Although Missouri is known for having the longest continuous rails-to-trails bike path in the country (the Katy Trail covers some 250 miles) it also features plenty of excellent single track as well. You just might have to drive a bit to get to them as the best trails are spread far apart.
There are clusters of excellent mountain biking trails around the state’s biggest metropolitan areas of Kansas City and St. Louis. In the western part of the state, Kansas City features the uber-popular Blue River Parkway, with its flowy and technical terrain, and Wudchuk Run, which offers some challenging climbs..
St. Louis, on the other side of the state, features Chubb Trail, which is technical with plenty of rocks and roots. Although Missouri doesn’t feature any IMBA Epics, south of St. Louis is a former IMBA Epic; the Berryman Trail, which features climbs, descents, and creek crossings.
The Ozark Mountains make up most of the southern half of the state, making it an excellent location for mountain biking. It’s there that you’ll find one of Missouri’s best trails; Two Rivers, which features a nice mix of climbs, rollers, and descents.
Here are 10 of the best mountain bike trails in Missouri.
1. Two Rivers Bike Park West Loop, Nixa
Situated among the tough terrain of the Ozarks, Two Rivers Bike park is a purpose-built MTB destination. A network of trails form the full loop strewn across 400 acres of countryside, but of these, the West Loop is the main attraction.
It offers a variety of terrain packed with different challenges including brief technical climbs, log rides, rapid flowy descents, switchbacks, and smooth rollers. It’s nearly seven miles can be ridden clockwise or counterclockwise, with something new to be discovered every time.
Mostly hard-pack soil and stone singletrack, the route goes through open grassland and shady woods. After rolling through the grab bag of natural features, the trail winds down with a rapid rewarding descent to the trailhead.
2. Lost Valley Trail, Weldon Spring
Lost Valley is one of the best-loved MTB trails in Missouri, popular for the skill needed to ride it and the array of natural features along its length. Located in the forested countryside west of St. Louis, it kicks off with a simple fire route section before passing into rocky singletrack.
Apart from occasional doubletrack sections, riders can expect some fun climbs, technical areas, and several creek crossings.
There are lots of flowy sections in hardwood forest where speed can be built up to glide over stony areas, which will require some caution to navigate successfully. The rocks along this trail are sharp, so stay off the saddle when riding through the rock patches.
3. Krug Park, St. Joseph
Krug Park is a blend of well-worn older footpaths with some carefully designed newer sections, resulting in an extensive loop that’s sure to satisfy fans of cross country riding.
Consisting of an arrangement of tightly twisting switchbacks, it starts off with breezy downhill singletrack before turning into a climb to the treeline.
From there, the path goes through a series of small climbs, with lots of roots along the way providing obstacles. Several bridges will be crossed before coming to the midway point, after which there are several big climbs.
Past a few more bridges, there’s plenty of rolling trail left, some of it across planks and through close-packed trees. More steep climbs and bowl-like depressions cap the trail off before dropping you back where you started.
4. Chubb Trail, Eureka
Not for the faint of heart, Chubb Trail is a strenuous out-and-back route which can be entered from one of two trailheads at West Tyson Park or Lone Elk Park.
The West Tyson end is much more technical, with stony ground and roots scattered along a difficult climb followed by a steep downhill. From the Lone Elk side, a less challenging hill marks the start.
Between both initial hilly sections, the trail is largely flat singletrack parallel to the Meramec River. The path leads through woodlands and several restored areas of prairie grass. Several points are perfect for photos, especially past the halfway point to West Tyson.
Reaching the end at West Tyson, a connector route leads to the nearby Flint Quarry Trail where local Native Americans once mined flint for arrowheads.
5. Wudchuk Run, Raytown
Part of the Swope Park Mountain Bike trail system, Wudchuk Run features plenty of fast flows, technical obstacles, drops, gaps, and log rides.
One of the prime attractions at Swope Park, the difficulty in completing it lies more in the skill needed to negotiate its technicals than in endurance.
The trail is clear-cut singletrack with a moderate elevation gain. Along with a few short, sharp climbs, there are several branching trails leading to big drops for more advanced riders. Wudchuk Run is multi-use, so care will need to be taken to avoid hikers and horseback riders.
Some outstanding natural scenery can be seen here, including gnarled hardwood trees, stark boulders, and stunning wildflowers. There are also some old cabins and an abandoned pool along the way which make for great photo options.
6. Berryman Trail, Potosi
Riders who tackle this trail will see why it has coveted IMBA Epic ride status.
For over 20 years, Berryman has consistently ranked as one the best, if not the best, MTB trails in Missouri.
Much of the route is fairly straightforward with few technical portions. The main challenge is overcoming lengthy sustained climbs and picking through tough rocky patches. Located in Mark Twain National Forest, several park access roads intersect with the trail for those who need a break on some easier ground.
After toughing through two thirds of the climbs, riders can pause to rest at Brazil Creek Campground before moving on to the remainder, which features lots of long downhills.
7. Blue River Parkway, Grandview
Located outside of Kansas City, the Blue River Parkway is a web of trails which make up a tough, thrilling loop when ridden as a whole.
It’s packed with tricky rock technicals, deep drops, rock rollers, gaps, and jumps. In addition to a few modest hills, there are several even, flowing portions which can help to pick up speed and momentum.
At the north end, there are trails with lots of berms and downhills, while simpler singletrack rides in the southern half will appeal to beginners.
The Blue River parallels much of the lower network, and much of the route passes through thick forested areas. The trail heads are mostly to be found in the center of the network, so after completing one portion, a short connector along paved back roads can be ridden to access the remainder.
8. Stocksdale, Liberty
Ruth Stocksdale Park offers a fast, flowing trail with a healthy balance of climbs and descents. Easily accessed from Kansas City, the park is a fairly non-technical ride for those who want to session some moderately difficult loops.
With easy, flowing turns, vigorous climbs, rock gardens, boardwalks, and a handful of rock step-ups, the trail can be a demanding workout for beginners or a satisfying ride for advanced cyclists. There are several stream crossings that are usually dry enough to be forded with ease.
Caution is recommended for the wooded areas since many of the edge of the trees right up onto the trail and riders can easily clip a shoulder or a handlebar if they’re not paying attention.
9. Greensfelder County Park, Eureka
Greensfelder is the place to be for technical riding in the St. Louis area. The central attraction at Greensfelder Park, the County trail is distinguished by rough, steep climbs and tons of sizable rocks dotted along the way.
After a couple of initial logs and rock gardens, the trail gives way to smoother singletrack and numerous rock outcroppings which will present a tricky obstacle. Much of the rock at Greensfelder is dangerously sharp, so bring a puncture kit and some spare tubes.
Included in the route is DeClue, a loop notorious among locals for its difficulty. Several sections may have to be hiked, but there are walk-arounds included to make this a little easier. Other segments are faster and flowier.
10. River Trail, St. Joseph
A scenic ride through the Sunbridge Hills Conservation Area, the River Trail contains exceptional natural scenery and interesting manmade features.
Located just north of St. Joseph, the trail can be accessed through Krug Park, with which it was to be connected by a gigantic parkland a century ago, although the plan never got off the ground.
The terrain here is hilly and uncomplicated, paralleling the Missouri River along its entire length. Partway through, two stone structures intended to be part of the enlarged park can be seen after a steady climb to the area overlooking the river bluffs.
The bluffs are an excellent place to stop for views of the river and the lush woodlands on the opposite bank. The descent from this area is fast, tricky, and eroded, so it’s best ridden slowly.