The Mallard Lake Loop Trail tours the southern extent of the park in a 2.6-mile loop around Mallard Lake. A portion of this trail is designated for foot-traffic use only, which can be a treat for those used to sharing the trail. The easiest access point is from the Lakehouse Cafe, as the trailhead and the cafe share a parking lot. The cafe is also the perfect place to refuel after your outing!
Originally a detention basin for Creve Coeur Creek, Mallard lake serves to collect the sediments settling out of the creek as it empties in to Creve Coeur Lake. This process allows clear water into Creve Coeur Lake, and will hopefully prevent the lake from another dredging for years to come.
As its name implies, Mallard Lake is the perfect place for bird enthusiasts to observe many native species. In the summer, egrets, geese, ducks and even herons call the lake home, and the path makes its way west of the lake, and takes a turn to the south when crossing Creve Coeur Creek. After the crossing, the trail will cease to be paved, and become a rocky natural trail. At this point, rollerbladers and cyclists are no longer allowed to continue.
The next mile and a half will lead visitors down through the seeps creeks and marshes that make up the bottomland woodland ecosystem. From these low points, visitors will be able to appreciate the old Missouri River Bluffs, and will be able to follow the old ice railroad. Large ice blocks were once hauled from the lake to an ice house along this route, and the added history is one of many features of the trail.
Soon, the trail will climb out of the bottomland to traverse the elevated plateau atop the bluffs. Take in the views from here, and continue on. Eventually the trail returns to its paved state, and begins to return back towards the trailhead. The Lakeview Trail will overlap with the Mallard Lake Loop Trail, but visitors will still be returning to their vehicles. Enjoy a treat at the Cafe!