Gans Creek Wild Area Trail

EASY 50 reviews

Gans Creek Wild Area Trail is a 7.7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Columbia, Missouri that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, birding, and horses and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
7.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
862 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

horseback riding

forest

river

views

wild flowers

over grown

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.

hiking
13 days ago

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!

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

We rode our horses here, finished the outer loop in about 2.5 hrs, mostly at the walk, a little trotting. Very nice.

hiking
1 month ago

trail running
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

A bit confusing with one side trail that will fool you that branches off heading downhill from a bluff then follows the creek. if you cross then you must scramble up the opposite bank and in about 20 yards you exit the trail onto a gravel road. A bit down the road from the trailhead. Fooled us and another couple with a baby.

The divider to the loop, where you decide to go counter clockwise or clockwise, as of our last hike, had the brown base blaze for the trail but was missing the red or blue blaze. Turns out it was the right way to go clockwise but you think it might be one of the connecter trails that bisect the loop. A fee hikers but more trail runners.

4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Nice, mostly level trail, with varying scenery. I did the full loop and it was well marked, even at the creek crossings (just takes a little looking around to find where it picks up...) Missed my "exit" to the parking lot off Rock Quarry, but luckily there were plenty of landmarks so I was able to figure out my mistake pretty quickly. Pretty easy terrain... only a couple of steep/rocky spots.

5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

5 months ago

my son and I just did this...or part I guess....we did a 3 mile loop and I must say I was very surprised at the landscape and views we saw....it was a great trail...well marked and this type of trail so close to Columbia is amazing