Let’s Go Hiking! | Family-Friendly Trails in St. Louis County


Looking to enjoy the beautiful foliage on a new hiking trail? We are thrilled to re-share this post from 2020 to help you find the perfect spot!


Fall is the perfect time to enjoy being outside!  The combo of the changing leaves and cooler temps makes for an ideal time to hike and enjoy the scenery.  A good friend of mine started a hiking group this year, so here are a few of my favorite places we’ve been to so far!


Chubb Trail (Lone Elk Trailhead near the World Bird Sanctuary):

This is a great hike for all fitness levels.  There are moderate climbs/descents, lots of wildlife, shaded paths surrounded by beautiful trees, and only 1.5 miles to the Castlewood Loop.  An added bonus is to drive through Lone Elk Park after the hike with the kiddos to view the wildlife up close and personal! 


a hawk sitting in bare tree branches


Al Foster Trail (Wildwood at the Glencoe Trailhead):

This is one of my favorite trails to run, walk, or hike.  It’s a packed gravel trail that will lead to a split where you can stay on the same path alongside the river or opt to take the paved route, which would eventually lead you out to Ridge Road.  You’ll enjoy river views, wildlife, and a pretty flat trail. Some trails veer off from the main path offering a more difficult climb or mountain bike trail. There is a smaller, easier scenic trail from the Bluffview Trail entrance off of Old State Road that is great for families. At the end, you’ll overlook the river and see the Al Foster trail below!  Another bonus for families near the Al Foster trail is Glencoe Park right down the street, or take a ride on the Wabash Frisco railroad!


Babler State Park (Wildwood)

I love this park because of its versatility.  There are large areas for picnics, small trails for exploring with young kiddos, equestrian trails, and plenty of space for the kids to run around and have fun!  There are five trails to choose from that loop together and intertwine.  Many cyclists enjoy this park, as well, because of the large, paved roads offering plenty of room to ride throughout the park safely.


wooden steps leading down into the woods on a hiking trail, surrounded by autumn leaves on the ground


Russell E. Emmenegger Nature Park (near Powder Valley)

This park was a hidden gem for me. I have been to Powder Valley many times to visit the nature center and do the scenic hike, but I had no idea another park existed just down the street! It may be more difficult to find, but definitely worth a visit!  The park is 95 acres of vast green space, a combination of wooded/paved trails, beautiful wood bridges with an inner (1.75 miles), and outer loop (2 miles). 


Castlewood Park (Ballwin):

This park is wonderful for fishing, hiking, and mountain biking.  The main hike up to the scenic overlook has a moderate ascent, but the views are worth it!  The descent offers stairs down to the river bottom for a peaceful, flat trail leading back to the main road. While other hikes offer a less strenuous elevation change, we have done this hike as a family and enjoyed it very much! 


This is just a small sample of the many hikes and parks that St. Louis has to offer. Fall is the perfect time to get in some fun, family exercise while taking in the beautiful scenery! Enjoy!

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Courtney Gerding
Courtney and her husband Matt were born and raised in St. Louis. Courtney stays home with their little boy, Noah and is a certified run coach and trainer. She found her passion in health and fitness through her own journey to better health, losing 50 pounds with good old fashioned diet and exercise. She has ten years of experience coaching run groups with Fleet Feet, Fit4Mom and she now coaches her own local Run Club here in St. Louis. A former 'couch potato’ to marathoner, she even ran a half marathon during each trimester of her pregnancy. Besides running, she loves early morning workouts at Burn Bootcamp, traveling, running around town in her workout clothes and baseball cap, spending time with her family and relaxing with a glass of wine! She’s all about having fun, laughing, spreading positivity, meeting new people and motivating others to live their happiest, healthiest life. She is thrilled to be a part of the STL Moms Blog team and can’t wait to share her health and fitness tips with you!