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Park Trails

at Washington State Park

1,000 Steps Trail

  • Hiking

Length: 1.5 Miles View map

This trail is a remarkable example of the outstanding rock work completed at Washington State Park during the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. In 1936, the CCC’s Company 1743 constructed the trail using the large stone steps that gave 1000 Steps Trail its name. After climbing the stone steps through the oak/hickory hardwood woodland, hikers will encounter more of the CCC’s handiwork -- an overlook shelter built into the hillside to resemble a natural outcropping.  This stone shelter overlooks the Big River valley and makes a nice resting place after the long climb up the talus slope. Hiking along this trail, visitors may see many of nature’s wonders, including colorful wildflowers, native songbirds, frisky squirrels and other small mammals, majestic hardwood trees and abundant dolomite rock outcroppings. The 1000 Steps Trail also meanders through the 68-acre Washington State Park Hardwood Natural Area, an area of land set aside for protection because of its natural beauty.

Along the trail, hikers will encounter several bridges and stonework that may become slippery, rocks and roots sticking up in the trail’s natural surface, and steep grades traversed by uneven stone steps.  Hikers also may notice a number of downed trees along many sections of the trail; these are a result of severe storm damage and the area is recovering as time passes.

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
1.5 Miles 1 hour, 30 minutes Loop Yellow Across from Thunderbird Lodge just behind the picnic sites

Opossum Track Trail

  • Hiking

Length: 2.5 Miles View map

A portion of Opossum Track Trail travels through the 68-acre Washington State Park Hardwood Natural Area, an area of land set aside for protection because of its natural beauty.  Along other sections of the trail, hikers may notice depressions in the earth. Prior to the park’s construction, this area was prospected for a mineral called barite and the depressions are the remains of those mining operations. Barite, locally known as tiff, is used in the production of drilling mud and paint.  As visitors hike along this scenic trail, they also may enjoy several breathtaking views of the Big River valley, particularly near the CCC overlook. The trail meanders through a typical Missouri oak-hickory hardwood woodland, abounding with many natural wonders including wildflowers, songbirds, native wildlife, majestic trees, and trickling water winding its way along an ancient creek bed.

Along the trail, hikers may encounter slippery conditions, rocks and roots sticking up in the trail’s natural surface, steep grades, and creek crossings without bridges. The trail shares a section with Rockywood Trail.

 

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
2.5 Miles 2 hours, 30 minutes Loop Blue

Southwest of the Thunderbird Lodge parking area

Rockywood Trail

  • Backpacking
  • Hiking

Length: 6 Miles View map

 Rockywood Trail provides a glimpse of the other two trails in the park, Opossum Track and 1000 Steps, as it joins each of these trails for a time as it winds its way through the park’s oak/hickory wooded hills. The trail also traverses a section of the 68-acre Washington State Park Hardwood Natural Area, an area of land set aside for protection because of its natural beauty. 

Several glades are present along the trail, and hikers may notice evidence of fire in these areas.  This is part of an ongoing glade management program that has helped restore these glades to their historic nature.  It is common to spot a Missouri tarantula darting across the trail. Colorful glade wildflowers that sprout from the rocky terrain each spring include milkweed, prickly pear cactus and coneflowers. Rockywood Trail also passes by a quarry (behind the campground) that provided the Civilian Conservation Corps workers with the stone used to build many of the park’s historic structures.

Along the trail, hikers may encounter slippery conditions, rocks and roots sticking up in the trail’s natural surface, steep grades, and creek crossings without bridges. A backpack camp is located about a third of the way along the trail. No amenities are provided at the camp, and hikers are asked to “leave no trace” when using the backpack camp. Backpackers should register at the park office before beginning their hike. More information on the trail and the backpack camp will be provided upon registration.

 

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
6 Miles 6 hours Loop Orange

Behind Thunderbird Lodge; follow steps by the back door of the lodge