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Fort Bella Fontaine Trail

Intermediate
 4.3 (6)

A gravel loop with a scenic prairie, historic ruins, and views of the Missouri River.


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Map Key

2.8

Miles

4.5

KM

98%

Runnable

517' 158 m

High

447' 136 m

Low

174' 53 m

Up

173' 53 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

10%

Max Grade (6°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Description

After entering the park and checking in at the security hut, the trail can be accessed on the first road on the left after the main entrance park road. Interpretive signs are placed along the 3 mile trail providing natural history as well as a history lesson for the trail user.

Fort Belle Fontaine Trail is a gravel loop trail. The trail starts along the 35 acre re-constructed grass prairie where you can enjoy the view of the prairie from after climbing the first small knoll on the trail. From this high point, the trail next descends to the sinkhole marsh. This natural depression was enhanced to create a shallow wetland.

After a rather steep descent to the Coldwater Creek Valley, you'll come across some of the old ruins from the recreation days of the 1930s. Unfortunately Coldwater Creek, an urban stream that has a watershed consisting of over 46 square miles, has suffered from industrial pollution.

Continuing on the trail, there are some great views of the creek which is one of the larger creeks in the County. The exposed bedrock and the creek riffles remind the runner of a stream from the Ozarks. In many areas, the creek has worn away the bedrock, exposing the various layers of limestone and shale. At the mouth of the creek, you'll find the spring written about by Lewis & Clark.

Along the trail, there are some other ruins from the 1930s including bath houses, patio, picnic sites, and comfort stations. One of the last ruins to see is the Grand Staircase. The staircase was built by the WPA and has been repaired over the years by the Parks Department. This last section of trail does provide access to the Missouri River for fishing or just watching the river flow by. As you climb up from the river valley, you'll pass some additional stone walls on the right. At the top of the hill, follow the road back around to the start of the trail at the parking lot.

Contacts

Shared By:

St. Louis County Parks

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 6 votes

#6928

Overall
  4.3 from 6 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
67%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#177

in Missouri

#6,928

Overall
51 Views Last Month
485 Since Dec 2, 2015
Intermediate

17%
17%
67%
0%
0%
0%

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