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Park Trails

at Castlewood State Park

Al Foster Trail

  • Bicycling/Mountain Biking
  • Hiking

Length: 5 Miles View map

Al Foster Trail is a gravel-based trail with little or no gradient converted from an abandoned railroad bed. The trail follows the river from the town of Glencoe west to Sherman Beach parking area then turns to the north then west again through Sherman Beach County Park to a native soil surface that dead ends at the Meramec River in Castlewood State Park.

The first 3.5 miles of trail from Glencoe to Sherman, is constructed of compacted rock, eight feet wide.  The trail follows the original route of the Pacific Railroad, constructed in 1854. The trail passes through the remains of an old gravel plant complete with sunken barge in the river before skirting the bottom of the Palisade Bluffs. As Al Foster Trail enters the state park, the trail surface goes from gravel to dirt and the width narrows significantly, allowing for a wilder, more natural experience. Here, the trail goes through forested bottomland until reaching the Meramec River and a junction with Stinging Nettle Trail.

Return to the trailhead by retracing steps back along Al Foster Trail or return via Stinging Nettle Trail.  To shorten or enhance one’s hike, white connectors 8, 9 and 10 are available. These are marked with white blazes.

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
5 Miles 3 hours, 45 minutes, one way Linear Green 1) Glencoe: At the end of Grand Street, near the intersection of Hwy. 109 and Old State Road; 2) Sherman Beach County Park: In Sherman, off St. Paul Road

Castlewood Loop

  • Bicycling/Mountain Biking
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding

Length: 2.75 Miles View map

Castlewood Loop can be accessed via Chubb Trail. The trail passes through old farmland that is now in various states of succession. The trail also skirts along the edge of Lincoln Beach, a popular swimming hole and gathering place from 1915 to 1940. The entire length of the trail is in the floodplain, so some sandy areas will be encountered near the river. The trail passes through field and forest and its seclusion from developed areas makes it an excellent place for bird watching and wildlife viewing.

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
2.75 Miles 2 hours Loop Black Via Chubb Trail, 1.5 miles west of the Lone Elk County Park trailhead and parking area

Cedar Bluff Loop

  • Bicycling/Mountain Biking
  • Hiking

Length: 2.25 Miles View map

Cedar Bluff Loop is isolated from any vehicular access and can only be reached from Al Foster Trail through two early 20th century tunnels under the Union Pacific Railroad.  Just on the other side of the tracks, the trail splits, either direction may be taken. Contrary to its name, the trail does not actually go along Cedar Bluff. On a clockwise path around, the trail passes through forest and meadows before climbing to the knob of a large hill, which happens to be the highest point in the entire park. The trail then plunges back into the valley, crosses a creek and then weaves up a ridge on the opposite side of the valley.  The trail then follows the ridge back down to the start of the loop. During the summer months, look for two large blackberry brambles in the low creek wash between the two higher slopes in the back of the valley.

 

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
2.25 Miles 2 hours and 15 minutes Loop Brown Via Al Foster Trail, 1.40 miles northeast of Sherman Beach County Park

Chubb Trail

  • Bicycling/Mountain Biking
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding

Length: 6.5 Miles View map

Chubb Trail is a multi-use (equestrian, biking and hiking) trail that starts at Lone Elk County Park, goes through Castlewood State Park and ends up at West Tyson County Park on the south side of the Meramec River. The trail is rugged and hilly at each end, especially on the West Tyson side. Through the middle, the trail passes though flat, forested bottomland and a couple of restored prairie fields.

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
6.5 Miles 5 hours, one way Linear Black 1) Lone Elk County Park: .70 mile northeast of North Highway Drive/Park Road just past World Bird Sanctuary; 2) West Tyson County Park: Off Interstate 44, Lewis Road Exit (266), .20 mile on North Outer Road near park entrance

Grotpeter Trail

  • Bicycling/Mountain Biking
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding

Length: 3.75 Miles View map

Varied routes and the challenging terrain with numerous elevation changes make this a popular trail with all users. In addition to the main trail, five white connector trails, totaling 2.6 miles, are available to enhance, shorten or lengthen the user’s experience.  From the trailhead, east of the park office, the trail crosses Kiefer Creek Road before climbing up and over a hillside. The trail then winds up another hill to the top of a long ridge. White connector trails 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 can be used to bypass steep sections of the trail.  After reaching the pinnacle, the perimeter trail follows the crest of the ridge before starting a long downhill back into the Kiefer Creek valley and back to the trailhead. 

