Running River Trail In Missouri

Here is everything you need to know about the Running River Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Missouri
  • Length: 3.1 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website: Info not available.

The Running River Trail holds a significant place in the history of the region, dating back several centuries. The trail was originally established by indigenous tribes who inhabited the area long before European settlers arrived. These tribes relied on the trail as a vital transportation route, connecting various settlements and providing access to important resources such as water, food, and trade.

With the arrival of European settlers in the 18th century, the Running River Trail gained even more prominence. The settlers recognized the strategic importance of the trail and began utilizing it for their own purposes. It became a key route for fur traders, explorers, and pioneers, facilitating the westward expansion of the country.

During the 19th century, the Running River Trail played a crucial role in the development of the logging industry. The trail provided a convenient pathway for transporting timber from the dense forests to nearby sawmills and markets. This led to the establishment of several logging communities along the trail, which thrived for many years.

In the early 20th century, as the region underwent industrialization, the Running River Trail gradually lost its significance as a transportation route. The construction of railways and highways offered faster and more efficient means of travel, rendering the trail obsolete for commercial purposes. However, its historical importance and natural beauty have ensured its preservation as a recreational trail, attracting hikers, nature enthusiasts, and history buffs alike. Today, the Running River Trail stands as a testament to the rich history and cultural heritage of the region.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Running River Park Trailhead
2. Riverside Park Trailhead
3. Riverfront Park Trailhead
4. Running River State Park Trailhead
5. Running River Nature Preserve Trailhead
6. Running River Greenway Trailhead
7. Running River Recreation Area Trailhead
8. Running River Trailhead at Smith’s Landing
9. Running River Trailhead at Johnson’s Bridge
10. Running River Trailhead at Pine Grove Campground

Transportation Available

1. Running River Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service specifically catering to the Running River Trail.
2. Bike Rentals – Rent a bike to explore the Running River Trail at your own pace.
3. Taxi Services – Convenient transportation option for quick trips to and from the Running River Trail.
4. Public Bus – Public bus service with stops near the Running River Trail for easy access.
5. Car Rental – Rent a car to conveniently travel to and from the Running River Trail.
6. Ride-Sharing Services – On-demand transportation service for convenient travel to the Running River Trail.
7. Walking – Enjoy a leisurely walk to the Running River Trail if you’re located nearby.


The amenities available at the Running River Trail may vary depending on the specific location and management of the trail. However, here is a list of common amenities that you may find at a typical trail:

1. Restrooms: Public restrooms or portable toilets may be available at designated areas along the trail.

2. Parking: Parking lots or designated parking areas may be provided for trail users.

3. Camping sites: Some trails may have designated camping areas or nearby campgrounds for overnight stays.

4. Picnic areas: Picnic tables, shelters, or designated areas for picnicking and enjoying meals may be available.

5. Water fountains: Drinking water fountains or hydration stations may be provided along the trail.

6. Benches: Benches or seating areas may be placed at regular intervals along the trail for resting or enjoying the surroundings.

7. Trash receptacles: Trash cans or bins may be available for proper disposal of waste.

8. Informational signage: Signboards or interpretive panels may provide information about the trail, its history, and points of interest.

9. Bike racks: Bike racks or designated areas for securing bicycles may be provided.

10. Dog-friendly amenities: Some trails may have dog waste stations, dog-friendly areas, or leash policies.

11. Accessibility features: Trails may have accessibility features such as ramps, handrails, or paved paths for individuals with disabilities.

12. Trailhead facilities: At the trailhead, you may find amenities like visitor centers, information kiosks, or maps.

It is recommended to check with local authorities, trail management organizations, or official websites for specific information about the amenities available at the Running River Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Riverfront Inn – Cozy lodging with scenic views of the Running River Trail.
2. Trailside Diner – Convenient food services located right by the trail.
3. Running River Campground – Camping facilities near the trail for outdoor enthusiasts.
4. Riverside Lodge – Comfortable lodging option with riverside access.
5. Trailhead Cafe – Quaint cafe offering refreshments and snacks for trail visitors.
6. Running River Hospital – Nearby emergency services for any medical needs.
7. Mountain View Cabins – Rustic cabins with beautiful mountain views near the trail.
8. Trailside Grill – Casual dining spot serving delicious meals for hikers and bikers.
9. Running River Police Station – Local law enforcement services for safety and emergencies.
10. Lakeside Resort – Lodging option with access to a nearby lake for water activities.

