I know I’ve mentioned in a few other posts about my visits to Castlewood, but I am full on declaring my love for it in this one.
But first a story…A couple years ago, I was getting burnt out on road running during my 12 Races in 12 Months goal and needed a change. When I learned about the trail race, The Skippo, at Castlewood State Park I immediately signed up. You pick between doing a 10K, 20K or 30K distance. Being a noob to trail races, I opted for the 10K.
I drove out to Castlewood for the first time (by myself) and had no idea where I was going or what trail to even start on. Thankfully, there were a couple other seasoned trail runners heading out at the same time and let me join them. They filled me on the the few trails that could be accessed from where we started and some “rules” of the park. (Mountain bikers always have the right-of-way.) I ran about 2.5 miles with these two other runners before we parted onto different trails (they were going out for a 10 mile run), but I felt this camaraderie I hadn’t felt with other runners before. They let this lost (literally) stranger join them and taught me a few things. It was pretty sweet.
Anyway, by the end of 3.5 mile run I was hooked. Being outside, the various terrain, and the views were awesome. The park is lovely year round, even during the winter. It’s hard for me to not stop and take pictures every so often while I’m out there! I haven’t explored the other half of Castlewood (my next goal), but the three main trails I do are enough to keep me coming back.
• The River Scene trail is a favorite because of the awesome views. I start out flat along the river and climb up the 200 steps. This one is probably the most popular with people—especially those with dogs.
• The Lone Wolf trail connects to the River Scene trail and is a fairly easy trail with some switchbacks. This trail seems popular with mountain bikers.
• The Grotpeter trail is great because the various terrain. You can either connect from the Lone Wolf trail by crossing the creek or start flat at the trailhead before climbing up a hill followed by switchbacks later on. I love this one because I rarely see runners on it, but will almost always encounter mountain bikers and horse every once in a while.
I’m not getting out there right now as much as I’d like due to an injury from the half marathon last month, but hopefully my knee and the weather cooperates enough for me to make it out there in December. There’s some hidden gems throughout the park that remind you of the history before it became a state park—a resort and party area for locals of all things!
My sister said it best the one time I took here there…”I can believe there’s a place like this in St. Louis.” It is pretty awesome.