When you want to get out and enjoy a bit of nature, but don't want to wander too far from home, consider making the trip to Powder Valley Nature Center in St. Louis County. Powder Valley is an 112-acre forest with a nice combination of outdoor attractions and modern amenities for visitors.
For other outdoor attractions in the St. Louis area, check out Shaw Nature Reserve or Longview Farm Park.
Location and Hours
Powder Valley Nature Center is located at 11715 Cragwold Road in Kirkwood. That's near the intersection of I-44 and Lindbergh Boulevard. To get there, take I-44 to the Lindbergh exit. Go south on Lindbergh to Watson Road. Exit onto Watson and go right to South Geyer Road. Turn right on South Geyer and then left on Cragwold. The entrance to Powder Valley on is the right about half a mile down Cragwold Road.
Powder Valley is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., during daylight saving time (spring, summer, and fall), and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during standard time (winter). It is closed on Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
One of the most popular activities at Powder Valley is hiking. There are three paved trails with varying levels of difficulty. The easiest is the Tanglevine Trail. It's flat and only 3/10 of a mile long. The Tanglevine Trail is disabled-accessible and also good for parents of young children who are pushing strollers. The two other trails, Hickory Ridge and Broken Ridge, are longer and have more hills. Hickory Ridge is the longest at just over a mile. It winds through the forest, across footbridges, and across a small stream.
Broken Ridge Trail offers a similar experience but is slightly shorter at about 3/4 of a mile. Both of the longer trails are good for a leisurely walk or a more strenuous cardiovascular workout.
The Visitor Center is also a popular destination at Powder Valley. The Visitor Center has two floors of exhibits including a bird watching area, a 3,000-gallon freshwater aquarium, live snakes and a live bee hive. There is also a two-story tree house and a children's room with puppets, games, and puzzles. The Visitor Center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
To learn even more about nature in Missouri, you can attend one of the many classes and programs offered at Powder Valley. Naturalists with the Missouri Department of Conservation teach about everything from discovering native plants and flowers, to the best ways to spot bald eagles and other birds of prey. Most of the classes are free. For more information and a complete schedule of events, see the Powder Valley Nature Center website.