1 Lone Elk Park Road
St. Louis, MO 63088
A walk along the hiking trails at this wildlife oasis in the middle of Kirkwood offers the perfect break from city life. The park is accessible from I-44, so easy to reach from the city, you could go on your lunch hour. Your walk will take you through woods and to the edge of a small lake where herds of elk and whitetail deer make their home. You’re not allowed to walk in the bison area, but you’ll drive through it on your way out of the park. Bring a picnic, tick repellent, a hat and a camera.
12580 Rott Road
St. Louis, MO 63127
Laumeier offers two options for walkers: Stroll across open fields, past massive sculptures that invite you to ponder the meaning of life itself or duck into the woodland trail system where man-made works of art are nestled in the forest. Hint: If you’re bringing a four-legged friend on your walk, take the woodland trail, which offers multisensory art for dogs. Picnic tables, restrooms and water fountains are available near the main building.
1 Government Drive
St. Louis, MO 63110
Getting bored with your walking routine? Don’t forget the city has a free zoo, with acres of lovely paths where you can revel in some of the most beautiful landscaping in the city, watch seals eat their lunch and encounter giraffes, penguins, flamingos and elephants. Bring a picnic to enjoy in the park. If you have plenty of time, visit the Jewel Box to see what’s in bloom, also free.
Related: 5 Of St. Louis’s Top Hidden Gems
13112 Visitor Center Lane
Grafton, IL 62037
You’ll feel your city stress melt away as you drive north along the Mississippi on the Great River Road. The bluffs hug the river and are reflected in the water, providing you with natural scenery that will have you eager to get into the woods. Pere Marquette (that’s pronounced “pear” not “pee-air”) park offers miles of woodland trails, all well-marked, with heartstopping views from the bluffs. All the trail heads spill out into the park where you can enjoy a picnic next to the mighty Mississippi or have lunch in the lodge restaurant.
(St. Charles Trailhead)
S. Main St. & Boones Lick Road
St. Charles, MO 63301
The Katy Trail is a local treasure. You can go for a stroll on the trail or backpack across the state; it’s entirely up to you. Your walk will take you through shady forests, along river bluffs and across open fields. The trail is very well-marked and is popular with bicyclists as well as hikers. It’s part of the longest rails-to-trails conversion in the country.