Exploring the Outdoors

Maramec+Spring+Park.

Maramec Spring Park.

Ellie Reese, Editor

Disclaimer: all mileage was based off the shortest route from Potosi and activities may be limited due to COVID-19.

 

With spring right around the corner, people are becoming eager to get outside. The fresh air, colors of the wildflowers, and the songs of the birds might entice you to travel, but you don’t have to go far to experience the outdoors. There are hidden gems closer than you might think.

 

As an amature hiker and nature enthusiast, here are some of the best places I have discovered close to home starting at the shortest distance from Potosi.

 

Washington State Park 

If you want to experience the feeling of travel without being far from home, this park might be right for you. Washington State Park is located in De Soto, MO. It is only 12 miles from Potosi and about a 16-20 minute drive. Here, there is a variety of activities to enjoy, including: camping, lodging, hiking, biking, swimming, floating, fishing, a playground, and a site tour. There are so many options that you’ll forget you’re so close to home. If you are interested in taking a hike here, there are three trails to choose from:

  • The 1,000 Steps Trail is 1.25 miles and is estimated to take an hour, 15 minutes (rugged)
  • Opossum Track Trail is 2.4 miles and is estimated to take two hours, 25 minutes (rugged)
  • Rockywood Trail is 5.9 miles and is estimated to take 5 hours, 45 minutes (rugged)

 

Meramec State Park

A hiking destination awaits in Sullivan. Meramec State Park is 29.8 miles away and a 35-40 minute drive. Along with plentiful trails, visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, floating, boating, camping, lodging, and cave tours all along the Meramec River. More than 13 miles of hiking is included within these trails:

  • Bluff View Trail is 1.25 miles and is estimated to take 56 minutes (moderate)
  • Hamilton Iron Works Trail is .2 miles and is estimated to take 12 minutes (rugged)
  • River Trail is .75 miles and is estimated to take 32 minutes (moderate)
  • Wilderness Trail is 8.25 miles and is estimated to take 8 hours, 14 minutes (rugged)
  • Deer Hollow Trail is 1.3 miles and is estimated to take 53 minutes (moderate)
  • Natural Wonders Trail is 1.1 miles and is estimated to take 50 minutes (moderate)
  • Walking Fern Trail is .5 miles and is estimated to take 32 minutes (rugged)

 

Laumeier Sculpture Park

For man made beauty, travel to Sunset Hills St. Louis. Laumeier Sculpture Park is 57.2 miles from Potosi and about an hour, ten minute drive. Here you can follow along the pavement, through the forest, or make your own path to see artist work. Biking is permitted on pavement.

  • Central Pathway is a .64 mile loop and is estimated to take 25 minutes
  • Art Hike Trail is .77 miles and the time can vary
  • Western Woodland Trail is .15 miles and is estimated to take 10 minutes

 

Lone Elk Park 

This park is for the animal lovers. A one hour or so drive will bring you to Lone Elk Park. This wildlife management area is 60.1 miles away in St. Louis. While driving through the park or on one of the hiking trails, you can see bison, turkey, waterfowl, elk, and deer. During WWI this site was once used as a testing and storage facility for ammunition and after the war it was turned into a park. Here is where the sought after bison and elk were introduced. During the following Koeran War, the herds were thought to be destroyed. Luckily, one bull elk survived making way for today’s herds. Although the bison were gone, they were later reintroduced and are now thriving.

  • Chubb Trail is 7 miles
  • White Bison Trail is 4 miles

 

Rocky Falls

An hour and 43 minutes to a two hour drive will bring you to a water lovers dream. Rocky Falls is located 88.7 miles away from Potosi, east of Eminence and Winona. Estimated around 1.5 billion years ago, molten lava came to the surface forming the rocks you see today. This location is much more than just unique rocks, a waterfall flows overtop leading to a pool popular for swimming. It has been described as nature’s waterpark, but you must swim at your own risk. 

 

For more outdoor fun, check out one of the locations listed below. Some are a little farther away, but very much worth the drive.

  • Hughes Mountain Natural Area

15.9 miles and a 20-30 minute drive

Concord Township, Mo

  • Elephant Rocks State Park 

22.8 miles and a 30-40 minute drive

Belleview, Mo

  • Hickory Canyons Natural Area 

31.8 miles and a 45-50 minute drive

Ste. Genevieve, Mo

  • Pickle Springs Natural Area 

33.2 miles and a 45-50 minute drive

Ste. Genevieve, Mo

  • Johnson Shut-Ins State Park 

36.7 miles and a 45-50 minute drive

Middle Brook, Mo

  • Taum Sauk Mountain State Park

37.1 miles and about an hour drive

Middle Brook, Mo

  • Onondaga Cave State Park 

39.1 miles and a 45-50 minute drive

Leasburg, Mo

  • Maramec Spring Park 

46.6 miles and a 50 minute to an hour drive

Meramec Township, Mo

  • Forest 44

58.5 miles and about a hour drive

High Ridge, Mo

  • Missouri Botanical Gardens

69.7 miles and a one hour, 20 minute drive

St. Louis, Mo

  • Montauk State Park

79.5 miles and a one hour, 45 minute drive

Salem, Mo

  • Alley Spring

95.1 miles and a one hour, 50 minute to two hour drive

Eminence, Mo

  • Peck Ranch Conservation Area 

92.6 miles and a one hour, 55 minute to two hour drive

Fromont, Mo

  • Echo Bluff State Park

104.9 miles and about a two hour drive

Eminence, Mo

  • Ha Ha Tonka State Park

138.7 miles and a two hour, 20 minute drive

Camdenton, Mo

 

More information, pictures, and directions can be found within these links.

State Parks: https://mostateparks.com

Natural Areas, Alley Spring, and Peck Ranch Conservation Area: https://nature.mdc.mo.gov

Rocky Falls: https: //www.nps.gov/ozar/learn/nature/rocky-falls.htm

Lone Elk Park: https://stlouiscountymo.gov/st-louis-county-departments/parks/places/lone-elk-park/

Laumeier Sculpture Park: https://www.laumeiersculpturepark.org/

Missouri Botanical Gardens: https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/

Maramec Spring Park: http://www.maramecspringpark.com/