Pickle Springs trail near St. Genevieve Missouri is a popular 2-mile one-way loop through a dense forest. This trail seems to have it all. Expect to find canyons, magnificent towering rock formations, scenic overlooks, stairs, bridges, wooden walkways, a beautiful pine glade, plant and animal life, blooming flowers, streams and waterfalls (water flow was minimal when we visited, at other times you will be treated to rushing water and will find the waterfall in full flow) and you’ll navigate your way through slot rock formations. What a great way to spend a day!
At the beginning of the trail, you will find this sign which directs you to head left onto the trail. Snap a photo of the map so you can keep track of sites along the way. You shouldn’t need to worry about getting lost because the trail is very well-marked.
Can I bring my pets?
Although the sign pictured above states that no pets are permitted on the trail (#4 which I have covered) the area manager who has jurisdiction over this trail has informed me that this sign has incorrect information (as of 2/3/22) leashed pets are indeed permitted on the trail. The sign will soon be fixed.
How difficult is this trail?
Rated Moderate but can be somewhat challenging
The trail is considered moderate, but the posted 2-mile length of the trail can be deceiving. I found it to be somewhat challenging but well worth the effort. The sign says it will take an hour, but I think you would have to be walking this at a determined pace to achieve that goal. Great for exercise but you may want to stop and take in the beauty, or a few rests as we did. This is a rugged trail so bring your hiking shoes. I found myself wishing I had brought my hiking poles as well.
When is the best time to hike Pickle Springs Trail?
The trail is open year-round. However, it is my opinion that there are certainly times when the trail has more wow factor than others. We visited in early April when winter was still casting its dreary shadow, and there weren’t any leaves on the trees yet. I imagine it is simply stunning when bathed in the full lush and green glory of late spring and summer (as is the entire state of Missouri!) and fall in this area is glorious!
Is the trail crowded?
For obvious reasons, this is a popular hike, particularly during peak season. The parking lot can fill up fast but not to worry because people do park along the gravel road. It does help that the trail is one way so that you at least aren’t constantly meeting other hikers. If you prefer to have a more personal experience with the trail, I’d suggest going very early in the day or very late. Weekday hikes should be somewhat less busy as well.
For complete and up to date information on opening times see the Pickle Springs Natural Area page on the Missouri Department of Conservation’s website.
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Other must see and do things in the great state of Missouri: