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Cliff Cave Park

Originally named “Indian Cave,” Cliff Cave Park stretches 525 acres across St. Louis Missouri. Named after Cliff Cave – a natural, historical, and archeological site – Cliff Cave Park has numerous activities to offer, dating back to the 1800s. During the 18th Century, Cliff Cave was used as a beer cellar for fur trappers traveling the Mississippi River and opened as a public park in the spring of 1977.  Its terrains range from woodlands to wetlands, with rocky hillsides and rivers to explore… leaving plenty of outdoor activities to experience. Within Cliff Cave Park, adventurers can find various hiking and biking trails, cast away in the Mississippi River, and/or reserve a shelter for family/friend gatherings. Collectively, we’ve formulated a list of activities that we recommend when you’re taking an active rest day – the fresh air will do the body good!

TRAILS. The three main trails found in Cliff Cave Park are:

River Bluff Trail – approximately 1 mile long of earthen treadway, located on the east side of Cliff Cave Park. This trail offers stunning views of the Mississippi River and the surrounding valley. Rated an ‘intermediate’ level hike, there are very few hills and even fewer steep hills. Within River Bluff Trail is a 1.1-mile, singletrack, mountain bike trail. Although this trail is considered ‘intermediate/difficult,’ Mike’s Bikes (Facebook) (Instagram) of St. Louis Missouri has all things for your biking needs.

Spring Valley Trail – approximately 1.8 miles long of earthen treadway, located on the west side of Cliff Cave Park. Utilized as both a hiking trail and bike trail, Spring Valley Trail teeters between easy and intermediate levels of difficulty. Thinking of taking the hiking route, Spring Valley Trail is beginner friendly and weaves in and out of the oak-hickory forest, around some ponds and various sinkholes. Because the trail steadily climbs in altitude up the valley before the plateau and can become muddy after a rain or snow melt, it is considered an intermediate biking course. Hiking (and biking) accessories will be necessary before embarking on these engaging outdoor activities. Gearhead Outfitters (Facebook) (Instagram) has everything you will need to feel prepared for your hike and/or bike ride. Their online store is as easy to navigate as their physical store, with a variety of equipment ranging from camping and hiking, to running or climbing – plus, they have the necessary gear if you are willing to venture in the snow. 

Mississippi Greenway Trail – approximately 6.7 miles long, with 4.66miles paved, the Mississippi Greenway Trail circles bottomland of Cliff Green Park. The Mississippi Greenway Trail is rated an easier trail than the other two trails found in Cliff Cave Park; it will take about a 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete. Along this trail, you can walk, run, or bike. Fleet Feet of St. Louis Missouri has all your needs for running through the Greenway Trail. Be mindful, this particular greenway has very little shade; remember to protect yourself with proper attire (hats, long sleeves, etc.), sunscreen, and plenty of water. Mississippi Greenway Trail is ideal for cross-country skiing after a snowstorm. Located in Kirkwood, Missouri, the Alpine Shop (Facebook) has all your essentials for a memorable ski trip through the Mississippi Greenway Trail.

HIKES. Although the above trails can all be utilized for hiking in Cliff Cave Park, there is a specific hike dedicated to Missouri’s 30/30 Hikes Program. The 30/30 Program designates 30 parks (with 30 hikes) that take approximately 30 minutes to complete. This program promotes family fun and a healthy lifestyle by providing a means of attaining your daily 30 minutes of physical activity in exciting new environments. Cliff Cave Park’s 30/30 Program trail begins at the parking lot, walking south on the paved trail to the North Entrance Nature Trail kiosk, and back, for a total of 2.06 miles. Along this hike, everyone in the family can enjoy wildflowers, red and white oak trees, as well as animals ranging from ducks, herons, deer, turkey, raccoon, beaver, turtles, fox squirrels, and songbirds.

BIKES. Similar to the hiking aspect in Cliff Cave Park, there is a 10/10 Bikes program. The Mississippi River Trail, River Bluff Trail, and Spring Valley Trail are all a part of Missouri’s 10/10 Bikes program. The 10/10 Bikes program promotes families and individuals to bike on 10 different trails and 10 miles of bike riding. Bikers can print a punch card from St. Louis County website and earn a punch for visiting (and riding) each of the 10 trails. Once you’ve filled out your punch card, you can exchange your punch card for a prize.

FAMILY FUN. The family fun doesn’t stop with beautiful hikes and exhilarating trails. Cliff Cave Park has other activities to enjoy. Visitors to Cliff Cave Park can fish along the Mississippi River, observe wildlife on any of Cliff Cave Park’s 525 acres, and/or have friends and family cook out at one of the many shelters (with grills) throughout Cliff Cave Park.

No matter the intention, getting out of the house, enjoying the outdoors, and making memories with loved ones, is a highly recommended alternative for your daily 30 minutes of physical activity. Life is all about balance!