Hilda Young Conservation Area & Powder Valley Park

Even though we are about to begin the second week of November, the weather has been extremely warm (though with St. Louis weather, that hardly surprises me) at near 80 degrees today! So of course I couldn't pass up the day for hiking, especially after an especially quiet and lazy weekend at home. Originally it was going to be another group hike, but in the end it was just me and Allison, and a promise to meet the other girls at the London Tea Room later that afternoon.

I wanted to try the Hilda Young Conservation Area because it sounded gorgeous and seemed kind of out of the way, though 60 Hikes in 60 Miles recommended it as a good spring and winter hike. However when we arrived, not only were there plenty of cars already parked in the small lot (it seemed like mostly hunters and fishers?), but a sign on the board said that the main trail was closed because the bridge was out. I'm not sure when Missouri Conservation plans on fixing this, but hopefully by next spring the whole trail will be available to hike. I will be returning to this trail again in the future to complete the entire thing.

Despite this, Allison and I took the hike down to where the bridge was out, just to take a look, then began hiking back down the closing side of the loop that would lead us towards the pond and the parking lot again, a nice short loop. I was very glad, however, to have the 60 Hikes book with us, because the author described a small mown path that we could take that would follow LaBarque Creek and give us a look at the bluff where the pine plantation was (where the full hike would have taken us had the bridge been in working order). It was very pretty and gave us just the extra bit of hiking to make us feel that we hadn't missed something by coming while the bridge was out. Between the very pretty light woods, the open medows with tall grasses, the creek, and the easy to see, wide grassy trails, the hike was pleasant, very pretty, and really relaxing. The trail was very well marked (for once!) with easy to see sign-posts and little markers with hikers on them, and also had some informative signs along the way near benches explaining how the planting of certain trees was working to prevent erosion. Despite the large number of cars in the parking lot, we didn't see anyone on the trail or spur except for a man fishing at the pond when we started. There was some noise from the nearby roads that never quite seemed to disappear, but it wasn't too bothersome-- also, I imagine as the hike goes on further past the creek, noise might be less of a concern. Overall I really liked the feel of this area, small and kind of intimate, and the book promised some really good sights further on up the trail which I will definitely return to explore. The warnings about hunting season made me slightly nervous, but the signs on the trail seemed to promise no hunting within those limits.

Afterwards, because it was on our way back, we stopped briefly at Powder Valley Park in Kirkwood and did their shortest 2/3 of a mile hike on the Broken Ridge Trail. This was a very different walk for me because the paths were paved, but it was actually very beautiful, and completely surprising to find such an expanse of wooded walks in what seems like the middle of the suburbs. The path was crowded with families and children, but it is very family friendly so that was to be expected. The trail actually had some pretty steep inclines, and was very peaceful and a very short but pleasant and fulfilling walk. If I have more time, I would love to go back and do the other two short trails at Powder Valley. It seems like a nice place to go for a stroll with friends or jogging.






source outdoor said...

Really lovely photos. I particularly liked the pictures of the roads covered with yellow leaves. Thanks for the interesting route description, the stories themselves make it interesting

Unknown said...

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