Hikes & Trails

Shaw Nature Reserve Trail Map
   
There are 14 miles of hiking trails, and with the help of the trail map a visitor can choose a short stroll or hikes of several miles.

Hikes from the Visitor Center
Hikes from the Trail House
Hikes from the Bus Stop
One Mile Hikes

Planning to run? For your convenience we've mapped out 4 routes to make sure you have an enjoyable time on your run.
Download mileage, water stops, restroom locations, and elevation.
Hikes from the Visitor Center

Park at the VISITOR CENTER
Located at the main entrance, the Visitor Center offers helpful information and trail maps. A selection of books on natural history, ecology, and botany is available for sale. A picnic area is close by.

A five-minute walk to the NATURE EXPLORE CLASSROOM
Located near the Visitor Center, this area focuses on connecting young children with nature during unstructured play. Climb through logs, build with wooden blocks, create music with a marimba or make artistic creations using plant material, stone and seed pods.

Wander around the many trails in the PINETUM
“Pinetum” (pie-NEE-tum) means a collection of conifers; in this case pines, spruce, fir and bald cypress planted at the Reserve in the 1930s and 1940s in a 50-acre rolling meadow surrounding a two-acre lake. Thousands of daffodils bloom in the meadows each spring.

Adjacent to the Pinetum is the WOLF RUN TRAIL
The parking area east of Pinetum Lake marks the beginning of this one-mile loop. Wolf Run Lake is a refreshing midway resting spot.

BASCOM HOUSE is 3/4 of a mile from the Visitor Center
Built in 1879, the house is open to the public. There is additional parking, picnic shelters, and restrooms next to the Bascom House.

Behind the Bascom House is the QUAIL INTERPRETIVE TRAIL
The 1/2-mile Quail Interpretive Trail is a collaborative project between Shaw Nature Reserve, Missouri Department of Conservation and Quail Limited. Visitors can observe how specific management practices improve quail habitat and benefit other grassland birds and wildlife in general.

Around the Bascom House spreads the WHITMIRE WILDFLOWER GARDEN
Located adjacent to the Bascom House, the five-acre Whitmire Wildflower Garden highlights the beauty of Missouri native plants. Visitors can observe native perennials, vines, grasses, aquatic plants, shrubs and flower trees and gain insight on how to use them in their home gardens. Interpretive map brochures are available in the garden.

Below the garden join the BRUSH CREEK TRAIL
This 3⁄4-mile trail originates at the spillway of Pinetum Lake and is the shortest route to the Maritz Trail House, passing by the Whitmire Wildflower Garden, over Brush Creek, and through the prairie. A booklet available in the Visitor Center provides information on 18 native trees labeled along the trail.

If headed to the Bus Stop take the PRAIRIE TRAIL
Branching off Brush Creek Trail, this trail meanders for 3⁄4 mile through the prairie ending at the wetland parking area near the historic stone “bus stop.” An observation deck at the crest of the hill provides hikers a panoramic view of the prairie.

Continue along Brush Creek Trail to the MARITZ TRAIL HOUSE

Hikes from the Trail House

Park at the MARITZ TRAIL HOUSE
The starting point for the woodland trail system, trails departing here lead visitors through glades, upland and bottomland forests, and provide access to the Meramec River. Restrooms, drinking water and a sheltered picnic area are available.

Hike toward the Visitor Center using the BRUSH CREEK TRAIL
This 3⁄4-mile trail terminates at the spillway of Pinetum Lake and is the shortest route across Shaw Nature Reserve, passing through the prairie, past the Sod House, over Brush Creek, and by the Whitmire Wildflower Garden. A booklet available in the Visitor Center provides information on 18 native trees labeled along the trail.

Within view of the Trail House is the SOD HOUSE
The sod house, built by Shaw Nature Reserve staff and volunteers, provides a first-hand glimpse into the lives of the early settlers who staked out claims on the Great Plains in the mid to late 1800s. Although not authentic to this part of Missouri, sod houses were once common on the treeless prairies further west. The sod house is located 2⁄3 mile from the Bascom House along Brush Creek Trail.

Hike to the Bus Stop using the PRAIRIE TRAIL
Branching off Brush Creek Trail, this trail meanders for 3⁄4 mile through the prairie, ending at the wetland parking area near the historic stone “bus stop.” An observation deck at the crest of the hill provides hikers a panoramic view of the prairie.

