Meramec Greenway – Arnold’s Grove to Greentree Park
The Meramec Greenway is a family-friendly route that runs along the Meramec River from Arnold’s Grove, Valley Park, to Kirkwood’s Greentree Park. The Arnold Grove Trailhead can be found on the west side Highway 141, near the intersection of Meramec Station Road and Marshall Road. The path crosses an elevated railway bridge before passing through forested areas before it heads east along the river. The length of the paved trail is 3.64 mi. It’s ideal for young cyclists just starting to balance their bike. It’s a great way to cool off on hot summer days, as it has plenty of shade thanks to the trees.
Anne Milford of Great Rivers Greenway says, “It’s an undiscovered gem” and “less crowded than other greenways in the St. Louis region.”
Beautiful views along the river are some of the highlights. You will see waterfowl and other birds along the river. There is also a family with eagles living year-round in nearby Simpson Park . This park has a 72-acre lake, popular with stand-up paddleboarders. It also features walking trails, restrooms, and a playground.
This section of Meramec Greenway provides access to Meramec Park , that includes a boat ramp as well as a walking trail with restrooms. A small, off-road biking loop is also available on the northwest side Cal Hedrick Way. It’s ideal for beginner mountain bikers and BMX riders. Greentree Park is located at the east end the trail, adjacent to Kirkwood Athletic Association. It offers restrooms, picnic spots, boat ramps, and a boat ramp. This is the ideal place to rest and grab a bite before you head back.
Sunset Greenway Florissant
Sunset Greenway in Florissant is another family-friendly ride. Sunset Park is located on the Missouri River. The greenway connects Old Town Florissant at St. Francois Street. This gives you access to many historical points of interest in Old Town. The trailhead can be found at St. Ferdinand Park just north of the intersection with Interstate 270/Lindbergh.
This trail is for beginners and younger cyclists. You will be exposed to more sun than the Meramec Greenway so it is better to ride at sunset or earlier in the morning. Highlights include the historic
St. Ferdinand Shriner is located on the site where one of the earliest settlements west the Mississippi. It was a French trading community that was established in 1764. (Tours available Monday-Sunday by appointment.
You can find additional points of interest nearby. A mile away from the trailhead lies historic town with its century-old homes, shops and cafes. Enjoy a leisurely stroll around the town and take in the beautiful scenery. To that end, Florissant Old Town Partners has created a self-guided walking tour, comprising 13 historic sites, that’s available for download at florissantoldtown.com.
Milford states that Sunset Greenway is a great spot to spend an entire day. Grab a cup of coffee at one of the cafes and then take the greenway down to Sunset Park for a relaxing afternoon on the Missouri River. The park’s name and the greenway’s are named after the stunning sunset views that the river offers.
Mississippi Greenway and Riverfront Trail
From the riverfront, the Mississippi Greenway runs 12.5 miles to the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge. Beyond that is the McKinley Bridge Bikeway (another 2.5 mi), the Great River Road and the Sam Vadalabene trail.
Highlights include the mile-long paint graffiti-covered floodwall at the Chouteau trailhead. Riders will cruise in the shadow of the Gateway Arch just north of the wall. The renovated grounds now have more than 5 miles of paths, and are accessible via two sloping paths. You can take a few moments to visit the city’s iconic structure, the reflecting ponds. North of the Arch, visit Rootwad Park. This pocket park features the last sculptures commissioned by Bob Cassilly, the City Museum’s founder.
The trail continues north and riders have a front row view of the riverfront’s happenings, including the trains and conveyor systems that run parallel to the Mississippi. Beyond the of Saint. Louis The scenery changes again. This section will take riders to Missouri’s first Underground Railroad Historic Site, the Mary Freedom Crossing . Visit the visitor center for information about Meachum’s 1855 failed attempt to free nine slaves from Illinois by crossing the river.
