Hello again, guys, let’s move on to our next cycling destination: Missouri.
Our hope is that some of you will be inspired to get your bike in your car and travel in another state for something that really impressed you.
Today we will explore the home of Mark Twain, Walt Disney, Chuck Berry and Nelly, and the 21st most expensive state in US.
We’ll do our best to recommend not only the state highlights but even the ones accessible by bike but we are looking forward to any tips or photos you have from Missouri.
1. St Louis Gateway Arch
The landmark of St. Louis without any doubt is Gateway Arch, a 630-foot (192 m) monument.
Take a ride around the arch on Eads Bridge, which has a bike and pedestrian lane that can get you over to Illinois and the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Museum, from the west, with the Gateway Arch behind it. Much of the Riverfront Trail passes through industrial areas just north of the Arch and watch the ships being loaded on the Mississippi River.
But, even if I am a 100% cycling passionate, I truly believe that your visit to the Gateway Arch is not complete without journeying to the top of the awe-inspiring, 630-foot tall Gateway Arch.
From the top of the tallest man-made monument in the United States and highest point in downtown St. Louis, you will experience unforgettable views of the city and the Mississippi River as well as five unique bridges and a historical train trestle connecting Illinois to Missouri.
2. Lake of the Ozarks
This is a trip for everybody, any style, level or age.
Road Cyclists, mountain bikers, and recreational riders must bring their bikes. For mountain bikers I recommend the 16 miles of sweet single-track in the Lake of the Ozarks State Park, well-known for its beauty and solitude.
Casual riders can enjoy 9 miles of casual riding on a paved multi-use trail starting at the Village of Four Seasons City Hall, located 4 miles down Horseshoe Bend Parkway. The trail parallels Horseshoe Bend Parkway, Bittersweet and Cherokee.
Branson has long been a popular destination for vacationers from Missouri and neighboring areas.
The problem for both residents and visitors is both residents and the congest to a complete standstill of the 76 Highway.
So, take your bike because you are also in one of the most beautiful sections of the Ozark Mountains when visiting Branson. If you don’t have one, you can rent it from Trek the Ozarks located right on the Strip.
As soon as you leave the city, you are faced with gorgeous rolling hills and wooded areas surrounding the city that are just waiting to be explored.
And if you are looking for places to explore, go to the Mark Twain National Forest and ride the Mecca, an 8-mile crushed stone trail for the advanced riders.
If you are a beginner choose to ride Reno Valley Road, just north of Branson, with its wide roads and sparse hills. There are also paved paths along Lake Taneycomo at North Beach Park that will allow to be delighted by the exquisite views near the water.
4. Forest Park
Mix culture with an outdoor refresh!
Take an entire day for a relaxing break in the heart of St. Louis community.
The Forest Park is 500 acres larger than Central Park in New York and the home to the region's major cultural institutions—the Zoo, Art Museum, History Museum, Science Center and the Muny Opera.
The monuments, historic buildings, wildlife, waterways and landscapes combine in unique way for all the tastes.
Don’t miss The Jewel Box, a greenhouse with magnificent art deco design. Within Park's Visitor Center Lot, you can find cycling guided tours or just rent a bike. The tours highlight the historical, cultural and architectural significance of the attractions and features of the park. Bikes, helmets and bottled water are also provided.
Locals says that you should enter the park from west or north to avoid Hampton Ave. traffic. You can take Skinker Blvd to Forsyth intersection and turn into park.
5. Wilson's Creek National Battlefield
Sometimes is great to remember how we’ve become who we are and the perfect place is the historical park that preserves the site of the Battle of Wilson's Creek - fought on August 10, 1861 and also the first major American Civil War engagement west of the Mississippi River.
Major features include a 5-mile paved tour road accessible by bike, the restored 1852 Ray House, and "Bloody Hill," the scene of the major battle.
You can enter the battlefield by vehicle, bicycle, motorcycle, or on foot. The entrance fee goes from $7.00 to a maximum of $15.00 per vehicle.
6. Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum
Ever thought that Mark Twain was a cyclist too?
If you have been in love with Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn’s adventures, you must come in the place where the author found the inspiration for many of his stories, including the white picket fence. You will see live the real setup of his stories.
There is also an essay called “Taming the Bicycle” as an account of his cycling experience.
The form of bicycle he rode long ago became antiquated, but in the humor of his pleasantry is a quality which does not grow old.
7. Spring Field
The third-largest city in the state of Missouri, Springfield's nickname is "Queen City of the Ozarks" and it is known as the "Birthplace of Route 66", I was just saying.
It looks like Springfield is the place to buy a house if you want to bike everyday.
In Springfield you can participate everyday for an entire month to special cycling events. Tandem rides, road riding, mountain biking, enduro, just see the calendar on sprinbike.org. Approximately 78 miles of streets are designated bike routes.
The longest urban segments are South Creek Trail from south of Battlefield Road to National Avenue and Galloway Creek Trail from Pershing School to south of the James River with connection to the Springfield Conservation Nature Center. Then the Frisco Highline Trail is a 35-mile trail from Kearney Street in Springfield to Bolivar. Sac River Trails, a mountain bike park, is on Kansas Expressway north of I-44.
8. Katy Trail
If you are in Missouri and don’t go to a ride on Katy trail, you are not a real cycling fan.
Come on! It is the popular 240 mile trail, 45 minutes away from Lake of the Ozarks, in Jefferson City.
The multi-use trail runs along the Missouri River through some of the most scenic views. The park also takes users through a slice of rural history as it meanders through the small towns that once thrived along the railroad corridor and reflect the rich heritage of Missouri.
For a great day trip go on this trail go to either Hartsburg or historic Rocheport.
Katy Trail is also part of the American Discovery Trail, has been designated as a Millennium Legacy Trail and was added to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Hall of Fame in 2008. I think you are now convinced you have to take a ride!
9. Dogwood Canyon Nature Park
An astonishing natural beauty in the purest form!
The rugged landscape has been left untouched aiming to protect the canyon’s natural plant and wildlife environment. This means you have lots of outdoor attractions waiting for you.
I didn’t forget your are a biker, and that’s exactly why I choose the park.
Trail biking is not only an enjoyable hobby but also a great form of exercise and no place is better suited for it than Dogwood Canyon. You can bring your own bike or single-speed, coaster-brake bikes are available in a variety of sizes (including kiddie carts) and provide a comfortable ride at your own pace. The path is paved and gently sloping, and is shared by walkers and trams. Bikes are rented on a first come, first served basis.
The prices are $15 for adults. and $10 for kids.
10. Ha Ha Tonka Castle Ruins
Construction of the Ha Ha Tonka castle was started by Robert McClure Snyder, Sr. in 1905, a Kansas City businessman who purchased the large property.
Alluding to the natural springs on the property, "ha ha tonka" was said to mean "smiling waters." The park is a combination of an interesting story and outstanding geologic features.
The park is a geologic wonderland with sinkholes, caves, a huge natural bridge, sheer bluffs and Missouri’s 12th largest spring. All the castle was built of imported Scottish stone masons to his dream home, a massive castle, European-style castle, with an incredible view overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks.
The ruins of a turn-of-the-century stone castle overlook the surrounding wonders and offer impressive views of the Lake of the Ozarks
If you plan to go in Missouri, you have some good options, depending on your interest. Either cultural, outdoor or just entertaining, I am looking forward to hear from time to time of you. We are always excited by new experiences and people’s fascinating stories.