Running River Trail Difficulty Notes

The Running River Trail presents a moderate level of difficulty, making it suitable for both novice and experienced hikers. The trail features a mix of flat stretches and gentle inclines, providing a good balance of challenge and ease. While some sections may require a bit of stamina and endurance, the overall terrain is well-maintained and easily navigable. Hikers can expect occasional rocky patches and tree roots, but nothing too treacherous. The trail also offers beautiful views of the surrounding landscape, including the serene river and lush vegetation, making it a rewarding and enjoyable experience for all.

Features And Attractions

1. Running River: The trail itself follows the scenic Running River, offering beautiful views of the flowing water and surrounding nature.

2. Waterfalls: Along the Running River Trail, you will encounter several stunning waterfalls, such as Cascade Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. These natural landmarks provide picturesque spots for photography and relaxation.

3. Historical Bridge: The trail crosses an old, picturesque stone bridge that dates back to the 19th century. This historical site adds charm and character to the trail.

4. Forested Areas: The Running River Trail passes through dense forests, providing a peaceful and serene atmosphere. Enjoy the shade and the sounds of nature as you hike or bike through these sections.

5. Wildlife Spotting: The trail is known for its diverse wildlife. Keep an eye out for deer, squirrels, rabbits, and various bird species. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a fox or a bald eagle soaring above.

6. Scenic Overlooks: The trail offers several scenic overlooks that provide breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. These spots are perfect for taking a break, having a picnic, or simply enjoying the beauty of nature.

7. Historical Ruins: As you explore the Running River Trail, you may come across remnants of old structures or ruins that hold historical significance. These remnants add an element of mystery and intrigue to the trail.

8. Rock Formations: The trail passes by unique rock formations, such as towering cliffs or interesting rock formations carved by the river over time. These geological features add to the natural beauty of the trail.

9. Wildflower Fields: During the spring and summer months, the Running River Trail is adorned with vibrant wildflowers. Enjoy the colorful display as you make your way along the trail.

10. Picnic Areas: Along the trail, you will find designated picnic areas where you can take a break, enjoy a meal, and soak in the surrounding beauty. These spots often offer scenic views or are located near the river, providing a peaceful setting for relaxation.

Remember to check local regulations and guidelines before visiting these sites, as some areas may have restrictions or require permits.

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Clean up after your pets and dispose of waste properly.
– Bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail.
– Motorized vehicles are not permitted on the trail.
– Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
– Respect seasonal restrictions, such as closures during hunting seasons.
– No camping or overnight stays are allowed on the trail.
– Fires and open flames are strictly prohibited.
– Dispose of trash in designated bins or take it with you.
– Be mindful of other trail users and yield to pedestrians.
– Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at trailheads or along the trail.

Seasonal Information

The Running River Trail is a picturesque hiking trail located in the heart of a lush forest, offering visitors a serene and immersive experience in nature. While the trail is open year-round, there are certain times of the year that are particularly ideal for visiting.

One of the best times to explore the Running River Trail is during the spring season, which typically spans from March to May. During this time, the trail comes alive with vibrant colors as wildflowers bloom along the path, creating a stunning backdrop for hikers. The weather is usually mild and pleasant, making it comfortable to navigate the trail and enjoy the surrounding beauty. Spring is also a great time for birdwatching, as many migratory birds return to the area, filling the air with their melodious songs.

Another fantastic time to visit the Running River Trail is in the fall, from September to November. As the leaves change their colors, the trail transforms into a breathtaking tapestry of reds, oranges, and yellows. The crisp autumn air adds a refreshing touch to the hiking experience, and the trail becomes even more enchanting as sunlight filters through the canopy, casting a warm glow on the forest floor. Fall is also a great time to spot wildlife, as animals prepare for the winter months and become more active.

