Out and About: Top five local parks to visit in Wildwood area


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Babler State Park is one of many in the area that offers trails to hike that vary in distance and length.

Laura Barratt, Staff Reporter

In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, several countries have urged the public to practice social distancing- remaining 6-10ft away from those apart from immediate family. 

While partaking in social distancing, it has led to the closure of several restaurants and stores across the country, such inconveniences have encouraged many to visit local parks and nature reserves. Not only is hiking a great way to get out of the house during isolation, but it also presents an opportunity to enjoy nature and spend time with family. 

Each park in the St. Louis County offers a host of different sights to see. 

Castlewood State Park has several trails, each varying in both scenery and difficulty. Despite having an initial uphill trek, the Meramec river overlook in Castlewood’s Lone Wolf trail definitely makes this path one of my all-time favorites. This trail, arguably one of Castlewood’s most popular, is only about 1.7 miles in length and features a picturesque view of the Meramec River. Another, lower-lying trail in Castlewood is the River Scene Trail, which runs alongside the Meramec River. 

Rockwood Reservations is similar to Castlewood in that the park consists of a number of paths, each featuring scenic views. The Lime Kiln trail, a moderately difficult path, encompasses many different terrains. Upon turning right at the trailhead, the path immediately ascends uphill and leads to a wooded, earthen trail. The second half of the trail differs in ambiance, as the wooded trail transitions into a rocky path, and ultimately leads to a fast-running spring. 

Lawler Ford Road, a flatter, rather secluded trail in Wildwood features a less hilly, and wider walkway in comparison to that of Babler. This trail is unique in the fact that the walkway is paved, as it was initially a road constructed in the 1860s alongside a set of train tracks. In response to a number of chilling accounts of paranormal activity along the road, the trail ultimately gained its more common name, as “Zombie Road.”

The Al Foster trail is close to Lawler Ford Road; in fact, the 2 mile Lawler Ford Road eventually meets the Al Foster Trail. This trail, while being a natural progression from Lawler Ford Road offers unique scenery in comparison. One section of the Al Foster Trail features a more open area,  in which small cacti grow. Further along, this trail adopts a more shaded terrain, ultimately leading to Sherman Beach, named for its sandy trail. 

Lastly, Babler State Park offers an array of trails, each varying in length and intensity. The Virginia Day Memorial nature trail is a 1.25-mile loop and is largely shaded. While not as flat as the Al Foster Trail, the Virginia Day is a good, yet short hiking trail with rugged terrain.