Explore the most popular trails near Defiance with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Defiance, Missouri Map
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I clocked 12.6 miles from my car right at the trailhead and back. Didn’t get off track either. I don’t know if I’d say this Trail is amazing, but maybe it’s better with more greenery. Saw maybe 8 bicyclists and 1 other hiker. The trail was nice and all but didn’t have any real scenery and I imagine the scenery we did have will be covered once the leaves grow in. The airport nearby had many planes coming and going, and very audibly. The police shooting ranges that back up against the park sounded like we were in a war zone. That paired with the smoke from an apparent nearby prescribed burn just added to the special effects.

Best trail in the area as far as distance, terrain and scenery. I just ran it today after a lot of rain and when every other trail was too muddy to run, Lost Valley was perfect!

hiking
bridge out
23 days ago

March 1 2019 - road leading to island is under running water, impassable.

great hike

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

easy to follow, don't recommend if it is too wet, very muddy. unless you like lugging extra weight on your shoes.

Amazing trail to go on.

1st time on Matson-Oxen Trail combo. It will become a regular for us. Not hard-not easy. I like the flexibility to go 2, 5, or 7 miles depending on the trail combo you take.

hiking
3 months ago

Good trail but it is currently very muddy. There are not a lot of interesting points to the trail but it is quiet and isolated.

I found this trail difficult to follow. It's not we'll marked and mostly fields and paths through a wooded area.

hiking
3 months ago

I just hiked this trail in the last week of November and it was very pleasant. It was midweek and I still came across several hikers and about 10 mountain bikers during the day.

This is the third time this year that I have hiked the entire Lost Valley Trail. I feel that hiking it clockwise is the easiest as most of the two-track road sections are then downhill and mostly on the 2nd half of the hike.

Also, the Carbonite mileage markers are all laid out for viewing in this direction. There are markers every half mile and the trail is easy to follow even while covered with leaves.

When starting out, I also prefer to follow the Little Femme Osage Creek which is the "old way" of hiking this loop. When you reach the first Carbonite sign with 2 arrows pointing right for "Lost Valley Trail" and "Short Loop," you instead bear off on the unmarked road to your left.

This keeps you along the creek and you'll meet back up with the marked trail around the 1.5 (?) mile marker. This is also the route shown in the book, "St. Louis: 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles."

beautiful fall variations of color during this time of year.

mountain biking
5 months ago

Whoever rated this trail as easy is clearly talking about hiking.. I would not advise riding this trail without a certain degree of fitness and skill for some of the more technical rocky area. There are some reasonable climbs as well. Those are the things that make this trail fun however. Some pretty cool descends and switchbacks. Nice flowy sections too.

Great trail. well marked.

great as always! lotta vegetation creeping up on the paths + fallen trees. also be on guard for bikers hauling butt thru some very thin trails at some points. No ticks at this time but plenty of pesky gnats + flies.

I hiked this trail CCW on a very warm Monday in September. I only encountered 3 mountain bikers but no other hikers.

I'd already hiked the longer Lost Valley Trail CW which is the direction in which the Carsonite marker posts face. So instead of counting up the miles in half-mile increments, they counted down the mileage if one viewed their reverse side.

I personally would recommend hiking CW as that puts a long downhill two track road at the end of the hike. I prefer to get the more challenging hiking done at the beginning.

This is a lollipop trail and the beginning stem portion takes about 15 to 20 minutes walking time (rather flat) before you reach the circular section of the trail.

Essentially, the hike ascends as you head north. My favorite part of this hike is the furthest north section where you hike the hilltops. I'm looking forward to doing this section when the trees have shed their leaves and that opens up more views of the surrounding hills.

BTW, the Alltrails app GPS showed the distance as 9.9 miles. I'm not a fast hiker. My moving time was 3:40. Due to the heat in the 90s F, I ended up taking about 40 minutes of breaks which made the total time 4:20.

