Gans Creek Wild Area Trail is a 7.7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Columbia, MO that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and horses and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
The solitude and scenic vistas of the 750-acre Gans Creek Wild Area allow visitors to forget the bustling city of Columbia is only a few miles away. Small streams dissect the hills and flow into Gans Creek, which is surrounded by high bluffs. The bottom and sides of Gans Creek are often solid bedrock while other stretches of the stream have gravel bars. Except during heavy rain events, the water flows slowly over riffles and into pools. Spring wildflowers are abundant. Basswood and walnut trees grow on moist, shaded hillsides. Scattered white oaks grace more open forested area. The rocky bluff tops have small glade openings filled with grasses and wildflowers. Coyote and Shooting Star bluffs provide vistas of hills and trees as far as the eye can see.
The trail is not very well-maintained. Pretty overgrown so wear pants. But it's a nice short loop. A little unclear where you cross the creek but we figured it out and had a nice outing.
I run this trail very regularly. I disagree with it being easy. It's definitely not super rugged but it's challenging in a beautiful way.
This was a fun one. Glades, grassland, forest, and creek crossings. Good ol' Missouri bluffs. On our July hike, we encountered no one but a rabbit and some squirrels. Not even as buggy as we expected!
We found good maps at the Shooting Star Trailhead. Other reviewers are correct: few to no markings, so keep that map handy.
Beautiful views, lots of different terrain.
BRING A MAP- trail not clearly marked - not at all marked when crossing the river
Really beautiful views, but very poorly marked. At times the trail was pretty overgrown and hard to follow.
Amazing views. Beautiful scenery. Flowing creek. Areas of cedar forests. Amazing overlooks, We attempted to do the 8.5 mile Gans Creek trail but missed several turns. We came across multiple intersections that were all blazed in the same color. Take a map and have your route highlighted. Even with the map, we missed turns. Despite that, we managed to get a 6-mile hike in. There are so many intertwining trails here that you could pick a different route every time. Despite a cold January day, we encountered about a dozen other people. Mostly college-age. Will go to this one multiple times...awesome place!
berawesome place. Much more potential here for trail running and mountain bike if no horse goers are on the trail. Visited for a trail run/hike and got attracted to the devil's icebox area. Great area. Defiantly looking to make it out here another season. Each trail head had maps and the gains trail had map'd markers through route.
This trail offers a wide variety of scenery. Lots of shade with occasional bits of open grassland. There are a few relatively steep inclines to climb up and down as you pass from blufftop to creek bed and back.
The trail is a nice loop through the woods. You cross Gans creek several times, travel along a rock bluff for a short distance, and through a number of ravines. Overall a nice little trail. I camped at the adjacent conservation area.