hiking

dogs on leash

kid friendly

forest

mountain biking

river

views

wild flowers

Get away from the bustle of everyday life by seeing some of Missouris finest karst features such as the rock bridge or by exploring the forests, streams and restored grasslands of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. While walking the half-mile Devils Icebox Boardwalk, visitors can view the rock bridge, have the opportunity to explore Connors Cave on their own, and see an underground stream, small spring and sinkhole. The 15 miles of trails that traverse the 2,273-acre park are always open to hikers and are conditionally open to bicyclists. Hikers and horseback riders can enjoy the serenity of the 750-acre Gans Creek Wild Area. Before riding, visitors should call the trail condition hotline. Groups can make arrangements to receive a rock bridge/Connors Cave tour or other interpretive programs. Devils Icebox Cave, with over seven miles of passages, can be explored on park-led wild cave tours by advanced registration only. The parks orienteering course will challenge adventurous visitors. Picnic sites, a reservable picnic shelter, and playground equipment make the park a great place for family gatherings. Primitive camping for non-profit youth organizations is available by making advanced reservations.

Good trail. Not too challenging. Little overgrown in areas. Ticks were bad

beautiful views. love this trail

Great family trail

hiking
20 days ago

This map is actually for the Spring Brook Trail, but it hooks up with the Devil’s Icebox trail also. Trail was beautiful. Mostly shade and pretty easily navigated. I am glad I had the app because sometimes I would end up on another trail without realizing it. There is one place you have to cross the river, which could be difficult if water is high. But beautiful hike. I will be back.

I loved this hike encountering different areas and terrain. Even made the little climb after the creek crossing with two dogs on leash. Very peaceful.

One of my favorite Rockbridge hikes.

hiking
2 months ago

so to start this hike is not 2.5 miles devils icebox trail is .50 miles. Very cool spot the natural bridge is awesome and the caves are amazing as well. This hike is all wooden stairs though no dirt trail. If you want to explore connors cave i suggest bringing a good light so you can see. Cave goes back 166ft.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful park, completely worth the drive. Between the caves, big mossy bluffs and flowing creeks..this park has it all. You can take the staircase trails or the nature trails and you won’t be disappointed. 10/10 would recommend.

The trail was well marked it you had a map to decide which direction to go when the trail split off. It had a few vistas overlooking steep drops to the creek below. Most of the trail was smooth without ankle turning rocks. Spent almost all your time in the woods. Would keep children close at hand while up on the ridges as some of the trail is only a three foot step to the valley below. The final hill coming out was a straight up climb.

hiking
2 months ago

Simple walk around a prairie.

hiking
2 months ago

Gave a 3 because of the uniqueness of the sink holes. Otherwise very ordinary.

hiking
2 months ago

The sink holes were fascinating. You were never out of the site of one. Nice loop from Conner's cave, around the hill top back to the cave.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked it a second time today. Nice trails in the park. Just wished they had backpack or other camping options.

Explore the cave!!

walking
3 months ago

Peaceful trail. Loved the long yellow grass flowing in the wind. Would love to come back in the spring.

It was very short but very fun. Interacting in the cave and seeing it up close was worth the trip from St. Louis.

walking
3 months ago

Very nice grassy prairie area with some variety of scenery including small pods, numerous trees, shrubs, and habitats. The trail is wide and easy. Very nice for a relaxing stroll. Peaceful are as this trail is a little ways alway from the hustle.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice cave/natural bridge just a short distance south of I-70/Columbia. State Park makes is it a nice visit.

This has become one of my favorite trails at one of my favorite Missouri State Parks...and I haven't even done the whole trail! I discovered the fun adventure of hiking through the creek itself, after starting out on the main trail and descending from the top of the bluff to the creek. This short section of descent is not blazed, but it's clearly a well-worn trail. After starting from the TH at the parking lot, you'll hike about a mile to mile and a qtr, then you'll see the unmarked descending trail off to your left (the main, blazed trail continues off to the right). In dry seasons (like fall/winter), you can follow the creek more than a mile back to the parking lot after leaving the main trail. There are a few spots where your feet will get wet...or you can climb back up to dry ground an pass by the deeper water. Looking up the bluff to see the dolomite (?) bluffs covered in green moss is spectacular.
As of my visit in Feb. 2018, there is a new blazing system for Gans Creek: blazed in orange. It used to be out on brown and back on blue blazes...not sure when it changed, but the trail was really easy to follow. I could spot the orange blazes from down in the creek, where I had not previously seen the old blazes. Very cool to look out from the top of the ridge -- 6 stories up?? more?? -- down to the creek. I highly recommend!

We started the hike where Bear Field Road dead ends. There's tons of trails to follow; we just let the dog lead the way. The trails are interesting — elevation changes, roots and rocks to jump from — but then you reach the creek bed, which is BEAUTIFUL and then there are unexpected cliffs, too! It surprised the heck out of us. Definitely recommend.

This is straightforward and beautiful hike within minutes of Columbia, MO. As scenic and interesting as any of the many large state park in MO, this trail has some streams, bluffs and great vistas of the one from atop of the other.

