Queeney Park: Hawk Ridge Trail

Fall is finally here! The leaves on the trees are slowly turning colors, the morning air is just a tad bit crisper (though today it was getting warm fast in the direct sun, with an expected high this afternoon of 88 degrees). It's the time of year where I try my best to go hiking at least once per week. Today I went to Queeny Park based on a recommendation from a coworker. I wasn't sure what to expect and couldn't decide whether it would be a hiking trail or more like a park trail. I wore my usual hiking pants and boots, but next time I go I think I will definitely wear gym shoes and work-out shorts if it's warm enough-- the park reminded me a lot of Creve Coeur Lake trail. It was crowded with runners and dog walkers, but because of wide pathways it actually didn't bother me too much most of the time. Because it is in an urban area, there is quite a bit of traffic noise from time to time, but my ipod fixed that easily enough. Queeny park also offers a lot of equestrian trails-- one big drawback about this is that there was horse droppings from time to time on the trail. I have to admit, though, I really, really enjoyed this place!

The park may have been updated since the edition of 60 Hikes I have was put out. Many of the landmarks Steve Henry uses weren't there, but it hardly mattered. While there are a LOT of trails throughout the park, there were multiple signs posted along the trail with maps showing the trail network as well as your position in time, and the trails themselves are very easy to follow and well marked. I chose to do the main loop that follows the park perimeter, the Hawk Ridge Trail, which runs about 4.4 miles. About 1/3 of the trail is pavement, and the other 2/3 of the pathway are gravel and rock with the entire route being very wide and spacious. I found the trail to be a little more various than the Creve Coeur Lake trail, both in scenery and in offering a little bit of incline here and there (though nothing strenuous).  I passed through a lot of medows, native grass growth areas, and deeper wooded areas. Large open green areas that the trail goes through seem to be meant for horses, with obsticles for jumping and running. The trail never really strayed off of the well worn path, so not a lot of challenge, but it is a good way to get in a longer walk without being gone for two or three hours. In fact, I almost thought about doing another round before heading home!

I did not explore the other trails except to look at the maps to see the general directions of where they went. Since the Hawk Ridge Trail goes all along the outside of the park, I was left with some curiosity about what the center of the park holds. You could probably wander for hours throughout the trails, crisscrossing back and forth.  Despite the drawbacks of crowds and horse droppings, all the cons of this trail are definitely won over by the absolute beauty of this park. It is strange to find such a nice piece of land nestled in between housing projects and roads and still get a feeling just a little bit of wilderness. Between the numerous lakes, grassy fields, native prairies, and shady woods filled with giant white oaks (some of which are thought to be over 250 years old), Queeny Park definitely kept my interest. I could see myself returning there easily as an alternative to Creve Coeur Lake when I need a morning exercise walk, either to do the Hawk Ridge Trail again or explore the inner workings of the park.

Brought my camera, but forgot the memory card so I was only able to take 6 or 7 pictures and I'm not sure if I'm able to get them off. I will try though.

1 comment:

kids sport sandals said...

I LOVE Queeny Park (love the name, too!). We head up there every summer. It's just a great combo of lakes, trees and gorgeous views. Sad you went up there without enough space on your memory card but it's a great reason to go again...! :)

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