Step Out and Dine In

1

Article Tags:

Outdoor Adventure , outdoors , State Parks and State Historic Sites , family dining
Work up an appetite when you visit these Missouri State Parks.
Author: Stephen Foutes
Don't let winter's chill dissuade you from enjoying an outing at Missouri's State Parks, where you can work up an appetite by exploring any number of hiking trails.

Restaurants known for offering up hearty meals that refuel you after a day of outdoor adventure aren’t far from these five Missouri State Parks with excellent hiking trails to explore during the chilly months (year-round, really).

• Big Sugar Creek State Park - In extreme southwest Missouri near Cassville, this park is noted for its rugged, 3.25-mile Ozark Chinquapin Trail. A stream, steep hills and abundant areas frequented by wildlife are highlights of the hike. From Big Sugar Creek State Park, it's about a 30-minute drive north to Neosho, home of Sam's Cellar Bar and Oven, famous for wood-fired pizzas, including one that uses KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce and your choice of smoked brisket or chicken.

• Trail of Tears State Park - Hike a little more than two miles while enjoying views of Lake Boutin on the park's aptly named Lake Trail or try the more rugged Sheppard Point Trail that's highlighted by panoramic views of the Mississippi River. Trail of Tears State Park is located north of Cape Girardeau. Just south of Cape, in Commerce, the River Ridge Winery and Fermentation Cafe has light fare such as the River Ridge Picnic Basket (cheeses, wurst and French bread) and hearty sandwiches like the grilled Reuben and The Works Burger.

• Weston Bend State Park - Grab your bike, or just your trusty hiking boots, for an outing on the Weston Bluffs Trail. The trail covers more than three miles and parallels the Missouri River. This trail has a direct connection to downtown Weston, which makes it easy to find The Vineyards Restaurant. The dinner menu at The Vineyards offers a variety of excellent options, including duck, lamb and beef tenderloin.

• Katy Trail State Park - As a cross-state park, the Katy Trail offers a variety of adventures. You can go for a leisurely walk, take a jog, ride your bike and, in some sections, ride on horseback. Spanning about 240 miles, Katy Trail is the longest rails-to-trails conversion in the U.S. Along a section of the trail near Hartsburg (north of Jefferson City) is Claysville Store, which is popular among locals and visitors alike. Country ham, fried chicken and various barbecue options are specialties.

• Mark Twain State Park - Have a moderate hike along the White Oak Trail, which follows steep hillsides and a large peninsula that extends into Mark Twain Lake, near Florida. The trail is slightly more than a mile long, but it has steep inclines and bluff-top views. About 20 minutes back to the east, just outside of Perry, you find The Junction restaurant, a longtime favorite among area residents and Mark Twain Lake visitors. Try the massive Junction tenderloin - it's enough for two.



  Big Sugar Creek State Park
Outstanding oak and oak-pine woodlands are features of this 2,082-acre park in the rugged Elk Hills ...

  Trail of Tears State Park
The Trail of Tears– the forced relocation of Cherokee Indians from Tennessee to Oklahoma in the ...

  Weston Bend State Park
Scattered picnic sites, picnic shelters and camping are features of this park. Hiking trails and a paved ...

  Katy Trail State Park - Statewide
Katy Trail State Park is the longest rails-to-trails conversion in the U.S. The flat, 240-mile trail ...

  Mark Twain State Park
Scenic views from limestone bluffs and woodlands await at this park. Located on Mark Twain Lake, the ...

  River Ridge Winery & Fermentation Room Cafe
Enjoy our variety of wines and a relaxing time at River Ridge Winery. Spend the afternoon; hike a short ...

  Sam's Cellar Bar and Oven
Sam's Cellar features a full-line bar and a wide selection of wraps, wings, salads and wood-fired pizzas. ...

  The Vineyards Restaurant in Weston
An antebellum cottage that offers a unique, intimate dining experience. Specializing in house-carved ...

  Claysville Store
We specialize in fried chicken country ham and BBQ. Old time general store built in 1800-1900's. In ...

  The Junction Restaurant
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also have daily specials and a full bar. Seating available for ...