Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. ~John Muir
Today I went on a stroll in one of my favorite places for trails in St. Louis, Queeny Park. I like Queeny because it’s so unique. It sits in the middle of West County, but it’s easy to completely escape the hustle and noise of the city and get lost in the trees among the trails. The park has a very varied topography, with many hills and valleys that make hiking more of a challenge, but also contributes to the fun. I hiked my normal route this time, which involves starting out on Hawk Ridge Trail at the top of the park but then working my way down the trails to basin-level, where a lake sits. This isn’t the longest route you can take (Queeny has the main trail that goes around the whole park, but many trails that cut in between it), but I enjoy walking along one particular stretch, so when I don’t have as much time to do the longer hike, it’s a good compromise.
The beginning of the trail is relatively flat, paved for a bit but then turns to gravel. It’s trees at first, and if you continue on the long Hawk Ridge Trail it will open up into a clearing where there are barrels and logs for horse training (Queeny used to house horses and you can still sometimes see people riding and training). There’s a gravel side trail that goes down the hill to the valley of the park, and that’s the one I took.
When you get down to the bottom, you can follow the trail either up the hill to reconnect with Hawk Ridge that runs around the edge of the park, or you can follow a dirt path that runs alongside an old horse pasture and the new dog park. This is my favorite part of the trail. One time I stayed out a bit too late and was walking it at dark and I swear I was in a scene from The Walking Dead. I’m talking imaginary zombies around every tree. Creepy, but it’s somehow still my favorite.
The horse pasture the trail runs along is pretty, and provides some nice photography options. It was nice to walk alongside the fence and contemplate a time when there were horses in the pasture. I know many still use this particular path as a horse trail.
Oh, and be sure not to feed the imaginary horses though, apparently management is strictly against that.
The path has several ways to exit back up to the parking lot areas, but if you continue to follow it around eventually you’ll end up by a small lake. I do not have a picture of the lake, so you’ll have to use your imagination. The end.