K M. on Hidden Valley Natural Area
Like the reviewer below, I was seeking a nature hike close to home, and this one had been included in the Hiking Kansas City guide. I would not recommend this trail to people hiking alone, especially women. I think there is a homeless encampment in here. I saw the party area dump noted below, and walked to the ravine overlook. I also walked around it and found toilet paper/feces, as well as campfire remains. I got a very bad vibe, and walked onward. A little farther on, my spidey senses went on high alert, there was a loud rustling in the woods, a plastic grocery bag flew up in the air, and I got the feeling I was being scared off. So I got the @#$% out of Dodge! I finally came to an open field that felt safer, followed that a little further and found a sleeping bag. Immediately headed toward the nearby townhome complex to leave.
Because of a busy Saturday, my wife and I needed a short hike close to home and found it at Hidden Valley Natural Area. Parks and Rec is carrying out a nice natural planting program there, so there were lots of wildflowers as we started our hike. The trail quickly leads into the woods, but not before crossing over what must be a major party spot, judging from the amount of beer bottles, cartons, and charcoal bags. There are also lots of tire marks up until the trail enters the woods. The trail intersects with an east-west trail, and if you turn west, you quickly come to a lookout built over a deep ravine. That's as far as we went, but there were paths from there that I've heard lead back to a cliff overlooking The Missouri River valley and the old Sam's Club Casino. There are other side paths that we didn't explore but could spend the better part of a morning doing so if we were so inclined.