Location: Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, Columbia, MO
Activity: Day Hike
Trail: Springbrook Trail and Gans Creek Trail System
Other Trailgoers: Many
Would I Go Again: Absolutely
We started out very early in the morning on the Springbrook Trail which is part of Rock Bridge on the western side. This trail is for hikers and bikers only, but it definitely seems to be dominated by bikers. We walked up to 1.8 miles on this trail before deciding to quit and head over to the other side of the highway to the Gans Creek trail due to so many bikers. I don’t mind hiking with bikers; however, when you have to step off the trail so much to allow right of way that it really slows you down, it kinda takes the fun out of it.
Off we headed to Gans Creek trail. The scenery here is pretty much the same as Springbrook; however, this is a hikers only trail with the exception that they allow horse riding from June to October. No bikes allowed. I’ve been on this trail before in the winter time, and I much preferred the winter scenery (keeping in mind I’m not a hot-weather fan. I do like the cold weather). In the summer with all of the growth you really miss out on the incredible views at Rock Bridge.
The creek was pretty much dry as well where in the winter, it was a jaw-dropping winding creek that we crossed multiple times.
All in all, this is a great day hike and not too far of a drive for us. We passed multiple other people; it wasn’t bad though. Most of the time we had the trail to ourselves. We started at the Gans Creek trailhead, which is off of 163 (the last hike we did here we started at the Shooting Star trailhead which is on the complete opposite side).
I wasn’t doing real well and had a lot of trouble ascending the minor hills, but we made it about 5 miles. Stopping for lunch at the special use area which includes bathroom facilities and several picnic tables under a very nicely-shaded and mowed area. Great place for a break.
The trail was fairly well maintained…keeping in mind that on the Gans Creek side it is a conservation area so the trails aren’t maintained as well as on the Rock Bridge side. The trails are fairly well marked on straight aways; however, they lack somewhat in letting you know on intersections which way to go. It was a lot easier navigating in the summer then in the winter when you can’t hardly see the trail, but nonetheless, its a good place to stretch the legs and take in some nice scenery. There are a couple of lookouts, make sure you walk out and take a look at the view. See pics.