The #1 hike in Castlewood State Park, featuring clifftop views and riverside woodland.


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For hikers in the St.

Louis area, the River Scene Trail is not to be missed.

It makes a loop with the top of the stone bluffs and the bank of the Meramec River.

You’ll find panoramic views from elevated overlooks, plus tranquility among the diverse vegetation along the river.

You can also find the crumbling relics of a resort that stood here in the 1920s. It’s a hike for almost any season.

Hot summer days are perfect for wading in the river, while crisp winter days give the clearest views from the bluffs.

Autumn is, of course, awesome for foliage.

Wet weather makes the trails very slick, however, and portions can even flood occasionally. Depending on which way you take the loop, you’ll either make the steep ascent to the bluffs first or stroll along the river first.

Note that there is also a connector trail that cuts off the middle of the loop, so you could hike only the bluff portion or only the river portion if you wish.

In general, this hike is great for families, but some overlooks on the bluffs are unprotected, so use caution near the edge.

There is also a railroad that bisects the loop, but the trail crosses safely beneath it in tunnels.