National Trails Day offers opportunity to discover Columbia's many trails

Saturday, June 7, 2014 | 8:32 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Finger Lakes State Park and Rock Bridge Memorial State Park were among the many Missouri parks that offered special events and hikes as part of National Trails Day on Saturday.

The annual event seeks to recognize the importance of the nation’s trails and introduce the community to activities such as biking and paddling, according to the American Hiking Society’s website.

In 2013, Missouri's trails were recognized as the best in the nation by American Trails, an organization that works on behalf of hiking interests, according to a news release from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Gov. Jay Nixon has proclaimed 2014 the "Year of the Trail" in Missouri State Parks.

Columbia residents don’t have to go far to enjoy the state's trails this summer. The city offers more than 40 trails of various lengths, surfaces and environments:

 19 neighborhood park trails — Many park trails are within surrounding neighborhoods for easy access to residents. Most are less than half a mile and are either concrete or limestone.

16 community park, regional park and nature area trails — These trails are within parks that have multiple recreational opportunities. These trails range from less than half a mile at Twin Lakes Recreation Area Trail to approximately 5.25 miles at Grindstone Nature Area Trails. Various surfaces such as dirt, limestone, asphalt and concrete are available for running, biking and other recreation. 

7 destination trails — Destination trails can be used for various activities including commuting, recreation and fitness. The trails range from about 1.2 miles at Hominy Creek to 8.9 miles at Martin Luther King Nature and Fitness Trail.

  • Bear Creek Trail: 4.8 miles, Cosmo Park to Albert-Oakland Park, limestone
  • County House Trail: 2.0 miles, MKT Trail to Stadium Blvd., concrete with limestone side path (limestone only inside Twin Lakes Recreation Area)
  • Hinkson Creek Trail: 4.25 miles (2 miles city portion, 2.25 miles MU portion), MKT Trail to Grindstone Nature Area, limestone.
  • Hominy Creek Trail: 1.2 miles (under construction), Green Valley Drive (near Stephens Lake Park) to Lansing Avenue (near Woodridge Park).
  • MKT Nature & Fitness Trail: 8.9 miles (4.7 miles city portion, 4.2 miles county portion), Flat Branch Park to Katy Trail State Park, limestone.
  • Scott's Branch Trail: 1.3 miles (under construction), Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary to Scott Blvd. at Chapel Hill Road.
  • South Providence Trail: 1.7 miles, Old Plank Road to Green Meadows Road, concrete with limestone side path.

4 outdoor tracks — These outdoor tracks are available to the public when school is not in session. All of the tracks are about a quarter mile or 400 meters around, and are made of limestone, with the exception of Shepard Elementary School having asphalt.

1 mountain bike trail — Cosmopolitan Park has the only mountain bike trail in Columbia. Rhett’s Run is in the northeast corner of the park and runs a length of 2.4 miles of dirt road.

Caitlin Shogren contributed to this report.

Supervising editor is Joe Guszkowski.

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