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Castlewood State Park Near St. Louis

WOW!!!! What a great place to run. It's like running on a trail out in Colorado BUT here in Missouri! I was able to run 3 of the 7 trails: River Scene Trail Loop, Lone Wolf Trail, and Grotpeter Trail.

River Scene Trail Loop is 3.1 miles with 249 feet of climbing. The views are amazing! You run on a bluff side, on a beautiful stairway, next to the river, and under train tracks. Parts of the trail are single track, about 1/3 has technical footing, and a good 1/2 of the trail you can "fly". This trail is well worth a trot on. It had what I thought were the best views of the 3 trails I ran on, but it placed 2nd out of the 3 in most fun (they all were great).

Lone Wolf Trail is 1.7 miles and 223 feet of climbing...and also my favorite of the 3 trails. This trail is also built for mountain bikers (they always seem to have the funnest trails). You get to run most of the bluff that you get to on River Scene Trail, but then you turn opposite direction and run the down the other side of the "mountain" (big hill). This is the super fun part- very much single track, technical footing, switchbacks, great views. At the bottom the trail flattens out and you get to continue your run next to a beautiful wide creek.

Grotpeter Trail is 4.2 miles and 360 feet of climbing. Still a worthwhile trail, but equal to the best found closer to home. The first big climb (if running trail clockwise) is long, technical footing, and a wider trail. Deep water grooves are a major part in why this climb is technical. There are some great switchbacks about 1/2 way through. I saw more deer on this trail then the other two. Here I didn't feel like I was within minutes of a housing development (though I was). It was a feeling of being deep in the woods. I listened to my breath, I watched for the trail head markers, I felt the repeat of my legs turning over. The last downhill is fun and fast. There is no reason to finish this trail slow. It has steady footing, wide enough, and a perfect decline.

I traveled to St. Louis for more than just this run or I would have stayed out there all day and played on the other 4 trails (while also repeating the first two). Next time I will pack a lunch and plan to have a day saved only for the trails. Thank you Castlewood for the wonderful time!


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