Castlewood State Park Revisited

Today was overcast and chilly, though still warm enough to wear a couple layers and be comfortable, eventually having to shed hats, gloves, and top layers as we warmed up from the hike. My Dad joined me again today, and we were looking for a shorter hike nearby in case it started to rain. The last time I was at Castlewood State Park was in October of 2009, one of the first hikes I blogged about when I started this. We decided to do the 3 miles River Scene Trail even though that was the trail I did last time too, and the only trail at Castlewood I've actually done since I was a kid.

    The trail markings seemed to have improved a bit since my last trip, with more tags nailed to trees to make the trail a bit easier to follow, something I remember really fussing about last time. It was a very pretty hike, though not as stunning as it was in October with all the leaves. The river looked greenish and the sky was gray, and everything was very muddy, but standing on the top of the cliff looking out over the Meramec River and the railroad below is still really cool no matter what time of year. Terrible colors and time of day to take pictures in though, so I only snapped a few and instead enjoyed the hike and talked on and off with my Dad. These hikes have been a chance to really talk with him in a way we don't often have time to do otherwise, and I really enjoy him as a hiking companion.

The trail was still pretty busy despite the chill in the air and the mud, with families and people walking dogs and bike riders. Highlights still include the cliff overlooks, the tunnel under the railroad tracks, the eerie concrete shells of buildings and old steps left over from when the area was a big resort area, and walking next to the river to see how fast it is actually running. It is also a good hike because even though it is only a 3 mile trail, there are plenty of ascents and descents to keep your heart beating, at least at the beginning. Walking up the hill to the top of the cliffs was hard work and got me breathing pretty hard, and I was pleased with the challenge of the first half of the trail. Once you descend down the wooden steps to the railroad tracks at the riverbank, the rest of the trail is a flat and pleasant walk through the woods. It was really fun revisiting this park, and I need to return there and try out the other trails.

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