Christmas day had great weather and we decided to take advantage of it. We headed out to Rockwoods Reservation to hike the Lime Kiln trail. The trail head for this hike is hard to miss. The start has a large lime kiln.
The weather was perfect, and we had a good time exploring and goofing around.
Near the end of the hike, there is a natural spring that we all had to hop rock to rock over.
We got a family selfie in the car heading home.
And probably the most crazy thing of all is that Danelle’s car had a Christmas surprise for us. The photo below is after driving over 10 miles home.
Look at that fuel economy!
I discovered Meramec Highlands Quarry Park by accident. I was looking through my Facebook page and noticed my neighbor had taken his kids to a park in town. I inquired with him further to understand. He explained where the park was and gave me some tips for getting around the park.
The map (thanks Google Maps) has some extra drawing from me to highlight where the park is. It doesn’t show up on the map, which is why it turns out to be a hidden gem. Take I-44 and get off an the Big Bend exit. Go west on Big Bend and make a left (south) on Marshall road. Note that Marshall is only on the south side. The park will be on the right side shortly.
At the park entrance, there is a small parking lot with a paved path that goes back. If you stay on the paved path, it is very hilly and will end up at a deck/overlook looking over the quarry. I had been to the park once before on my bicycle and didn’t think much of it, leaving quickly when the path didn’t go anywhere.
The real trick to this park is to find the trails that go through it. When walking in, we were told to look at the bottom of the hill on the left of the trail. There we saw a small way down into the creek. We climbed down to the creek and quickly found a trail on the south side of the creek. That trail wandered nicely through the park. Most important to the kids was at the end of the trail where the park meets I-270, it gets very interesting. There are large boulders from the quarry work that was done that are fun for kids to climb on. This in an incredible urban retreat.
We started off this year with a very brisk hike at Shaw Nature Preserve. We spent quite a while out there, but only went for two miles. I ended up carrying Sonora a fair bit to help speed things up. It probably didn’t help that it was very cold outside!
I committed to lead the Cub Scouts on a hike during the summer. When I was thinking of places to take the scouts, I had to think of somewhere that they had likely not been before and that they would like. I remembered a hike I had done with the family that would be perfect. I decided to take them to Fort Bellefontaine. I first saw the fort when I was paddling on the Missouri River and passed it wondering what it could be. After some research and a previous hike in 2009 with the family, it seemed the perfect trip for the scouts. So on June 18, we set out from the school parking lot for Fort Bellefontaine.
Its interesting to note that I’ve only lived in St. Louis since 2005 and many of the scout parents have been here all their lives. Yet almost nobody else had been to this park before! Once we got to the park, I figured we would pick up a map of the area and be on our way. Unfortunately, there were no maps to be seen. I figured we could just wing the directions as we had been here once before.
After hiking for a bit, it became painfully obvious that I didn’t remember our path well enough. Luckily, two of the scout dads had their smart phones out with reception and pulled up a satellite image of the park. From that, we were able to backtrack and get where we needed to be.
One of the greatest things about this park is that there are several old buildings just off the path for the kids to explore. And at the end, there is the great staircase that first attracted me to the park.
Overall the hike was a success, but I wish that I was more prepared for the correct directions.