A small sign can be found to the left of the Al Foster Trail
, which marks the beginning of the 2.2-mile Bluffview Trail. This on begins along a portion of the bluff where spicebush, paw paw and ferns flourish. The shade and deep soils providing the perfect habitat. Through a narrow gap the trail begins its journey toward the northern end of the park. The narrow trail crosses various dry creek beds and a few moist seeps. Mosses and walking ferns find a home in the multiple moist rock outcroppings.
As with many of the woodlands in the urban area, Packwood is battling an infestation of honeysuckle. This exotic shrub originates in Asia, and was brought to America in the 1880s. The invasive species continues to threaten the native woodlands and flora. Dense honeysuckle foliage shades the native wildflowers, and prevents native woodland seeds from germinating. Even seedling oaks cannot penetrate the foliage to survive. There may be grave consequences for the native wildlife over time.
The gradual ascent is about 5%, so the climb to the top of the bluff is mild. Wooded hillsides provide shade during summer months. The trail opens up at the top of the bluff. Mr. Packwood had built his house in this area, and it's easy to see why he chose the spot. The view is incredible.
The trail continues on past concrete fence posts and other structures from the Packwood days. The trail terminates where a future parking lot will be constructed off of Old State Road.
The Bluffview Trail is the first leg of a potential 11-mile trail system. This trail and project is supported by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Castlewood State Park, the Great Rivers Greenway, the City of Wildwood and Saint Louis County Department of Parks and Recreation.