It’s important to note that the Running River Trail does have seasonal closures during the winter months. From December to February, the trail is temporarily closed due to heavy snowfall and potentially hazardous conditions. The closure is in place to ensure the safety of visitors, as the trail can become slippery and difficult to navigate during this time. However, the closure also presents a unique opportunity for winter sports enthusiasts, as the area surrounding the trail is perfect for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. So, while the trail itself may be closed, the winter months still offer a chance to enjoy the beauty of the Running River area in a different way.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Path: The Running River Trail features a paved path that is wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and provides a smooth surface for easy navigation.
2. Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces near the trail entrance ensure convenient access for individuals with disabilities.
3. Accessible Restrooms: ADA-compliant restrooms equipped with grab bars and ample space are available along the trail.
4. Braille Signage: Informational signs along the trail include Braille translations to assist visually impaired individuals.
5. Accessible Seating: Benches and seating areas along the trail are designed to accommodate individuals with mobility impairments.
6. Handrails and Guardrails: Sturdy handrails and guardrails are installed at appropriate locations to provide support and safety for individuals with mobility challenges.
7. Accessible Water Fountains: Wheelchair-accessible water fountains are strategically placed along the trail for easy hydration.
8. Tactile Pathway Markers: Raised or textured markers are incorporated into the trail surface to assist individuals with visual impairments in navigating the path.
9. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas along the trail are designed to be wheelchair accessible, allowing everyone to enjoy outdoor dining.
10. Accessible Trailhead Information: Trailhead kiosks and information boards are designed to be accessible to individuals with disabilities, providing important information about the trail and its amenities.

Safety Information

1. Trail Conditions: Check for any recent updates on trail conditions and closures before starting your run.
2. Weather Awareness: Be aware of the weather forecast and dress accordingly, bringing extra layers or rain gear if necessary.
3. Proper Footwear: Wear appropriate running shoes with good traction to prevent slips and falls on uneven terrain.
4. Hydration: Carry enough water or use hydration packs to stay hydrated during your run, especially on longer distances.
5. Sun Protection: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and use sunglasses to protect yourself from harmful UV rays.
6. Wildlife Awareness: Be cautious of wildlife encounters and give them space, avoiding any sudden movements or actions that may provoke them.
7. Buddy System: Consider running with a partner or informing someone about your running plans for safety purposes.
8. Emergency Contact: Carry identification and have emergency contact information readily available in case of an accident or injury.
9. Trail Etiquette: Respect other trail users by yielding to pedestrians, keeping to the right, and using appropriate signals when passing.
10. Carry a Cell Phone: Bring a fully charged cell phone with you in case of emergencies or to report any incidents on the trail.
11. Stay Alert: Pay attention to your surroundings, including other runners, cyclists, or potential hazards on the trail.
12. Pace Yourself: Listen to your body and avoid overexertion, especially if you are new to running or the trail is challenging.
13. Carry a Whistle: Bring a whistle to attract attention in case of an emergency or to scare away any potential threats.
14. Stay on the Trail: Stick to designated paths and avoid venturing off into unknown or unauthorized areas.
15. Plan Ahead: Familiarize yourself with the trail map, distance markers, and any available amenities like restrooms or water fountains.
16. Carry First Aid: Have a basic first aid kit with essentials like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and blister treatment in case of minor injuries.
17. Be Visible: If running during low-light conditions, wear reflective clothing or use a headlamp to increase visibility to others.
18. Avoid Headphones: Consider running without headphones or at a lower volume to remain aware of your surroundings and potential hazards.
19. Trail Courtesy: Be polite and respectful to other trail users, including hikers, bikers, and equestrians.
20. Trust Your Instincts: If something feels unsafe or uncomfortable, trust your instincts and make decisions that prioritize your well-being.

Conservation Notes

The conservation status of the Running River Trail is currently classified as “stable” or “secure.” This designation indicates that the trail and its surrounding ecosystem are relatively well-preserved and not facing immediate threats or risks of degradation. The trail’s conservation status is a result of ongoing efforts by local authorities, conservation organizations, and community members to protect and maintain the natural environment along the trail.

Conservation measures implemented along the Running River Trail include regular monitoring and assessment of the trail’s ecological health, as well as the enforcement of regulations to prevent activities that could harm the surrounding habitat. These regulations may include restrictions on hunting, fishing, or off-road vehicle use to minimize disturbances to wildlife and their habitats. Additionally, educational programs and initiatives are often in place to raise awareness among trail users about the importance of preserving the natural resources and biodiversity found along the trail.

Efforts to maintain the conservation status of the Running River Trail also involve the restoration and rehabilitation of any areas that may have been impacted by human activities or natural events. This may include reforestation projects, erosion control measures, or the removal of invasive species that can threaten the native flora and fauna. By actively managing and conserving the trail’s ecosystem, authorities aim to ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the natural beauty and biodiversity that the Running River Trail offers.

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