Getting out into nature is one of the best ways to nourish your soul. Between the nutrient-rich sunshine, the sounds of the birds singing, and the fresh air, heading off the beaten path is like a physical and mental reset. Not to mention, getting outside can be a great way to have fun with your friends and family.
For many, off-roading is the activity of choice for exploring new places and spending time with loved ones. If you're in Farmington, you might be wondering what the best off-road trails are. That's why we've put together our list of top picks for off-road parks in this area. Read on to get ready for your next adventure.
St. Joe State Park
One most popular off-roading vehicle (ORV) parks in the Midwest, St. Joe State Park is a premier destination for all things off-road. Along with trails that meander through forested woods and acres of sand flats, you'll also get access to two shady campgrounds right by the driving area. This exciting park also offers multiple lakes, swimming beaches, equestrian areas, hiking and bicycling trails, and picnic sites.
Naturally, the campgrounds are accommodating to campers with ORV or horse trailers. Because of the high demand for campsites, it's best to make reservations in advance. Keep in mind that facilities are for overnight guests only. Rates vary by season and campground, so be sure to check online for camping rates, reservation fees, and special discounts available. Right now, on-season camping rates for St. Joe State Park range from $13 to $48.
To purchase a same-day off-roading permit online, create or login to an account on the Missouri State Parks website. Go to the "Permits" page on the website to find $5 motorcycle and ATV permits or $10 UTV, 4x4, or dune buggy permits. For those with unlicensed ORVs that are not allowed on park roads, there's a dedicated trail running from the campground to the main driving area. Make sure to study the regulations on your permit. It's also important to view the park and camping rules online.
Finger Lakes State Park
For those looking for a challenge, Finger Lakes State Park might just be the perfect place for you. Constructed on a former coal mine, this beloved Missouri ORV state park features rough terrain, steep hills, and deep ravines that can test the abilities of even the most advanced of off-roaders. You'll even get to try a one-of-a-kind motocross track, specially designed by professional riders. As this path is the venue for all kinds of annual motocross and motorcycle races, it could act as the perfect training ground for those looking to enhance their skills.
The process for getting a permit for Finger Lakes State Park is the same as the one for St. Joe State Park. Just head to the MO State Park website to sign up online and make your payments before you arrive. Make sure to present your paper or electronic permit at the park office upon arrival and keep it with you at all times while you ride. The park also offers basic and electric campsites. Make a reservation and check the camping rates online. Prices vary from $12 to $25 based on the season.
You might also be interested in exploring one of the many walking, bicycling, and biking trails available on this gorgeous property. Try the 2.75-mile Kelley Branch Mountain Bike Trail, for example, and travel along the green, wooded hills by a stream. In addition to a picture-perfect waterfall, you'll also get to feast your eyes on the ruins of an old coal mining bridge. Keep an eye out for deer and beavers. You could also canoe or kayak on the Finger Lakes State Park Water Trail to soak in the beauty of Peabody Lake from a close-up view.
Rock Bridge Memorial State Park
Featuring some of the most famous hiking trails in Missouri, Rock Bridge Memorial State Park is a haven for hikers, bicyclists, and nature lovers of all kinds. While there's nothing quite like the feeling of getting lost in a hidden world of babbling brooks and flora and fauna, the detailed trail information on the MO State Parks website is there to guide you every step of the way. Review the distances and maps for the many trail opportunities so you can plan a perfect day trip.
Beginners might want to try a path like the Devil's Icebox Trail, a half-mile boardwalk with stairs and viewing platforms. This will take you through amazing geological structures like a 63-foot high natural tunnel, "the Rockbridge," and the double sinkhole entrance that gives this trail its name. The Spring Brook Trail might make you feel as if you're in a fairytale. With elegant maple and sycamore trees, winding woods, flowing streams, and wide-open fields, this woodland path is sure to inspire any travelers that pass through this way.
Katy Trail State Park
Erected on what used to be a corridor of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, this history-rich park is a whopping 240 miles long with 26 different trailheads and four restored railroad depots to view. As you can probably believe, Katy Trail State Park is the longest rail-trail park in the country. There's even a section that's part of the official Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. This organic heaven is a perfect locale for walkers, bicyclists, and even equestrians.
Roam through the beautiful scenery while following close to the Missouri River. You'll even get to stroll through some small towns, once-thriving railroad villages, that still resonate with vibrant Missouri heritage. Make sure to stop by the plaques along the trail to learn interesting facts about the area.
Whether you're on a motorized vehicle, horse, bicycle, skateboard, or your own two feet, there are clearly plenty of parks in Missouri.
After reading this list, we hope you're itching to get outside and go off-roading. And we want to know what you think. Have you visited any of these Missouri parks? What are your favorite trails and green spaces in Farmington? Let us know or give us a call at 573-747-4888.