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A First Time. Turkey Ridge Trail, Rockwoods Reservation 6/8/2014

June 11, 2014

2014-06-08 12.16.17It was a Sunday morning with no plans on the agenda, other than the need to get out on a trail. Now I have been hiking at Rockwoods Reservation for a long time, but a trail that I have actually never been on is the Turkey Ridge Trail. After passing it so many times as I pulled into the main park, I thought that today needed to be the day to hike it. So I grabbed my backpack, put Max’s collar on him, and we headed out the door and down the road.

2014-06-08 11.07.51

How to get there:

From 44 and 270, head West on 44 about 15 minutes to Eureka, and get off at Highway 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 right on Woods Rd. The parking lot and trailhead will be immediately on your left.

2014-06-08 11.09.34The Turkey Ridge Trail is a two mile loop, and it starts out from the trailhead and parallels 109 for probably almost a mile. It steadily climbs the hill, and then eventually goes along the ridge after turning to the right, and away from the road below. It meanders back behind the hill, travelling through a more quiet section of the woods, finally crossing over to the front again and switchbacking down and back to the parking lot.

What I like about this trail:

It is a good, middle-of-the-road distance, with a decent hill to climb. You get some blood flowing, but you don’t have to be on it all day if you are in the mood for a shorter hike.

2014-06-08 11.26.31I would imagine that the main reason I have never hiked it is because it isn’t within the main Rockwoods area. Instead of turning left and crossing the creek and going into the entrance, this is a right turn off of 109. I would also guess that this allows for the trail to be relatively free from a lot of other traffic, so you get a more solitary experience.

I am not at all trying to say anything negative about bike and horse riders, but this trail has one of the nicest, most compact and level surfaces I have ever hiked. Even in the muddy spots where my shoes should have slid or squished down into it, it was solid and stable. Again, not trying to be negative to other enthusiasts…but there was a clear difference.

2014-06-08 11.37.57What you need to know:

The biggest negative I would give this trail is the traffic sound. I took it clockwise, and it goes alongside 109 for a bit, up the hill from it, and there is a noticeable amount of traffic noise that travels with you. Give this trail a chance though, because once you are on the ridge walking away from the road, the effect is that you notice the quiet of the woods even more. It kind of stood out as a pretty neat transition of environment.

(Here’s where I make amends) Unfortunately, this trail is restricted to foot traffic only, so if you are interested in taking your mountain bike or your horse, that dang Missouri Department of Conservation is gonna have a problem with that. Plan accordingly and spend your time on a different trail.

2014-06-08 11.34.25I have turned the other way from this trail every time I have gone to Rockwoods Reservation for years, and I am glad that I finally hiked it. It was very enjoyable, especially the different types of forest you pass through, beginning with the tall pines at the parking lot. Max and I had a great time, and even saw some hummingbirds just before we got back to the car.

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