5 Stunning Foliage Hikes in Missouri

By Kerrie Johnston

5 Stunning Foliage Hikes in Missouri

If you’re in search of a hike with canopies of color so magnificent they’ll take your breath away, look no further. Missouri’s many state parks and winding trails are home to hikes with fall foliage so stunning it is comparable to a work of art. Here are our favorites. 

1. Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Ha Ha Tonka is where nature and history come together to create one state park that should not be missed. Ha Ha Tonka State Park features a series of trails and boardwalks that make it easy for visitors to experience this historic and geologic wonderland. In addition to the wooded areas and open rocky glades, you’re sure to enjoy the ruins of the turn-of-the-century stone castle, the huge natural bridge, and Missouri’s 12th largest spring.

2. Meramec State Park

The upland forest area of Meramec State Park features mature and old second growth trees that cover the hills above the Meramec River. Hikers are treated to stunning foliage from the canopies of a variety of oak and hickory trees as well as flowering dogwood and serviceberry. As you hike over these breathtaking hills, be aware that a network of underground passageways and caves is right under your feet.

3. Natural Tunnel Trail at Bennett Spring State Park

You’ll love the stunning canopies provided by the upland and bottomland forests as this trail passes through Spring Hollow. Located near Windyville, Missouri, this 7.5-mile round trip trail takes hikers through creek beds, meadows, and wooded hills to a unique natural tunnel that is about 15-feet wide and 300-feet long. Bennett Spring Natural Tunnel Trail, lightly trafficked and rated as moderate, is best used from October to December.

4. Glade Top Trail at Mark Twain National Forest

This stunning spot is part of Missouri’s only National Scenic Byway. The 23-mile Glade Top Trail travels through narrow ridge tops above the beautiful rolling countryside that surrounds it. This area is characterized by wild fruit trees, as well as oak trees, red cedar, dogwood, redbud, and serviceberry.

5. Grindstone Nature Area

The Grindstone Nature Area near Columbia, Missouri, features multiple informal trails that allow visitors to hike over most of its 230 acres. In addition to the stunning foliage, hikers also enjoy native prairie grasses, sheer limestone cliffs, wildlife, and magnificent landforms.  

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