Taking your dog out on the trails offers you both a chance to soak up some fresh air and a change of scenery while putting in some exercise and bonding time. The St. Louis area offers a surprising assortment of trails that welcomes dogs — as long as your furry friend is on a leash and you are prepared to clean up after him. You and your dog can enjoy special doggy art installations, historic sites and wooded or sunny paths all over the city.
Laumeier Sculpture Park
12580 Rott Road
St. Louis, MO 63127
In its wooded trails, Laumeier offers a series of art installations just for leashed dogs to explore, featuring smells, sounds and experiences for your four-legged friend. Your pooch can howl along with recorded sounds on an outdoor karaoke stage, explore a bit of path at his own pace or splash through a ravine while you stay dry on a bridge. The doggie art was part of an event, but has been incorporated permanently into the park.
Russel E. Emmenegger Nature Park
44 & 270 at the Meramec River
Kirkwood, MO 63379
Right in the middle of Kirkwood, just off I-270, is a rough and rugged nature park, offering some challenging trails. Hiking trails take you through wooded areas and along the Meramec River. There is a brief paved path that gives way to a soft dirt trail, about 1.5 miles of hilly bluff hiking. The park isn’t highly developed, but there are restrooms and picnic facilities. Dogs on leashes are welcome.
Pere Marquette State Park
13112 Visitor Center Lane
Grafton, IL 62037
The trails at Pere Marquette let you and your pets climb all over the bluffs, enjoying glorious views of the river. Pick up a trail map at the Visitor Center and enjoy 12 miles of moderate to difficult, well-marked trails. The park also offers fishing, boating and a campground with a dog-walking area. Be aware that horses also use some of the trails at Pere Marquette so it’s vital to keep your dog leashed and under control at all times.
Jefferson Barracks Historical Park
533 Grant Road
St. Louis, MO 63125
Jefferson Barracks Historical Park offers self-guided tours or guided tours of the of the 1850s fort, and leashed dogs are allowed to join the outdoor portion of the tour. The paved park trail is 2.7 miles, popular with both walkers and runners. The park is a lovely space, with lots of mature shade trees, soft rolling hills and a scenic bluff location near the river. The park’s website offers a downloadable trail guide and map, and videos of both the north and south loops.
5595 Grand Drive
St. Louis, MO 63112
Forest Park has been the heart of St. Louis City since 1876, with over 1,200 acres of space to explore (that’s 500 acres more than New York’s Central Park). The park is covered with eight miles of trails that are popular with walkers, joggers, rollerbladers and dogs. This is the place for people watching and enjoying a lovely day in the sunshine. Leashed dogs are welcome on the trails and at the park’s outdoor attractions.
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Lauren Haas was the founder and publisher of The St. Louis Area Family Gazette magazine, and editor-in-chief of Marketplace Magazine. Now, Lauren is a full-time freelance writer who travels the world, using St. Louis as her base. Contact her at Lauren@LaurenHaas.com