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We haven’t gotten to the top yet?!? Lime Kiln Trail, Rockwoods Reservation 4/21/2013

April 24, 2013

Logan, Max, Eli, and Sophia.

The last time I had hiked this trail was probably 20 years ago. I have been to Rockwoods Reservation now and again for various reasons, and since they have changed their policy to allow dogs I have been there more. But I hadn’t hiked the Lime Kiln Trail since I was a kid, hiking with my mom and sisters. This time it was me and MY children, and it was just as steep and rugged as I remember.

20130421_114900The trail is just over 3 miles, and it begins with a nice level warm up. After just a bit, it then turns up to the left, and you begin the first long ascent. It will seem to keep going up and up, so take your time and don’t push too hard. You will eventually get there. Once you are up on the top, you will follow the ridge for a ways as it flows up and down and around the hills, with only slight inclines at this point. You will come to a bench that is a good spot for a snack and a rest, and then you start walking the switchbacks on one side of a wide ravine that take you back toward the bottom of the hill. This is where it gets rocky, so take your time and watch your step. It will curve around a point on the hill, and you want to keep an eye out for the white blazes so that you don’t miss the sharp left turn up and over a lower ridge. After it comes around the end of another ravine, the trail then goes into it’s final descent down toward the park road. Soon you will come to where where you will cross the spring, flowing out of the hill right in front of you. Take a moment to just stand there and appreciate the clear, cool water and where it is coming from before you continue on the last stretch of the trail. And then enjoy the last section, after all that hard work, with the creek moving along next to you.

2013-04-24 09.28.02

The stepping stones are sometimes submerged.

How to get there:

From 44 and 270, head West on 44 about 15 minutes to Eureka, and get off at 109. Make a right (north) on 109 and take that about 4 miles to Woods Rd. You will know you are getting close when you pass LaSalle Springs Middle School on the right. When you see the Smoky the Bear fire danger sign, make a left on Woods Rd, cross the creek bridge, and then turn right on Glencoe Rd and into the park. The trailhead for the Lime Kiln Trail will be about a quarter mile on the right.

2013-04-24 09.39.40Why I like this trail:

There is a lot of local history from the 1800s that is interesting to learn about. I never even knew what a lime kiln was until I hiked here. It is a giant furnace, and people who quarried the local limestone would put the rocks in it to heat them up and create lime, which has been used for centuries in many ways, primarily in building and agriculture. You spend enough time in Rockwoods and you will start to see how at one time it was a very industrious and important area.

It is a good challenge. The trail has some long incline areas that are good for the heart and lungs, but it starts and ends with some flat trail so you get to ease in and out of it.

The spring that comes out of the hillside along the bottom, and runs between the trail and the road on the way back. It is crystal clear, and it babbles and flows with you on the last stretch of the trail, after all the hard work.

20130421_125252What you need to know:

This isn’t the longest trail at Rockwoods, but it is the most difficult. The inclines can be rough at times, depending on the shape you’re in. Take your time, and take a break once in a while. It can make a difference.

Sometimes the spring is flowing too high to cross, and you might have to walk along the road on the last stretch. People driving through there seem to be pretty conscientious, but couple car traffic with the occasional bike traffic and YOUR foot traffic, and it makes for some close maneuvering.

The rocky section of the trail has a lot of spots to plant a foot and twist an ankle. This is a rugged trail, so watch your step.

20130421_124729If you have never been to Rockwoods Reservation, go! Right now! Okay…go this weekend. It is a great area to spend time in with a lot to see and learn about. I have been going here for years, since I was a kid, and I still love it every time. The best part is that now I can share it with MY children!

  1. Katye Hegedus permalink

    I remember that! We drank out of the stream.

    • Yep, I remember that too. I didn’t make the kids do that this time, but I remember Mom having us taste it. The water was so high this time we couldn’t even cross it.

  2. I wouldn’t recommend drinking from any Missouri Ozarks springs without treating the water first. Because of the karst topography in the Ozarks, water coming from a spring may have been surface water of a stream a short distance away. It’s risky to drink it.

    • Oh I agree, Tim. This was a long time ago and given the location of the spring, it was relatively okay. The water comes out of the side of the hill at the base and there are no streams nearby that could feed into it. I definitely treat any water that I would drink these days. Good call!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Looking back down the Trail, Part Two: Encouraged to Grow | Camping Missouri
  2. Recapturing Childhood. Trail Among The Trees, Rockwoods Reservation 5/3/2014 | Camping Missouri
  3. Rockwoods Reservation: Lime Kiln Trail – Missouri | Planned Spontaneity

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