Missouri has been named the “Best Trails State” by American Trails, a national, nonprofit organization working on behalf of the nation’s hiking, biking and riding trails. The national award is presented every two years to the state that has made tremendous contributions to promote and improve their trails system.
Missouri State Parks offers almost 1,000 miles of managed trails and the state claims more than 500 miles of National Recreation Trails designated by the U.S. Department of Interior. The state lives up to its reputation as “Gateway to the West” with significant trails including the Lewis and Clark, Trail of Tears, Santa Fe National Historic Trails passing through the state and the Pony Express, California, and Oregon National Historic Trails beginning on the western border. Missouri is also the home of the Katy Trail, the longest developed rail-trail in the nation.
The award also recognized Missouri State Parks for a project that began in 2008 to inventory and manage trails, which is being used in a statewide effort to consolidate and coordinate trail data. Missouri State Parks recently released Trails of Missouri State Parks, a publication that provides detailed information on 230 Missouri State Parks trails. The database and resulting trail book were also recently recognized by the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals (SORP) with the 2013 The Project Excellence Award. SORP presents the award annually to exemplary projects in the field of outdoor recreation research, planning, management, and policy.
From a short walk on a paved trail to a hike through the wilderness, Missouri State Parks’ trail system has a lot to offer. Visit the Activities page for more information to plan your trail adventure today. You can also check out the new Missouri Trails Alliance site for more resources on managed trails throughout the state.