Water Trails in Missouri

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Missouri’s beautiful lakes and rivers make a stunning backdrop for hiking trails. But why just hike along the banks when you can get into the water and float along a water trail? Throughout the state you’ll find dedicated water trails that allow you to explore state parks and waterways from a new perspective.

So what are you waiting for? Get in the water and follow the trail.

Dardenne Creek Blueway – St. Charles

Float 3.5 miles down the Dardenne Creek Blueway in St. Charles. The blueway connects Riverside Landing and 370 Lakeside Park, both of which provide camping spots, kayak rentals, and recreational activities. Along the creek, habitat was created to protect local wildlife, so keep an eye out for flora and fauna.

Finger Lakes State Park – Columbia

Once used as a strip mine by Peabody Mining Co., Finger Lakes State Park is now a serene haven for outdoor recreation. The pits left by coal mining have since filled with water to create Peabody Lake. The lake has 4.3 miles of water trails – divided into two sections with a connector – that are marked by red, white and blue buoys.  

James River – Springfield 

Rent a canoe, kayak or paddleboard at Springfield Lake Boathouse and set out on the 6-mile James River Water Trail. The James River is great for fishing, so don’t forget to bring a pole and some bait to see what you can catch. The water trail connects to the James River Greenway & Trail of Honor – a popular hiking and biking path.

St. Joe State Park – Park Hills

Tucked along the St. Francois Mountains, St. Joe State Park is a veritable playground for lovers of the outdoors. Monsanto Lake has a water trail with stops that educate visitors about the park’s cultural and natural elements, including a dolomite glade, native grasses, shortleaf pines and the Old Lead Belt.

Hiking trails, off-road vehicle trails and mountain biking trails wind through the park.

Stockton State Park – Dadeville

Best known for its ideal sailing conditions, Stockton Lake also has a canoeing and kayaking trail that runs along the shoreline of the lake. Bald eagles and beavers can be seen on the land while largemouth, spotted and smallmouth bass; crappie, walleye, catfish and bluegill populate the water. Quiet coves and an island can also be found along the trail.

Wakonda State Park – La Grange

Three of the six beautiful lakes at Wakonda State Park have water trails ranging from 2 miles to more than 4 miles long. From the trails you’ll see a wide variety of wildlife and a rare sand prairie. Single kayaks, tandem kayaks and jon boats are available for rent at the park office from April 15 to October 31.