06/04/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 06/04/2020 08:40
St. LOUIS, Mo.-The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reminds you that this Saturday, June 6 is National Trails Day. Hiking is an ideal way to get outdoors to discover the beauty of nature and enjoy numerous health benefits. That's even more appropriate right now, since taking to the trail is a form of recreation that aligns perfectly with social distancing guidelines.
Hiking can be as challenging of an adventure as you want to make it, or simply and easy walk after work or with the young ones in tow. Fortunately, MDC offers many great hiking options within the St. Louis region that range from something conveniently close for city and suburban dwellers, to an alluring getaway for those who want to push the bounds a bit further. They cover almost everything; level, paved walkways, or steep and rocky terrain that will get your heart pumping.
To comply with social distancing in the light of COVID-19, it's recommended to maintain 6-feet from other hikers not in your immediate family unit. Avoid trails that seem excessively crowded-a full parking lot might be a good sign to come back later or try a different trail. Bring and use hand sanitizer, especially after touching common services such as signs, guardrails or gates and before eating. Keep your groups small, at 10 or less. While carpooling is normally a good thing, you might want to make an exception during these special circumstances.
This time of year, it's also important that hikers carry a few important items, including:
Hiking is a wonderful way to get up close with nature. You feel a real connection to the land when it's directly beneath your feet. The only thing between you is a pair of hiking boots. Flood your senses with the diversity of bird song. Soak up the fresh air and gentle breezes. Smell the damp wood and feel the complex textures of bark with your fingertips. There's still time to see some dazzling spring wildflowers.
The uneven terrain of paths that wind up, down, and sideways, work a variety muscle groups and help with overall balance--boosting the energy you use by 28 percent compared to walking on flat surfaces. Hikers report benefits like weight loss, stress relief, better sleep, and more positive thoughts.
With all this in mind, here are a few suggestions for great MDC hiking destinations in the St. Louis region:
MDC has many more trails for exploration within the St. Louis region to help hikers celebrate National Trails Day or find a hike any other day of the year. To discover other MDC trails, go to https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Z75 or download the free MO Outdoors app with area information, directions, and trail maps at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZeD.