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2022 Guide to Springfield MO’s Best Walking and Hiking Trails

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For as long as humans have been around, we’ve been exploring new areas and pushing ourselves to become stronger both physically and mentally. Hiking is a perfect example of a hobby that combines our natural spirit for adventure with a habit that can keep you feeling healthier than ever. 

Hiking has been proven to have stress relieving qualities, and the cardio workout helps to keep your heart strong. While hiking, you also get to engage muscles in your body that you would otherwise not while on a walk or a jog. 

If you’re looking for a hiking spot in the Springfield Region, you’re in luck. Let’s check out some of the best hiking destinations around the area! 

Mother running with her two daughters on hiking trails in Springfield, MO
Mother running with her two daughters on walking trails in Springfield, MO

Easy Beginner Trails within Springfield City Limits

Love getting outdoors and the idea of an adventure, but not an experienced hiker?  Not to worry – these hiking trails are a great way to start breaking in some hiking boots! 

Wilson’s Creek Greenway.

Explore the city’s history on a walk through the Wilson’s Creek Greenway. Along the way, you can see historical points of interest and learn more about the history of the Ozarks. This stretch of greenway has also earned recognition as a National Recreation Trail, honoring its commitment to bringing more trails to members of the community. 

Springfield Conservation Nature Center.

Burn off the stress of the day with a quick 3 mile hike across the Springfield Conservation Nature Center. As you travel across this forested loop, you may run into more than 180 species of birds and see animals like deer, mink, muskrats and more. If you want to get out of the city without having to go far, this is the perfect spot! 

Fellows Lake.

Once you’ve spent the day boating or kayaking on the lake, head over to the Fellows Lake trail for an invigorating hike. The area is just hilly enough to keep your heart rate up, making for an easy, quick workout. Plus, the sight of the lake from the trail is a sight you won’t want to miss! 

Experienced Trails Outside Springfield City Limits

If this isn’t your first rodeo, you may be looking for a bit more of a challenge when it comes to your hike. Check out these more difficult options: 

Busiek State Forest.

Busiek offers a whopping 18 miles for you to explore, with several well-marked paths for you to choose from. As you walk along the trail, you could be joined by horse riders, mountain bikers and other trail fanatics. To get the most of your time on the trails, consider staying at one of their primitive campsites for the night and make it a weekend of hiking. 

Big Piney Trail.

West of Licking, MO, you’ll find a trail that’s perfect for a day or weekend of traveling and sightseeing. Many believe that Big Piney is one of the best trails in the state, with 17 miles of scenic bluffs, forest views and seasonal waterfalls. The trail is very rocky and rugged, so be careful as you travel. 

Frisco Highline Trail.

Part of the Ozarks Greenway trails, the Frisco Highline is Missouri’s second longest rail trail with connections through Springfield and Bolivar. To make the whole trek, you’ll have 35 miles of trail to conquer, with plenty of stops along the way. You can rent a bike at the Frisco Bike Rental while on the trail, or stop by a classic restaurant like Jackson Street Deli. 

Buffalo River Trails.

A short drive into Northwest Arkansas will bring you to the Buffalo River trails, offering beautiful sights you can’t find anywhere else. The Lost Valley trail will take you across gorgeous waterfalls, while the Whitaker Point trail will take you to one of the most scenic bluffs in the country. No matter which trail you choose, you’ll love the outcome! 

Adventure-Packed Guided Trails

You don’t have to make your next hike solo with these exciting guided hikes. Grab a friend and head for the trails! 

Missouri State Parks.

You’ll see your state parks in a new light after one of these unique hikes. Head over to Prairie State Park to get up close to wild bison, or go for a night hike at Crowder State Park. For those wanting a bit of conservation education, you can attend hikes like The Dirt on Decomposers or Rock and Roll to learn more about how the state parks help to maintain our ecosystem. It’s perfect for a quick day trip to your favorite park! 

37N Expeditions.

These guided hikes have everything you could want: castles, ice cream, cave spelunking, horseback riding, breweries and, of course, magnificent hiking trails. 37N takes care of your transportation and provides you with a guide as you choose from hikes around Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas. Choose from a family series, a woman’s retreat or more to find the right hike for you! 

Are you looking for a city where you can find the best in hiking? Download our relocation guide and discover how you can experience the great outdoors in Springfield MO. 

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