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  • Kathy Schrenk

Winter is Here.

Updated: Nov 26, 2018

Winter is early in St. Louis this year. So early in fact that it could snow up to five inches tomorrow. I may even get out the snow shoes I bought almost five years ago, during our first winter in St. Louis, when it was colder and snowier than usual and everyone kept apologizing to us and telling us "it really isn't usually this bad." Anyway, the snow probably won't last long, but it has me thinking about some of my favorite hikes to try in winter.

Fort Belle Fontaine is a place I've recently discovered. It's most famous feature is a huge staircase that looks out over the Mississippi River. If the stairs are icy, don't worry. There are plenty of wide, flat trails and since it's by the river you might see bald eagles in the winter. This site was a US military installation from 1805 until being replaced by Jefferson Barracks in 1826.

Steps at Fort Belle Fontaine

Another winter hiking destination with a lot of history is Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Illinois. It's a short drive from St. Louis to where you can walk among the remains of a prehistoric civilization that rivals those of the better known indigenous peoples who created sites like Chichen Itza. It's great for winter hiking because the trails are flat and on dirt or grass, so they are less slippery even when it's icy.

The view from Monks Mound at Cahokia Mounds SHS

Lone Elk County Park is a another location that has gentle, mostly soft trails that don't tend to get too icy. And the elk are out year-round.

A common site at Lone Elk County Park no matter the season.

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