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A Legacy of Conservation. Round House Loop Trail, Rockwoods Range 6/29/2014

June 29, 2014

2014-06-29 13.06.2185 degrees and overcast. Not bad for a Sunday afternoon in late June. Max and I knew that we had to get out to the woods and take advantage of this optimal hiking weather. Okay, I knew that we had to. Max doesn’t care either way, as long as we are walking through the forest somewhere, looking for deer to stare at and squirrels to chase. I had never been to Rockwoods Range Conservation Area, other than from the Greensfelder County Park side, and I felt that it was a good destination. The Round House Loop Trail within it seemed like the perfect distance for a satisfying hike, so I filled up the water bottles, grabbed my day pack, and we headed down the road.

2014-06-29 12.32.49How to get there:

From the interchange of Interstate 44 and 270, head west on 44 for about 14 miles to exit 261 (Allenton Road/Six Flags). Make a right onto Allenton Road, and then an almost immediate left onto Fox Creek. Take Fox Creek for about 2 miles, and the parking lot for the conservation area will be around the bend on your left. There are 2 trailheads here, across the road from the parking lot. The trailhead on the left is for the Green Rock Trail, and the one on the right, with a slightly less visible sign is for the Fox Creek Spur, which takes you to the Round House Loop Trail.

2014-06-29 12.20.01After crossing the road and stepping into the woods, it is a steady ascent for probably a quarter of a mile. It kind of levels off, and after a little bit further you arrive at the Round House Loop. Max and I took the trail clockwise (left), and it was a pretty straight hike along an expansive ridge for probably about a mile, to the Round House Memorial for Blanche and Albert Greensfelder, who had a home built on this spot in 1928.

2014-06-29 13.05.21The loop continues from the Round House Memorial back in the direction of the parking lot, and heads downhill for a while until you reach the creek bottoms and follow the limestone carved creek on your left for a bit. Then it is all the way back up the hill to the Fox Creek Spur, and back to the car. In total it is almost 4 miles.

 

2014-06-29 13.48.34What I like about this trail:

Albert Greensfelder was a local instrumental force for land conservation in the St. Louis area in the early to mid 20th century. He was a vice chairman for the Missouri Conservation Commission, and when he died in 1955, he was the chairman of the St. Louis County Park Board, among other positions in local organizations. In 1963, the land that is now Greensfelder County Park was donated to St. Louis County by the St. Louis Regional Planning and Construction Foundation, an organization that Mr. Greensfelder had founded in 1939. On the spot of the Round House Memorial, is where he and his wife had a home constructed in 1928. Not a bad place for such a deserving guy to have a backyard.

2014-06-29 12.49.30The creek that parallels the trail for a bit is a watershed creek, and I would imagine that it is dry most of the time. The exposed rock that lines the bottom is pretty scenic in areas, and definitely worth checking out.

The trail itself is wide and open. Spacious trails are always nice to hike, especially during the warmer months when the ticks are sitting at the ends of the grass blades along the sides of the trail.

2014-06-29 13.35.43What you need to know:

I would probably refrain from hiking this trail after wet weather. I love that people get out into the woods, and I think that riding a horse while doing it is a perfectly wonderful way to do it. However, this trail was muddy and torn up for quite a bit of it. It would be a much more enjoyable hike after a week or two of dry weather.

The hills are steep and long. Going up on the Fox Creek Spur from the parking lot. Heading down to the creek bottoms, and then coming back up the hill. Expect to get a workout, and then enjoy the flat sections that much more.

2014-06-29 13.07.48It was a challenging hike for Max and I, what with all the mud and horse hoof puddles, but it was a great area to be in. A little bit of a drizzle passed over on this wonderful Sunday afternoon, and I couldn’t help but feel some appreciation for the Greensfelders and what they have contributed to the St. Louis area in terms of great natural places to experience. Hiking along, listening to the raindrops spatter the leaves in the canopy up above our heads, I imagined them sitting on their porch up on top of the hill years ago, sipping coffee and listening to the same soundtrack that filled our adventure today.

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