A few days ago I completed hike 3 of the 52 Hike Challenge 2022!
As I work through this challenge, I thought it might be nice to review these trails in the hopes that it will encourage others to get out there, and to help me reflect more on my experiences. I’m sure these reviews of mine will get better over time, but for now, here we go.
Let’s start with some of the facts!
This trail is about 30 minutes from my apartment. Its my FAVORITE trail in the St. Louis area, and is my go-to if I’m in need of a hike without a full day to adventure on Maggie’s time. Also, I always have service so I’m perfectly comfortable going solo.
This loop trail is 8.3 miles, but it does have a cut-through, which would make a smaller loop of about 5 miles. Probably a little more. I always hike it clockwise, even though the signage points the opposite direction. The thing is, there’s an overlook just over a mile in (if going counter-clockwise) with a beautiful view of the Missouri River looking South as well as signage going into some detail about Lewis & Clark’s journey through the area. Hence the name Lewis & Clark trail. Boom!
I always go clockwise, because I much prefer to start off the hike with less crowds. This way I get about 6 miles without much traffic, and most of the traffic I do encounter begins once I’m passed all the views and am just heading back to the parking lot.
Since this trail is close and fairly easy, its best to go pretty early in the morning. I aim to get there before 7. Without fail, every time I hike out and get back to my car (around 10 or 11, depending on which loop I take) the parking lot is overflowing onto the sides of the street.
I’ve hiked this trail many many times over the years, and its the trail I always bring others too if they’re new to hiking, or just new to the area! Last weekend I had the pleasure of taking my friend Kate and her pup Miles on their first Missouri hike since moving here from Sacramento! IT WAS SO FUN!
This trail can be nice and easy and slow, or it can be intense and a bit aggressive. Its whatever you make it, really. There are a few switchbacks and valleys, so there are sections where the elevation gain is significant for the area (849 ft. Total). When I say significant for the area I mean MAYBE about 300ft elevation gain, because its Missouri.
This trail has a 4.5 out of 5 star review on AllTrails with 1,691 reviews. Those who aren’t so happy with it comment that it can get pretty muddy after a rain or snow. They’re not wrong. It can get pretty muddy, but it does go through valley areas where water gathers, and with part of the trail being pretty heavily trafficked its no surprise. So either watch the weather and don’t go right after a rain, or do what I do and just enjoy it! Get dirty! Boots can be washed!
I highly recommend this trail, and will always come back to it. Its also shaped like a heart, which always makes me smile 🙂
If you live in the St. Louis area and want more of a challenge than Castlewood, you should 100% check out this trail!