Best Of 2015

Sports & Recreation

Sports & Recreation
Once you've partied till dawn at the city's most thrilling live shows and tasted the best barbecue in town several times over, there's nothing left to do but get outdoors and start detoxing. Our staff choices for everything from Best Running Trail to Best Yoga Instructor will take away all your excuses -- and get you moving again.
Climb Bell Mountain. It’s the second-highest peak in the state, as well as our pick for Best Day Hike.
Sometimes, an urge for serious nature overtakes even the most committedly urban among us, resulting in an itch that Tower Grove Park just can't scratch. Luckily, we live in Missouri, which is directly adjacent to Missourah. And Missourah is home to some stunningly beautiful parklands, such as the Bell Mountain Wilderness and Trail, a rigorous and beautiful day-long tromp through the St. Francois Mountains in Iron County. The trail wends its way through the Mark Twain National Forest, and the ascent up Bell Mountain provides the kind of breathtaking view that makes scraping your carcass out of bed at 7 a.m. on a weekend seem totally worth it. Shut-In Creek and Joe's Creek crisscross the landscape, with boulder formations and a variety of tree types providing homes for plenty of critters. You might go the whole twelve miles without seeing another human. Be warned — this isn't a stroll. You need hiking boots and lots of water, and probably an energy bar or two. It takes two hours just to get there from the city, so plan on it being the kind of all-day excursion you cap off with pizza and Netflix. Highway A, seven miles west and five miles south of Highway 32. Belleview, 63623, 573-364-4621.
Neighbors celebrated when Marquette Public Pool reopened this summer.
Summers are sweltering in the red-brick homes of Gravois Park and Dutchtown, so the L in the L-shaped Marquette Park Pool might as well stand for "lifesaver." Owing to a faulty pipe and funding issues, the pool was shuttered last year. But cool waters are flowing once again, thanks to a joint effort by 20th Ward alderwoman Cara Spencer and the city's parks department. Marquette is the city's largest swimming hole, and it's now five feet deep throughout — the deep end has been raised to make more room for the 200 swimmers who come on an average weekday. The setup is bare bones: The only chairs are fold-outs, the only shade is under a pair of sycamore trees and the only concessions come from vending machines. But entry is absolutely free — you don't even need proof of residency — and the lifeguards bring their own speakers to pump out old jams. 4025 Minnesota Avenue, St. Louis, 63118. 314-353-1250.