Gans Creek Wild Area Trail

EASY 33 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.

7.7 miles
862 feet

dogs on leash

kid friendly



nature trips


horseback riding




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.

14 hours 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.

16 days ago

27 days ago

30 days 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 was a great trail...well marked and this type of trail so close to Columbia is amazing

1 month ago

1 month ago

Beautiful 5.5 mile hike. Great exercise and no crowded when we went.

2 months ago

Really enjoyed this trail. On a warm day in February there were many people others enjoying it also. I took my little dog and we did a loop that was about 5.5 miles. I felt like I was the only one enjoying myself as most people just ran past us. I was glad to see so many people out though. There are a few fun little creek crossings, and many nice overlooks to enjoy. I imagine spring and fall with make this a beautiful trail to take. I will probably consider doing it again someday.

3 months ago

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9 months ago

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.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

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.

Monday, October 12, 2015

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.