Castlewood State Park is a favorite destination for outdoor enthusiasts in the St. Louis area. The park offers many amenities for visitors, including beautiful panoramic views from the bluffs high above the Meramec River.
Location and Hours
Castlewood State Park is located on nearly 2,000 acres along the Meramec River in Ballwin. To get to the park from St. Louis, take I-44 west to Highwy 141 at Valley Park. Go north on 141 to Big Bend. Go left onto Big Bend, then left again onto Reis Road to the entrance to the park. Castlewood State Park is open daily from 7 a.m. until 30 minutes after sunset.
Hiking, Biking and Riding
Castlewood State Park is a popular place for hiking, biking and horseback riding. The park has eight trails of various lengths and difficulty levels. For the best views, hike the River Scene Trail or Lone Wolf Trail. Both of these trails begin with a steep climb to the top of the river bluffs. From the top, you can see the Meramec River Valley stretching out some 200 feet below.
The River Scene Trail is a little more than three miles long. The first mile follows along the top of the river bluffs. Then, it goes down into the river valley for the remaining two miles. The Lone Wolf Trail is a shorter 1.5 mile loop that descends from the bluffs back to the trailhead. For more information on all of the trails, including which ones allow horseback riding, see the Castlewood State Park website.
Playground and Picnics
The park also caters to families. There is a playground near the park office and parking lots. For those who want to picnic, there are 50 small sites throughout the park. Each site has a picnic table and a charcoal grill. Larger groups can rent one of the two picnic shelters near the playground. The picnic shelters have bar-b-que grills, water fountains and bathrooms.
On the Water
For those who enjoy the water, the park has a ramp for accessing the Meramec River at Kiefer Creek Road. The access is for small jon boats, kayaks and canoes. Fishing is allowed near the access ramp and also at several different locations along the River Scene, Stinging Nettle and Al Foster trails. There are no designated swimming areas at Castlewood Park.
World Bird Sanctuary
Castlewood State Park is next to another popular St. Louis area attraction. The World Bird Sanctuary, one of the top free attractions in St. Louis, is located just south of the park. The sanctuary cares for injured bald eagles, falcons, owls and other birds of prey. It is open to the public daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.