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From Branson to Kansas City, Find Your Favorite Trail
In western Missouri you'll find charming and pleasant cities, a wealth of appealing attractions, and plenty of scenic hiking trails. Visit cities like Springfield, Branson, and Kansas City – plan hiking adventures in Table Rock State Park, or look for the Blue River Parkway, just north of Minor Park. Wherever you find yourself hiking, be sure to enjoy impressive views of the western Missouri landscape.
Drive north from KC and discover Wallace State Park, an ideal location for hiking – tree lined hillsides, lakes, and miles of pristine trails. Choose from four distinct trails when you visit Wallace State Park – many hikers enjoy Deer Run Trail, a three mile, heavily forested trail. Hike through the hickory and oak trees as you make your way to the southern edge of the park. Keep an eye out for the roosting turkey vultures.
Shorter, but just as scenic and enjoyable is the Rocky Ford Trail. At just over half a mile, the Rocky Ford Trail is the shortest of the designated hiking trails at Wallace State Park. The Old Quarry Trail offers the best views of the Lake Alleman and is nearly a mile and a quarter long.
Finish off your hiking adventure through Wallace State Park with a jaunt through the Skunk Hollow Trail – a mile and a quarter long, Skunk Hollow Trail begins near the spillway of Lake Alleman and crosses several footbridges. Many hikers drive west from nearby Brookfield.
North of Brookfield, discover Crowder State Park and hike the nearly 9 mile long Thompson River Trail. You'll cross old farm lands on your way to the ornate bottom-lands along the Thompson River.
Travel north from Joplin and check out Prairie State Park, home to six unique hiking trails. Look out for the Path of the Earth People Trail, the Sandstone Trail, Path of the Sky People Trail, Gayfeather Trail, Coyote Trail, or the Drover's Trails. Averaging between one and a half and nearly four miles long, these trails are enough to yield a full day of hiking, or choose your favorite and head out.
Near Sedalia, you'll find Paint Brush Prairie Conservation Area. 314 acres of natural prairie land, Paint Brush Prairie yields opportunities to fish, hunt, bird watch, and hike. You can bring the family dog, too, so long as they're on a leash – no free-running pets.
Northeast of Springfield is the city of Lebanon, home to the Bennett Spring State Park. Choose from seven different hiking trails like the three quarters of a mile long Forest Bridge Trail, or the Natural Tunnel Trail, a 7 and a half mile long trail yielding stunning views.
Directly south of Springfield you'll find Branson. Hikers find a visit to nearby Table Rock State Park always enjoyable. For experienced hikers, the best bet will be White River Valley Trail System – at just over 10 miles long, the system is comprised of the Green Loop, Orange Loop, Blue Loop, and Red Loop. When you're looking for a shorter hike, head for the Chinquapin Trail or the Table Rock Lakeshore Trail. Table Rock State Park is not far from Branson West, either.
In Kansas City, head for the Blue River Parkway. Enjoy trails guiding you in and around Minor Park. An ideal way to try some hiking near KC, you can also drive in from nearby Independence or Platte City.
With a wealth of excellent hiking trails around so many parks, you're sure to find just the right one to satisfy your hiking desires while enjoying the pleasant scenery of Missouri.