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A View YOU have yet to See! Bluffview Trail, Al Foster Trail/Packwood Area 8/10/2015

August 10, 2015

Bluffview Trail 036Well as you probably know, I live in the St. Louis area. It is where I spend most of my time, and the place that all my adventures extend from. A lot of those adventures happen in St. Louis County Parks, as I am limited by distance and time and gas money most days in how far out into Missouri I can get. So on a Monday off, Max and I agreed that it was time to hit a new trail, just recently completed, out in the southwest corner of St. Louis County. We were headed out to the Al Foster Trail, in Wildwood, MO, to check out the Bluffview Trail!

Bluffview Trail 009The Al Foster Trail is a multi-use, flat, point to point path in Wildwood that is a favorite of bikers, joggers, and walkers. It runs from Glencoe through Sherman Beach, along the Meramec River, and is connected to a few different trails along its length, just west of Castlewood State Park. The Bluffview Trail starts about half a mile east down the Al Foster Trail from the Glencoe trailhead at Grand Ave. It is a 2.5 mile point to point trail that goes to an upper parking lot at the top of a hill above the Al Foster Trail and the Meramec River.

Bluffview Trail 001How to get there:

From the interchange of Interstate 44 and 270, take 44 west for about 11 miles to Highway 109 (exit 264). Make a right and take Highway 109 north about 3 miles to Old State Rd. Make a right onto Old State Rd., and then the first right after that onto Washington Avenue. Washington Ave. turns to the right a little ways down, and becomes Grand Ave. The parking lot for the Meramec Greenway and the Al Foster Trail will be ahead on your left.

Bluffview Trail 007The trail from the parking lot continues down Grand Ave toward the Meramec River. When it splits off, take the fork to the left. The starting of the Bluffview Trail is probably not even half a mile down on the left hand side. You will know you are almost there when you pass the tall bluff face on your left.

The Bluffview Trail splits off into the woods, heading north away from the Meramec River into the Packwood area, and follows the edge of the hill. It eventually goes down into the river bottom woods through paw paw trees, young maples, and giant oaks and cottonwoods before pulling a U-turn and meandering its way up the hill and through a drier and more cedar filled upper forest, and eventually to the scenic overlook. There is then a half mile of trail on top of the hill to the upper parking lot. From the lower parking off of Grand Ave, it is 2.66 miles one way. My total hike there and back came to 5.3 miles or so.

Bluffview Trail 032What I like about this trail:

It is always fun to hike a new trail, and this one is special because it is new to all of us! Having just recently been completed by enthusiastic and dedicated St. Louis County Parks workers, with additional labor provided by Americorp, this 2.5 mile stretch of path takes you through a section of woods that none of us are familiar with yet. Probably the newest trail in St. Louis County, it had the the feel of other favorite nearby areas, especially some of the trails in Rockwoods Reservation.

Bluffview Trail 013The path was in great shape, even after the rain we had the evening before. Hard packed earth single file trail cut into the hillside, it was solid and clear for the most part, beyond exposed rocky sections here and there and the occasional tree root. And even though it goes up the hill, it didn’t really have any noticeably steep parts, meandering its way slowly along toward the top.

Bluffview Trail 037There are a handful of scenic places along the Meramec River in this area, and this one is no exception. Up on top of the bluff, it looks out into the river valley below to a golf course and private land between the surrounding hills. Quite a serene spot, up on top there, under a giant oak. There are also remnants of the former property owner’s home, with concrete fence posts and foundations throughout the woods along the ridge to the upper parking lot, including what I can imagine is what used to be their driveway. What a nice place to be able to have called home!

Bluffview Trail 051What you need to know:

This is a multi-use trail. Be prepared for mountain bikers zipping along, especially on the downhill run. Keep an eye out and yield accordingly to avoid any accidents. We all have different ways that we like to enjoy the outdoors, and it is best to work together to accommodate those different ways.

Bluffview Trail 039I would call this a moderate trail. The path was in pretty good shape, but there were a few rugged spots with exposed rocks and some muddy dips from water running down the hill and over the trail. Also, at just over 5 miles round trip, it has enough length to qualify for more challenging than “easy”. Bring some water and a snack, and prepare for a couple hours on the trail.

If 5+ miles is too far for your tastes, you can get a friend to go with you and shuttle one car to a parking lot on one end of the trail and start hiking from the other end. This gives you a 2.66 mile hike. I don’t actually know how to get to the upper parking lot, but I would imagine that it is farther down Old State Rd. Make an adventure out of it, and go find it for me!

Bluffview Trail 029Any time spent on a trail new to me is a cool experience, immersing myself in a section of woods that I hadn’t been to before. The fact that this is a newly finished trail made it even more special. Max and I had a great morning hiking it, even surprising a raccoon playing on a fallen tree, spying a deer standing a bit up the hill from us, and passing a couple of turtles on our trip. The Bluffview Trail is one that you ought to check out if you haven’t already, taking you up to the overlook above the Al Foster Trail, down in a the Meramec River valley just north of Eureka, Missouri. A great addition to an area already blessed with a lot of enriching paths through the forest, that you should get familiar with!

Bluffview Trail 055

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2 Comments
  1. This looks like a great trail! Might have to hike it this weekend and find the other parking lot 🙂 I like the map too! Thanks for the great post!

  2. Wonderful and informative post! We just hiked a portion of this trail on Sunday and really enjoyed it. We’ll be putting up a post about it soon! Sounds like our blogs have a lot in common- starting in St. Louis and finding adventures nearby! Way to go!

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