Starting at the trailhead BE SURE to pick-up a trail map, even (and especially) if you have the AllTrails map with you. What the AllTrails does not show is that this hike is not one trail but a combination of three: The Gans Creek Wilderness Area Trail, White Connecter 9 (WC9) and White Connector 10 (WC10).

This trail is mostly well blazed (orange or reddish-orange), and nicely maintained. However, since the AllTrails version is a combo of the above mentioned three trails, watch for the following junctions and connectors.

Going Counter-Clockwise

Gans Creek Trail - Orange Blaze

Starting at the trailhead (just off of Hwy 163), you will cross a small bridge. Before you do, look in the trail box for a colored trail map and notice the white connecting trails along this loop.

To start, go East, and at roughly ¾ of a mile (on the AllTrails map) you will see a spur descending to the left. Ignore this spur if you want to hike the Alltrails loop.

Just before 2 miles, you will come to a T-intersection, turn right. Very shortly thereafter, almost at the 2 mile mark, watch for the White Connecting Trial #9 on the left, marked with white blazes with the number “9” on them. Take this trail (that is, turn left).

White Blaze #9

On the White #9 trail, you will descend off the ridge down into the Gans creek “valley.” This is beautiful section of the trail, even in the winter. At about 2 ¾ miles you will reach the creek bottom. When you do, look for an interesting little cave under a small bluff on the right.

The trail will move away from bluff, and for reason unknown, the white #9 blazes will disappear. Don’t panic, use your head (and map) and notice that Gans creek is still on you left, and since this is the only well-worn trail in this area, you are not lost.

Shortly after three miles, white trail #9 reaches the river (still no blazes). Now, if you want to shorten your hike, cross the river and white #9 rejoins the main trail. Attention, there are still no blazes, either white or orange, along this section. Again, no need to worry, it is a very short walk up what’s left of white #9 back from the river to the Gans Creek Trail. Once back on the Gans Creek Trail, go left, all the way up the hill to a parking lot. It is here that the orange blazes begin again (who knows!).

White Blaze # 10

If you want to follow the AllTrails map, when you get to the river on White #9, look to your right for White Blaze #10. This trial will continue along Gans Creek (the creek will be on your left), ascending sharply from about 3 ¾ to 3 ½ miles back to the Gans Creek Trail (blaze orange).

Gans Creek Trail (again) Orange Blaze

When White #10 intersects with the Gans Creek Trail (top of the hill at about the 3 ½ mile mark), go left. Here, again, some blazes are missing. But since this is the only maintained trail, it is very difficult to get lost. You will descend back to Gans Creek, crossing it at about the 4 mile mark. From this point, it is simply a matter of staying on the trail, blazed or not, for the return.

You will hit a parking lot at about 5 ¾ miles, the very same that you would have found if you had stayed on White #9 for the shorter hike. After this parking lot, the orange blazes return for the remainder of the trail.

At about 6 ¾ miles, after a sharp descent, you will again cross Gans Creek, then start a steep-ish uphill climb back to the trail that you were on when, at ¾ miles, you saw a spur descending to the left. When you get to the top of this hill, go right on the trail. You are now headed back to the trailhead on the same trail that you came in on. When this trail forks, at about mile 7, go left (the right goes sharply downhill) and continue back to the trailhead.

The posted time at the trailhead for this loop is 6 hours - it is not nearly that hard or slow (I did it in 2 ½ hours).

This is great trail for a longish day hike or a good shakedown hike (it could be a heck of a workout with a full pack!) if you are getting ready for a longer trip (like I am to Rocky Mountain Nat. Park) somewhere else. Give it a go and tell me what you thought of the trail.

hiking
4 months ago

This is a nice, easy-does-it kind of trail. It is by no means moderate and very easy, and would be good for kids. For grown-ups wanting a more challenging hike, not so... For example, the posted time at the trailhead is 2 hours and 45 minutes - I hiked it in 1 hour and 15 minutes.

The trail is well blazed (yellow), clear and well-kept. If you hike it counter-clockwise, most of the trail is downhill, save for the last ¼ mile or so back to the parking lot.

The one down(ish) side to this walk-in-the woods is the piles of doggy poo on the trial. Dog people, please, have fido do his business off-trail, for heaven’s sake!

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Favorite trail at RBSP! Challenging enough to get a good workout, but still simple enough to enjoy my time in nature. I love how far from civilization I feel on this trail, very peaceful.

One of my favorites in the area. Quiet, not heavily traveled. Varying terrains and a few moderately challenging obstacles. Great for getting ‘lost in the woods’ for an afternoon. Be careful though as there are a few spots where the trail is not well blazed or marked.

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

We went in December and it was beautiful! The trail on the west had some rough patches but nothing terribly difficult. No ticks! The trail was easy to follow and follows Gans Creek on the west side. Since the leaves were down there were some great views.

hiking
8 months ago

Very easy hike with well-groomed trail. Some pretty wooded sections, but altogether underwhelming scenery. Good for a very short little jaunt and for walking with dogs.

Beautiful views, great trail to take with older children (my son is in sixth grade) and dogs (we have two labs). Several spots with water where my dogs enjoyed a quick swim. Easy trail but not boring by any means!

Moderate level was accurate. Saw a lot of different plants and trees. Different terrain though out the hike.

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