Outdoors & Around St. Louis

Hiking

Named the “Best Trails State” by the American Trails organization, Missouri has thousands of miles of trails for you to explore. Castlewood State Park and the Lewis and Clark Trail are favorite destinations for a morning retreat. Both are only a 30-minute drive from campus and boast gorgeous river views from the tops of forested limestone bluffs. There are also plenty of options for longer day trips, like scrambling to and from the enormous granite boulders in Elephant Rocks State Park, or jumping into the natural swimming pools and water slides at Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park. Finally, don’t forget to visit good old Forest Park directly across from the medical school campus. This expansive park is packed with everything from biking trails, fishing lakes and paddle boats, to a world-class art museum, history museum and zoo (all with free admission)!

— Leah Jensen, M1

There are many great hiking spots around St. Louis within easy driving distance.

Lakes and Rivers

Situated at the intersection of the “Mighty” Mississippi and “Muddy” Missouri rivers and within easy driving distance of pristine lakes and winding rivers, St. Louis is an ideal city for those interested in canoeing, fishing, kayaking and float trips! As a local of St. Louis, I was raised to appreciate the natural beauty of Missouri and value the adventure afforded by the proximity of the Lake of the Ozarks and the Meramec and Gasconade rivers. In fact, whatever type of watery adventure floats your boat, St. Louis is well situated to provide it! Bennett Spring, Big Lake, Roaring River and Washington State Parks offer additional access to various lakes and rivers. Also, if you don’t know what a float trip is, you get to learn all about it via the first-year float trip which will occur along the twists and turns of the Meramec River! Local Missourians will quickly attest to the beauty of this great state, and it doesn’t take long for newcomers to learn why.

— Will Johnston, M2

Fun at the Farms

What better way to spend a sunny autumn afternoon than at the farm? Grant’s and Eckert’s farms are a half-hour drive from campus and boast a wide array of fun activities. At Grant’s Farm you can watch elephant shows, meet the famous Budweiser Clydesdales, and hand-feed baby goats from a bottle, just to name a few activities. Once you are ready for a break, you can duck into the Brat Haus for a nice cold complimentary beer and a bite to eat. On another weekend, you can drive over the Mississippi River to Eckert’s Family Farms. There you can meander through the orchard to pick the most perfect apples and pumpkins, stay for the evening concerts and corn mazes, and savor the deliciously sweet caramel corn and pumpkin pies.

— Leah Jensen, M1

Eckert’s Farm offers wagon rides, apple and pumpkin picking, corn mazes and more.

Six Flags and Hurricane Harbor

Nothing lifts my spirits like seeing the tops of shiny steel roller coasters peeking over the horizon. If you’re like me, then you’ll be thrilled to know that the Six Flags amusement park and Hurricane Harbor water park are just over a 30-minute drive from campus. With great deals on season passes, there’s no reason to hold back. Test your limits on the Screamin’ Eagle or the Tower of Power, find out who is the sharpest shooter on the 4-D Justice League shooter ride or beat the heat in Hurricane Harbor’s wave pools and water slides.

— Leah Jensen, M1