There are several road crossings; always stop and check for oncoming traffic before continuing.  In case of emergency, look for "Emergency Response Signs" located at various points along this trail system.

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
3.75 Miles 2 hours, 50 minutes Loop Blue 1) One-fourth mile east of park office on Kiefer Creek Road; 2) Behind the park office

Lone Wolf Trail

  • Bicycling/Mountain Biking
  • Hiking

Length: 1.5 Miles View map

Lone Wolf Trail parallels River Scene Trail after it climbs the former old Ridge Road to the top of the bluffs. Take in a view of the river valley before breaking away from the bluffs as the trail separates from River Scene Trail. Lone Wolf Trail descends through shaded, fern-covered hillsides into the Kiefer Creek valley below. Access the stream crossing in the valley that connects to Grotpeter Trail for an extended trek, or keep following Lone Wolf Trail as it follows the meanders of Kiefer Creek until returning to the trailhead. Lone Wolf Trail was named in honor of Castlewood’s most notorious roadhouse tavern/speakeasy of the resort era. Unfortunately, all that remains of the Lone Wolf Club today is a stone fire place and memories.

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
1.5 Miles 1 hour, 30 minutes Loop Orange .30 mile east of the park office on the main park road (southeast corner of the parking lot east of Kiefer Creek Bridge)

River Scene Trail

  • Bicycling/Mountain Biking
  • Hiking

Length: 3.25 Miles View map

River Scene Trail features the parks most spectacular views. The first quarter mile wraps around a forested hillside and then turns sharply uphill towards the top of the bluffs. The trail follows the edge of the bluffs for about a mile past scenic overlooks that provide stunning panoramic views of the Meramec River valley more than 200 feet below.

 Along the way, hikers will pass some old foundations that serve as a reminder of the resort era during the 1920s and 1930s. At the end of the bluff, a wooden boardwalk descends into the river valley past the crumbling remains of the “Grand Staircase” to a tunnel under the Union Pacific railroad. This area was the site of the Castlewood Railroad Depot and the steps provided access to Castlewood Hotel and resort cabins on the bluffs. The trail passes through the tunnel and then turns left as it meets the Meramec River. The trail remains level as it follows the river over the next two miles, traveling through seasonally flooded woodlands and a large open field that was the past site of the hotel known as Lincoln Lodge. The lodge was across the river from Lincoln Beach, which was the prime gathering spot of fun-seekers during the resort era.

After going back under the railroad tracks at the Kiefer Creek Road underpass, the trail follows Kiefer Creek Road back to the trailhead. Hiking only is allowed on the bluff portion In addition, White Connector 7 is available to shorten or enhance one’s hike.

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
3.25 Miles 2 hours, 20 minutes Loop Red 1) Across from picnic shelter #1; 2) .10 mile southeast of the railroad underpass; 3) Near the river access where Kiefer Creek Road ends at the cul-de-sac

Stinging Nettle Trail

  • Bicycling/Mountain Biking
  • Hiking

Length: 2.5 Miles View map

Stinging Nettle Trail follows the Meramec River from Sherman Beach County Park to a junction with Al Foster Trail in the Cedar Bluff Unit of Castlewood State Park.  The trail’s varying contour is the result of gravel dredging on the site prior to state acquisition of the land. Hikers and mountain bikers alike will appreciate the up close and personal views of the river. This is a great trail to get away and commune with nature.

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
2.5 Miles 1 hours, 50 minutes, one way Linear Yellow Sherman Beach County Park, in Sherman, off St. Paul Road