Definitely bring bug spray!!! Trail head said 2.5 miles but is about 5. Trail is nice, shaded for hot day and is very quiet. Just doesn’t have scenery besides woods. Would be better in fall

Love this trail! Well marked, but I did get confused and ended up on the Hamburg Trail over half way through. I retraced my steps and took a right to follow the electrical lines and BAM! I was back on the trail. Over all, lots of bikers and switchbacks, but that kept me on my toes and interested. The perfect hike for my pup and I! Beautiful scenery, streams, and weather. Bring plenty of food and water for the both of you; you’ll be out there for awhile :)

mountain biking
6 months ago

Great trail. Where is the turn to get back to parking lot if you want to stay off hamburg trail?

great park to hike at, good scenery and probably the quietest parks i've ever been too. The biggest problem I had was not wearing any bug repellent and the park even has a sign at the trailhead saying to wear repellent. But I continued anyway and when I got home later that day the amount of larvae ticks or chiggers I had on me I would call an infestation!!! never had that my bugs on me at one time. Moral of the story is I'm investing in bug repellent...

Really enjoyed this trail. My friend and I decided late in the day to do a hike, and we wanted something not too easy, but a little elevation. This was perfect for our last minute hike. Not too long, not too hard...it was just right. Saw one mountain biker...this would be a fun trail for that.

This section of the trail is not really a hike but more of a walk as the Katy Trail is hard-packed limestone suitable for biking. The roadway has virtually no grade in this section.

I've done this trail section several times over the years. Sometimes the mosquitoes can be rather annoying (there are places with standing water) but today they were next to none.

Except mid-day when the sun is high in the sky, most of this section of the trail is covered by a forest canopy giving one lots of shade.

I noted that the sign at Defiance indicated the distance back to Weldon Spring is 2.6 miles. That would make the walk only 5.2 miles unless you had walked all the to the "Z" turn in Highway 94 where the two bar and grills are located.

I walked this on a Monday morning in August and perhaps about 30 cyclists passed me going either way and I only encountered 3 other walkers. This makes for a very comfortable stroll that can be done by people of most ages.

I'm a leisurely walker and did the round trip in just under 2 hours. If you wish to break your hike into two halves, it is possible to have lunch or a dinner in Defiance.

The distance is best thing about this trail. Not much elevation change and a lot of abandoned roads. Watch out for bikers.

I did this trail a couple of years ago and loved it. We didn't stick to the path highlighted in Red here however. We took the dashed line (shown in map) off-shoot to the Missouri River and saw River Otters swimming around. At the left end of the island looking at it here (no dashed lines shown), we found a trail that took us to the fork and saw great blue heron and was a cool place to see. Don't get lost however :-). All of this made for a long hike which was around 10 miles I'd guess.

trail running
7 months ago

Great running trail. Light traffic consisted of a couple hikers and a couple bikers. If you haven't been before be sure to leave yourself plenty of daylight or bring lights. My run turned out to be just over 15 miles due to a few wrong turns... oops. I'll be going back again for sure.

I hiked the Matson Hill Trail CCW on the afternoon of Monday, July 23rd. I didn't hike the entire trail but instead did a lollipop excluding its southwest quadrant.

My GPS shows that I traveled 2.98 miles in 1 hour and 26 minutes. This was a leisurely pace as I wanted to enjoy the woodland beauty of the trail and take some pictures.

The St Charles County Parks map that I was using shows that the Matson Hill Loop is 2.8 miles so that also must exclude the part I skipped.

There aren't any real scenic highlights on the trail. However, the woodland area that it covers is nice. The trail itself is well packed and fairly wide so I never had to brush up against undergrowth that might be carrying ticks.

I only ran into one other couple during my hike and they were going the opposite direction. It just so happened that it was right at the only unmarked fork. If I had stayed on the more traveled path (right) that would have completed the entire Loop.

However, by turning onto the less travelled path (left) that completed the top "circle" section of the lollipop and led back to the trailhead via the "stick" section of the trail. Thanks, guys, for pointing me in that direction.

I might add that I went downhill for the first 20 to 30 minutes so you must take in consideration that you'll need to regain all that elevation. But with all the switchbacks, that is not very difficult.

I definitely plan to do more of this group of trails again in the fall when it's a bit cooler. FYI, there is a porta potty at the trailhead.

trail running
8 months ago

I love this trail. Some good variety in the terrain between dirt and some fairly technical rocky stuff. Lots of hills. CW leaves you with some pretty tough climbing at the end of the loop. Also, know that, if you’re the first person on the trail, you’re going to eat about a million spiders.

mountain biking
8 months ago

love this trail.

Very boring besides a couple waterways, you should really just bike it instead of hiking it. Lots of bugs. Better off going somewhere else.

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