meta

Lewis & Clark Trail Loop

based on 79 tracks & routes #2 hike out of 5 in
4.9 mi
Distance
2 hrs 48 min
Time
terrain
183 ft
Elev Gain

Overview

This is a moderate loop trail in Weldon Spring Conservation Area. The trail is packed earth and easy to follow. Trail runners also share the trail. This Lewis and Clark Loop is a figure-8 double loop that offers different paths depending on how long you’d like to hike. The Clark Trail is the 5 mile western loop - the Lewis Trail is the 5 mile eastern loop. If you hike the perimeter of both (see map) the Lewis and Clark Trail is over 8 miles long. This overview describes the Clark Trail.

Hiking counterclockwise from the trailhead, the path is wide and flat. Just over a mile into the trail, you come to your first overlook of the Missouri River. The view is spectacular. You walk along the edge of the river bluff for the next mile, encountering a few more ledges with tremendous views of the Missouri River valley. Below, you can occasionally hear cyclists on the Katy Trail, a rails to trails bike path bisecting Missouri along the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) Railroad railbed.

Eventually, the path move back inland, away from the Missouri River. At this point you could extend your hike along the Lewis Trail if desired. Following a dry creek bed, the Clark Trail climbs back up onto the bluff where the trail originated.

Most of the trail is in upland forest of hickory and oak with some patches of cedar trees (a non-native tree to the Ozark region. In the lower valleys along the Missouri River, there are large sycamore and cottonwood trees typical to river bottomlands. Small fauna abound along with deer. You might see a scarlet tanager or an indigo bunting during the hike. Plus, different types of wildflowers will be blooming depending on when you go.

Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1803-1805 document that both famed explorers walked along these bluffs while their men pulled their boats up the Missouri River after the start of their voyage. Lewis and his giant Newfoundland dog Seaman would hike the river banks while Clark and the crew handled the boats. A few interpretive signs at the Missouri River overlook give information about their expedition.

More recent history gives the name of this conservation area - the Weldon Springs region was involved in the production of atomic bombs around World War II. A new interpretive center is 1/2 mile from the trailhead parking lot. You can find bathrooms and water there.

Getting Started

The parking lot with the trailhead is on the left side of State Route 94 in St Charles County. It is about a half mile past the Weldon Springs Interpretive Center. There is a decent sized parking lot here, though this is a poplar trail - on a nice weekend it may be hard to find a spot. Signs at the end of the parking lot clearing mark the trailhead.

Taking Children

Hiking the whole 5 mile Clark Loop with younger children will be tough as some of the areas are steep and the trail is long for little legs. However, hiking the first mile of the trail to the bluff overlook and then back would be an easy enough hike for younger children. This section is flat with a nice, wide trail for little explorers.


    Rate this Hike

    user_profile
    1 year, 8 months ago
    This was a nice easy hike with nice views of the river and varied terrain.
    ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    5 years ago
    Great hike if you don’t have all day, path clean if you are looking to trail run
    ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    5 years, 7 months ago
    The asters were blooming. The trail was dry as it hadn't rain within the last 3 days.
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 year, 7 months ago
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 year, 8 months ago
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 year, 9 months ago
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 year, 11 months ago
    ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    4 years, 9 months ago


Public Tracks

user_profile
scotd45 4 years, 7 months ago
Clark trail
Nice trail
user_profile
Grant 2 years, 11 months ago
user_profile
call-up-a-storm 3 years, 4 months ago
user_profile
Jason 3 years, 5 months ago
user_profile
adambusby 3 years, 9 months ago
user_profile
KeystoneWilderness 3 years, 9 months ago
user_profile
jdmii7 4 years, 1 month ago
user_profile
laharan 4 years, 3 months ago
user_profile
kjbick 4 years, 5 months ago
user_profile
joaohguerra 5 years, 1 month ago
user_profile
wvanderpool 5 years, 6 months ago
user_profile
gnoelken 5 years, 7 months ago
user_profile
Vince 5 years, 8 months ago
user_profile
leopvoegtli 5 years, 11 months ago
user_profile
joaohguerra 7 years, 6 months ago
user_profile
Stew Smith 7 years, 11 months ago
user_profile
jchapell 8 years, 6 months ago
user_profile
mward 8 years, 8 months ago
user_profile
Jeremy Howlett 8 years, 10 months ago
user_profile
Jeremy Howlett 8 years, 10 months ago
user_profile
Jeremy Howlett 8 years, 10 months ago