From the Trail House parking lot you can find the CRESCENT KNOLL OVERLOOK
A short distance west of the Maritz Trail House (indicated by signs), this rustic shelter is equipped with a viewing scope overlooking the panoramic view of the Meramec River Valley. 

To hike to the river take the RUS GODDARD RIVER TRAIL (BLUE MARKERS)
Originating at the Maritz Trail House, this 2 1⁄2-mile loop trail is steep at times, passing through the state-designated Natural Area on the way to a large gravel bar on the Meramec River. The trail is named in honor of the esteemed volunteer who maintained the Reserve’s trail system for over 20 years.

A hike to the river will take you through the SHAW BOTTOMLAND FOREST STATE NATURAL AREA
The natural area comprises 146 acres of bottomland forest, gravel bar, and river channel, including the best remaining regional representative of “oak-dominated bottomland forest,” once common along the Meramec River.

If you are looking for flowers hike the WILDFLOWER TRAIL (RED MARKERS)
This 3/4-mile loop trail originates at the Maritz Trail House and winds through upland woods noted for its diversity of spring wildflowers. The boardwalk near the trail head provides sweeping views of one of the Reserve’s largest glades. The trail also passes through Long Glade and along a sandstone bluff skirting the edge of the Meramec River flood plain.

For a short, easy walk take the BLUFF OVERLOOK TRAIL (GREEN MARKERS)
The first portion of this trail (3⁄4 mile from the Trail House to the bluff overlook and back) can be hiked as a pleasant and gently sloping loop. It passes through upland oak-hickory forest and a dolomite glade. From the bluff overlook hikers can continue on a steeper side spur down to the flood plain where it intersects the Rus Goddard River Trail.  Another spur connects to the Prairie Trail.

Continue along the trails to the GARDENWAY BUS STOP

Hikes from the Gardenway Bus Stop

Park at the HENRY SHAW GARDENWAY BUS STOP
Built in 1939 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, this rustic stone structure was designed by the National Parks Service and moved to the Reserve in 2002. A welcome respite and water fountain for guests hiking the prairie and wetland trails.

Hike around our wetlands on the WETLAND TRAIL
This one-mile loop trail begins at the wetland parking area along the eastern side of the Trail House Loop Road. An elevated observation blind and viewing scope offer opportunities to observe wetland plants and animals, as does a 300-foot boardwalk. An informative Wetland Trail booklet designed for use with children is available in the Visitor Center for a nominal fee.

A short walk down the loop road will take you to the SERPENTINE WALL
Patterned after the serpentine brick walls designed by Thomas Jefferson for the University of Virginia, this wall was built in 1946 to provide a windbreak for a now defunct boxwood garden.

From the Serpentine Wall take WOLF RUN TRAIL back to the Visitor Center
This one-mile loop connects the Pinetum and Serpentine Wall. Wolf Run Lake is a refreshing midway resting spot.

From the Bus Stop hike the PRAIRIE TRAIL back to Brush Creek Trail
This trail meanders for 3⁄4 mile through the prairie beginning at the wetland parking area near the historic stone “bus stop.” It terminates by branching onto Brush Creek Trail. An observation deck at the crest of the hill provides hikers a panoramic view of the prairie.

The Prairie Trail also connects to the BLUFF OVERLOOK TRAIL (GREEN MARKERS) and the Trail House
The first portion of this trail (3⁄4 mile from the Trail House to the bluff overlook and back) can be hiked as a pleasant and gently sloping loop. It passes through upland oak-hickory forest and a dolomite glade. From the bluff overlook hikers can continue on a steeper side spur down to the flood plain where it intersects the Rus Goddard River Trail.

Walks of about a mile

Walks of about a mile from Whitmire Wildflower Garden, Bascom House and Pinetum Lake areas from parking areas that are accessible by car every day.

The walk around Pinetum Lake on the road is about 3/4 of a mile. 

Wolf Run Trail is approximately a one-mile round-trip loop from the Pinetum Lake parking (on east side of lake) and back.

The sod house and teepee in the prairie are also about a one-mile round trip from the Whitmire Wildflower Garden via Brush Creek Trail and back.

There are 14 miles of hiking trails, and with the help of the trail map a visitor can choose a short stroll or hikes of several miles.  There are many excellent places to hike.

If you are interested in running we have mapped out several runs including a mile route that includes information on where water and bathroom spots are located.