Rocky Woods Trail

MODERATE 8 reviews
#1 of 5 trails in

Rocky Woods Trail is a 5.7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near De Soto, Missouri that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

5.7 miles 941 feet Loop

dogs on leash




nature trips





wild flowers



Rocky Woods Trail takes you through Washington State Park. Lots of civilian conservation corp stonework, expansive views from several stone buildings, stone "steps" in some areas, small caves, springs. Many other natural wonders to behold. Connects to the shorter 1000 Steps Trail. The Rocky Woods Trail is a 6 mile demanding hike that takes you up along rocky bluffs that offer a lot of climbing/bouldering opportunities, expansive views, and down through creek beds and beautiful wooded areas, and up though open fields that offer even more expansive views. Very up and down, very rough terrain, use caution after heavy rains. Very beautiful. Good shoes a must.

3 months ago

FYI - Trailhead starts at the lodge for those looking for it. I had to do a bit of driving around to find it, and the state park maps were not of much assistance.

Maybe I'm hard to impress, but to me, this was just an average hike. It was a clean trail with relatively well-marked blazes. It was fall, so the dropped leaves sometimes made it difficult to find the trail.

All in all, it's a nice hike, I wouldn't consider it difficult. It's a tad long for some. But really from an elevation gain, I did not find myself out of breath while hiking.

Some neat rocks and geological features along the trail as well as some overlooks. I could hear the roads and local gun range while hiking, so that took a little bit of the "getting away" feeling that I typically want. But, the trail itself was not busy at all and only ran into one other hiker.

I also agree with the rocks and tree roots. If you're new to hiking or have weak ankles, this is a trail you might want to consider some footgear with some support or take trekking poles.

If you want something to test out your new backpack\boots and trekking poles on, and don't want to get too far away from your car\civilization where you're hurting or lugging something you hate, this is your trail.

I'd give it 3.5 stars if I could.

3 months ago

One word. Awesome! Trail was very clean and well marked. My only issue was that I was looking down A LOT. Someone else mentioned that this was the trail to sprain an ankle. I agree! Take it easy and be careful on this trail.

All in all I highly recommend this trail to anyone and everyone.

6 months ago

Really enjoyed this hike! I disagree with the hard rating. If you have done serious hiking and/or backpacking this hike will be more moderate. There are no switchbacks. It's well marked, but 3/4 into the hike the trail abruptly ends at an outdoor pavilion. It picks up again and the other side of the pavilion, on the right. However, you won't see the orange blaze until you go down the trail a little. The steepest part is after this, when it connects to the 1,000 Steps Trail. However, it's all downhill. The trail ends at the trail head sign for 1,000 Steps, which faces the lodge. I found the trail beautiful and was happily surprised by a section with wild roses!

7 months ago

Very difficult to do the whole thing. 1,000 Steps Trail was closed but it was the only way back so we did it anyway. First, it is a trail that is constant steep descends and ascends. Lots of medium to large size rocks that are pointy, slick, shaky, unstable and jetting up out of everywhere. Tree roots, too. If ever there were a trail to sprain your ankle on, this is it. Ending with 1,000 steps is super challenging. This made The Chubb seem like no big deal. Great way to burn 4,000 calories. Not for beginners or people without strong will. Great for training, though. Carried 50 lb pack and found it to be great training.

9 months ago

I love this trail!

3 years ago

I loved this trail. Officially, it's listed as taking 6 hours. This is not true! With a 15 minute lunch, a 15 minute stop at the Petroglyphs, and another 10 minute break it ended up taking us 3 hours and 50 minutes. Pretty hard at times, but not anything insane. Great views! It's all so beautiful. Today (9/28) it was like multiple seasons. Parts looked like fall, while lower down it seamed to still be summer. Definitely going back.

I would never do this while it was raining, by the way. Today was dry and some of the 1,000 steps (which you end on) were hard to walk over as is. Do not go if it has recently rained, or just be extra cautious.

4 years ago

This is a very nicely maintained state park, all kinds of stuff to do. The trails are very nice and clean with good views. Great place to train.

5 years ago

Great trail, one of my favorites. great views, lots of rocks to climb, physically demanding, beautiful.