Ask an Advisor: Hiking Spots Around St. Louis

International Students Hiking at Don Robinson before the Pandemic. Each year OISS hosted an annual spring hiking trip that was halted this year due to the Pandemic. OISS plans to resume programming like this again once it can be done safely.


Written by: Claire Seely, International Student and Scholar Advisor

Question: What Are Some of the Best Hiking Spots Around St. Louis?


Answer:  Now that the weather is finally getting warmer, it is a perfect time to get outside, soak up some sun, and explore some of the amazing hiking and walking trails that St. Louis has to offer. Missouri is a beautiful state with lots of state and national parks and conservation areas that offer great places to get some exercise while taking in the amazing scenery. Here are some of our favorite hiking spots that are close to St. Louis.

Don Robinson State Park (50 minute drive from WashU)

OISS took students here for a spring break hiking trip before COVID set in last year, and it was a beautiful place to hike. There are two trails, one 2.4 miles loop and one 3.9 mile loop, with a central spot with a restroom and picnic tables to eat lunch in between. The area is located in the upper watershed of the LaBarque Creek and features sandstone box canyons, shelter caves, cliffs, glades and upland and bottomland forests.

Pickle Springs Natural Area (1.5 hour drive from WashU)

Another favorite spot from past OISS hiking trips, Pickle Springs is a national natural landmark full of rock formations, waterfalls, box canyons, and sandstone pillars for climbing on. The loop trail is only about 2 miles long, so it is short, but we recommend taking your time to climb and explore the area

Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park (25 minute drive from WashU)

For less of hike and more of a scenic walk, check out Creve Coeur Lake. This trail is just outside of the city, and is completely paved, so you could even bring a bike or roller skates, and it is dog friendly as well. It’s a scenic trail that wraps around a small lake, so you get beach views and wooded trails. The entire loop is 3.8 miles long and is well worth the trip!

Flint Quarry Trail (30 minute drive from WashU)
Lime Kilm Loop Trail (35 minute drive from WashU)

For more active hiking with a bit more of a workout, check out the Flint Quarry trail, a 3 mile look that snakes up a steep rocky ridge, and stop at the top for a panoramic view of the river valley. Or, check out the Lime Kiln Loop Trail, a 3.2 mile loop trail inside the Rockwoods Reservation. This trail has a rocky and uneven surface with some steep hills, so definitely make sure you’re wearing hiking boots for this one!


For even more places to hike around St. Louis, check out the links below: