Best Place to Hike St. Louis 2007 - Castlewood State Park
Hiking is generally not an activity for instant-gratification types. Except at Castlewood State Park. Less than ten minutes past the trailhead, you're atop a ridge overlooking the Meramec River Valley nothing but treetops and river for miles. Separate trails keep bikers from interrupting the view along the high ridge (peppered with benches on scenic overlooks), and a massive wooden staircase leads to the river valley 250 feet below. Castlewood's 1,800 acres boast 15.5 miles of hiking trails, of which the 3-mile River Scene Trail is the most spectacular. From it, different loops allow you to choose the length and altitude of your hike and a thriving deer population will have you feeling close very close to nature, despite Castlewood's location a mere three miles from the center of Ballwin.