Further on riders will reach the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge. This is a notable section of Route 66. The bridge spans 60 feet above the Mississippi and offers spectacular views of the river below and the stone intake towers. Beyond the bridge, it becomes a choose-your-own-adventure scenario as the trail continues to the McKinley Bridge and on into Illinois.
MCT NatureTrail: Metro East-Granite City – Edwardsville
Madison County Transit Nature Trail, a stretch of asphalt biking path that connects Wilson Park in Granite City with Bryant Street in Edwardsville, is a fantastic option. It stretches 15 miles and is part of the extensive Madison County Transit trail network. This bike path provides access to other trails in the network such as the Schoolhouse, Nickel Plate or Goshen and Bluff trails. For maps and details, visit mcttrails.org.
Wilson Park in Granite City, Pontoon Beach’s Park and Bike Lot on Revelle Lane, Edwardsville’s Longfellow and Nelson avenues are all accessible. The trail winds through forests, offering wildlife viewing opportunities. As it winds its way north from Wilson Park to Edwardsville, the path crosses streams and passes through residential areas.
SJ Morrison, MCT managing director, explains that the trail takes you through forests, fields, over creeks and down the gentlest slopes of the ancient Mississippi River Bluffs. This is the same route as interurban train cars used a century ago.
Wilson Park has a swimming pool and a playground. It also offers restrooms, which are great for cooling off after a long day. The Nature Trail connects to Horseshoe Lake Park. This 2,960-acre park surrounds the second largest lake in Illinois. The state park is worth exploring for its boating, fishing, picnic area, playgrounds and other recreational activities.
Farther north, a connector trail provides access to the campus of Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, allowing cyclists to explore the campus. Riders can connect to the paved DeLyteW. Morris Bike Trail that winds through the wooded areas surrounding campus. Near the busy Troy Road intersection, the trail ends at Bryant Street, Edwardsville. Here, cyclists can find plenty of shops and restaurants to fuel up for their return to Granite City.
Bluff View/Zombie Trails: Wildwood
Wildwood’s Bluff View/Zombie Trail network offers more challenge for those looking for something more. The area is well-known for its single track and is a favourite among local mountain bikers. The trail is narrow and made of dirt and rock, with limestone outcroppings. Mitch Johnson, who is a long-time member of Gateway Off-Road Cyclists which maintains the trails, says that the trail is narrow. It’s only 2 miles if you want to enjoy the views.
The Bluff Parking Lot is located on Old State Road, just north from the Highway 109 intersection. The main attraction is located a mile downhill from parking lot: a view that overlooks the Meramec river and rolling countryside beyond. Although the views from the bluffs are nice, most riders don’t come to these forested hills for the scenery. They come for the single track.
The trail extends beyond the viewpoint and follows the Meramec River for 1.5 miles. This is for thrill-seekers. The trail is shared by cyclists, hikers and runners as well as equestrians. Bluff View links to Al Foster Trail at the bottom of the hill. Turn left to ride towards the Rock Hollow connector trail. This connects to the famous Zombie Trail which is a seven-mile single-track loop through the hills.
Johnson says that the Rock Hollow trail is a part of the Zombie loop, which gives riders a variety of riding options. “Zombie East and Zombie West were created by the riding community. Each is unique and rich in features.
Zombie East takes riders underneath a rock overhang behind an intermittent waterfall and winds along a limestonecliff creating a sense of solitude. Zombie has bermed turns that allow cyclists to keep speed in the hilly terrain. Riders will travel through old-growth forest and drop through the Chute. This is a crack in the rock that allows passage from the top to the bottom of the cliff. Riders have the option of taking Extra Credit just above The Chute. This technical loop is a half-mile long and offers riders an additional challenge without requiring passage.
After you are satisfied, continue down Rock Hollow and follow Al Foster until you reach the Bluff View turnoff. You can save energy by climbing 2.5 miles back to the Bluff View parking area. You can also park at the Al Foster trailhead for access to Bluff View or the Rock Hollow Trail/Zombie Loop.