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Park Trails

at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

Deer Run Trail

  • Bicycling/Mountain Biking
  • Hiking

Length: 3.7 Miles View map

The trail follows the hills along the park’s northern and western boundaries and is suitable for mountain biking. It descends to the flat bottomlands and runs along the banks of Little Bonne Femme Creek where it merges briefly with the Spring Brook Trail before looping back to its starting point. Deer are common in the area due to the secluded woods and grassy openings. Signs of beavers and muskrats are sometimes seen along the creek. 

White connector 7 is available to shorten the trail. Mountain biking is permitted only when the trail is dry. Paxton Passage, a half-mile trail owned and maintained by Columbia Public Schools, connects the Deer Run Trail with Rock Bridge Elementary School.

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
3.7 Miles 2 hours, 25 minutes Loop Yellow

Past the circle in the playground loop in the northwest section of the park

Devil's Icebox Trail

  • Hiking

Length: .50 Mile View map

Devil’s Icebox Trail is primarily a boardwalk with several short spurs, viewing platforms and numerous stairs. The trail takes visitors to the most impressive geological features in the park including the 63-foot high natural tunnel known as the Rock Bridge and the double sinkhole entrance to Devil’s Icebox and Connor’s Cave. Also of interest are a limestone glade, Connor’s Spring and a valley formed by the collapse of part of the Devil’s Icebox Cave system. Displays tell visitors more about the cave system and the area’s history.

The hike down the stairs to the double cave entrance is refreshingly cool in the summer months. Devil’s Icebox Cave, which is upstream (to the right) is closed to the public. Visitors are permitted to wade in the underground stream at the cave entrance and into the 150-foot long Connor’s Cave, which is downstream (to the left). Flashlights, helmets and good shoes are recommended. 

The trail shares a short section with Spring Brook Trail and links to Sinkhole Trail.

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
.50 Mile 30 minutes Loop Yellow

Devil's Icebox parking area off Highway 163

Gans Creek Wild Area Trail System

  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding

Length: 8.5 Miles View map

The solitude and scenic vistas of the 750-acre Gans Creek Wild Area allow visitors to forget the bustling city of Columbia is only a few miles away. Small streams dissect the hills and flow into Gans Creek, which is surrounded by high bluffs. The bottom and sides of Gans Creek are often solid bedrock while other stretches of the stream have gravel bars. Except during heavy rain events, the water flows slowly over riffles and into pools.  Spring wildflowers are abundant. Basswood and walnut trees grow on moist, shaded hillsides. Scattered white oaks grace more open forested area. The rocky bluff tops have small glade openings filled with grasses and wildflowers.  Coyote and Shooting Star bluffs provide vistas of hills and trees as far as the eye can see. 

To keep human impact at a minimum, this trail is not maintained at the same level as the other trails in the park. Horseback riding is permitted only from July 1 to Oct. 31 and only when trails are dry.

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
8.5 Miles 60 minutes per mile Loop Brown 1) At the South Rock Quarry Road parking areas off Highway 163 at the Gans Creek Trailhead (two trailheads and two parking areas off this road); 2) Off East Bonne Femme Church Road off Highway 163; 3) At the southern end of Bearfield Road in the northernmost part of the park

Grassland Trail

  • Bicycling/Mountain Biking
  • Hiking

Length: 2 Miles View map

Native grasses clothe the gentle terrain that is marked with scattered wooded sinkholes.  Natural sinkhole ponds provide habitat for wetland plants and animals. White connector 2 cuts the loop in half. There are two spurs off this trail that lead to High Point Lane and Rock Bridge Lane, two county roads west of the trailhead. The trail is suitable for mountain biking, which is permitted only when the trail is dry. 

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
2 Miles 1 hour, 30 minutes Loop Blue

Off Rock Bridge Lane off Highway 163 in the park's southern section

High Ridge Trail

  • Bicycling/Mountain Biking
  • Hiking

Length: 1.75 Miles View map

High Ridge Trail climbs to a hilltop and follows a ridge before descending to follow Clear Creek.  The ridge top follows scenic views of the surrounding park and of native grasslands. White connector 6 reduces the distance to one-half mile. The trail is suitable for mountain biking, which is only permitted when the trail is dry. There is a spur to an access point for the trail off of Rock Quarry Road.

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
1.75 Miles 1 hour, 20 minutes Loop Blue

At the Gans Creek Trail trailhead on Rock Quarry Road near intersection with Hwy. 163

Karst Trail

  • Bicycling/Mountain Biking
  • Hiking

Length: 1.75 Miles View map

Karst Trail is named for all the karst topography that is prevalent in the area. Karst is a German word used to describe land that is filled with sinkholes, caves and underground streams. The terrain is relatively flat with many scattered sinkhole depressions. Some of these depressions are filled with water and the ponds provide good aquatic habitat.  About half of the trail passes through woodlands that contain many large white oak trees.  The other half goes through native grasslands that include a three-acre prairie remnant.  White connector 1 cuts the loop in half.  The trail is suitable for mountain biking, which is only permitted when the trail is dry.

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
1.75 Miles 1 hour, 20 minutes Loop Red

On South Fox Lane near its intersection with Hwy. 163

Sinkhole Trail

  • Bicycling/Mountain Biking
  • Hiking

Length: 1.25 Miles View map

Sinkhole Trail offers sinkholes and much more. After leaving the trailhead in the Devil’s Icebox parking area, the trail follows an old road through the historic site of Rockbridge Mills. The trail continues up a forested valley to the top of a ridge where visitors can find old fields and sinkholes. One sinkhole known as Hogs Graveyard Cave is 30 feet deep and is gated for safety reasons. Two concrete silos stand as a memorial to the land’s agricultural past. White connector 3 is available to shorten the hike and white connector 4 connects with Spring Brook Trail. If accessing from the Grassland Trail parking area, the length is 1.5 miles and takes approximately one hour and 10 minutes to complete. The trail is suitable for mountain biking, which is permitted only when the trail is dry.

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
1.25 Miles 1 hour, 10 minutes Loop Green 1) Devil’s Icebox parking area off Highway 63; 2) Off Rock Bridge Lane at Grassland Trail’s parking area

Spring Brook Trail

  • Bicycling/Mountain Biking
  • Hiking

Length: 2.25 miles View map

Spring Brook Trail winds its way through woods and old fields and along small intermittent streams. Maples and sycamore trees grace the banks of Little Bonne Femme Creek, which is crossed twice.  At the eastern crossing, a 100-foot bridge provides a dry crossing. The western crossing lacks a bridge a may require minor wadding. During high water, it is not safe to cross.

If accessing the trail from the trailhead near Gilbert Shelter, the length is three miles and it takes approximately two hours and 15 minutes to complete. White connector 5 is available to shorten the hike and white connector 4 is available for access to the Sinkhole Trail. Spring Brook Trail also can be accessed at the Gans Creek Wild Area Trail System parking area although it is not a designated trailhead. The trail is suitable for mountain biking, which is permitted only when the trail is dry. The trail shares a section with Devil’s Icebox and Deer Run trails.

 

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
2.25 Miles 1 hour, 45 minutes Loop Red 1) Devil’s Icebox parking area off Highway 163; 2) near Gilbert Shelter