Parks and recreation areas surround Columbia

Thursday, July 26, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT
Ashley Irvin walks her dog Diego with Kaelyn Holzschuh on the MKT Trail. The MKT Trail is within walking distance of MU and connects to the statewide Katy Trail.

COLUMBIA — Although Columbia is an urban college town, there are a surprising number of parks, trails and lakes to visit.


If you want to go fishing in one of Columbia’s public lakes, there are several things to know.

Unless otherwise posted, Columbia park hours are 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., and if you are between the ages of 16 and 64, you will need a Missouri Department of Conservation fishing license.

Licenses are available at any sporting goods store and atsome discount stores such as WalMart. Fishing licenses are also available online.

There are rules and regulations for each park. You can find them on the Columbia Parks and Recreation website.


There are a number of destination trails to choose from around Columbia, two of which are within walking distance of campus. 

The two trails are:

  • The MKT Nature and Fitness trail: This trail is accessible at Flat Branch Park, Fourth Street and Cherry Street. It is a 352-acre park that offers fitness stations at Forum and Stadium trailheads.
  • The County House trail: This trail is accessible at Stadium Boulevard and the  College Park Drive access, behind Mizzou Arena, near the nuclear reactor parking lot. It has a tunnel beneath Stadium to cut down on the danger of crossing against traffic.

There are also numerous community parks, regional parks and nature areas scattered about the city. They can be found on the trail directory page of the Columbia Parks and Recreation website.

Mountain Biking

The Rhett Walters Memorial Mountain Bike trail is a 2.4-mile dirt trail at Cosmopolitan Park, less than four miles from campus.


Stephens Lake Park, one of the best-known parks in Columbia, has 116 acres with four outdoor shelters and a paved trail around the 11-acre lake. It offers a swimming area, fishing and several covered picnic areas as well. It is located at 2001 E. Broadway.

Cosmo-Bethel Park at 4500 Bethel St. is a 40-acre park with 12 tennis courts and a sand volleyball pit. There are several shelters for picnics and restrooms open year-round. There is also an open field area and a baseball field.

Capen Park may be less well known park, but it offers scenic overlooks, connections to other nature parks and a half-mile nature trail. The park itself is 31.9 acres.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.