Near Troy, the 6,393 acre Cuivre River State Park offers miles of trails, most of which are open to both hikers and equestrians. The trails are of varying length and difficulty and wind through forested hills, steep valleys, glades, prairies, and offer great views atop Frenchmans Bluff. All the trails in Cuivre River State Park open for public use are identified with entrance signs and marked at intersections with colored directional arrows. Occasional colored markers are used to identify trails where the route is not clear. At points where hiking and equestrian use separate, symbols indicating the appropriate direction of travel are used. Trail users are advised to watch closely for trail markers, especially where the trail intersects old roads. Two campgrounds are available, one for equestrians with electric and non-electric sites (13 total). The other campground has over 90 sites with both electric and non-electric sites.
To reach the trailhead from St. Louis, Travel west on I-70 or U.S. Hwy. 40 to Exit 210/Wentzville. Take U.S. Hwy. 61 north for 14 miles to Troy. Travel east on Hwy. 47 for 2.8 miles to Hwy. 147, which is the main entrance to the state park.
Hamilton Hollow Trail -- 1 mile
Hamilton Hollow Trail is a loop that begins and ends near the picnic shelter. A wide array of spring wildflowers and some of the largest trees in the park, many over 150 years old, are in the hollow. This trail is marked with green arrows in a clockwise direction. The northern part of this trail is shared with Cuivre River Trail, on which equestrian use is allowed; the remaining sections of Hamilton Hollow Trail are closed to horse traffic. Hamilton Hollow is an easy trail to hike.
Frenchmans Bluff Trail -- 2 miles
This popular trail begins and ends near the west side of the picnic shelter. The trail follows Goedde Creek for a short distance before winding up a hill and emerging on top of Frenchmans Bluff. The 120-foot-high bluff, consisting of Burlington limestone, offers outstanding vistas of the Cuivre River valley. After continuing along the bluff for approximately half a mile, the trail returns to the picnic shelter. This trail is relatively easy to hike, but extreme care should be taken when on top of the bluff as the loose gravel can make the footing unsure. Blue arrows mark the trail in a counterclockwise direction. The valley portion of the trail is shared with the Cuivre River Trail. The bluff portion of this trail is open to equestrian use.
Cuivre River Trail -- 7 miles
Cuivre River Trail begins at the equestrian camp and proceeds along Goedde Creek before ascending to the top of Frenchman s Bluff. At this point, Cuivre River Trail turns right and proceeds north along the entire length of the bluff. The trail eventually heads east to descend into the Big Sugar Creek valley. It follows the valley most of the way back to its original starting point. This moderately strenuous trail is open to hikers, backpackers and equestrians. It is marked with red arrows in a clockwise direction. White arrows mark connector trails that can be taken if shorter hikes or rides are desired. Horses are not permitted in the picnic area.
Big Sugar Creek Trail -- 7 miles
The trailhead for Big Sugar Creek Trail is located on the west side of the park road, midway between Camp Derricotte and Camp Sherwood Forest. The trail traverses much of Big Sugar Creek Wild Area, including Sugar Bluff, a bottomland forest along Big Sugar Creek. The trail also passes through steep fern- and moss-covered hollows dissecting the watershed. This moderately strenuous trail is open to hikers, backpackers and to equestrians on the southern half. Shorter hikes of four miles are possible by using the white connector trails. The trail is marked with blue arrows in a clockwise direction.
Turkey Hollow Trail -- 1 mile
Turkey Hollow Trail begins and ends at the Sugar Creek Valley Overlook. The trail is a loop, marked in a counterclockwise direction, with a common entrance and exit. The first part of the trail passes through an old field before entering a nice upland forest with many large oak trees. It then crosses a bridge over a small valley and loops around the point of a ridge before heading back toward the overlook tower. Turkey Hollow Trail is named for the wild turkeys that have frequently been seen in the area. This is an easy trail to hike, however, the last part of the trail does have an uphill grade.
Mossy Hill Trail -- 1 mile
Mossy Hill Trail begins on the electric campsite side of the campground. It has the same entrance and exit, and then separates to provide a half-mile loop. After following a wooded valley, the trail crosses Mossy Hill, an open forest with luxuriant growths of mosses and lichen, especially the reindeer lichen. Mossy Hill is an easy hiking trail. It is signed in a clockwise direction.
Lone Spring Trail -- 6 miles
Lone Spring Trail consists of two three-mile loops, one north and one south of Highway KK. The trail is named for a perennially flowing spring that emerges in the valley at the base of a ridge. The northern portion of Lone Spring Trail, which is open to hikers and backpackers only, loops through Northwoods Wild Area and crosses Big Sugar Creek, a designated state natural area. The southern loop of this trail is particularly nice in the spring when the dogwood and wildflowers are in bloom. This moderately strenuous trail is marked with yellow arrows in a clockwise direction. A connector trail, which allows the option of a three-mile hike, is marked with white arrows. Trail parking is provided along Highway KK.
Lakeside Trail -- 4 miles
Lakeside Trail, following the entire shoreline of Lincoln Lake, is frequently used by fishermen. During the summer, a good display of wildflowers can be found between the trail and the edge of the lake. Hikers may enter the trail at either the boat launch ramp or swimming beach. Lakeside Trail is signed only at the entrances, but is easy to follow and to hike.
Blazing Star Trail -- 2 miles
The trail begins on the southern side of Sac Prairie, near where the Prairie Trail starts. After crossing through a wooded creek valley, the trail enters an open expanse of tallgrass prairie. It then alternates between wooded savanna and open prairie, until the loop returns you through the creek valley and back up to the parking lot. Note: A separate trail entrance connects the trail loop to the campground. Summer and fall are the best times to see many of the wildflowers, while the tall prairie grasses reach their peak during the fall. Occasionally, the trail may be closed for a prescribed burn to preserve the prairie, savanna and woodland ecosystems.
Overall, Cuivre River State Park is the 19th most popular hiking trail of all 21 hikes in Missouri. Several of the better hiking trails are nearby Cuivre River State Park including Skyline National Recreation Trail and Keeler-Rattle Trail System.