“A beautiful out-and-back hike with much to see and access to the Meramec River.”
— Susan Stevenson
Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This is a great out-and-back hike for families. There are views of the Meramec River, a vernal pond called Walt's Pond, and reforestation efforts with native plantings including Hickory Trees.
The trail is available during WBS hours of operation: open daily 8 a.m.–5 p.m. and is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and every third Tuesday of the month for routine maintenance.
This route uses the Hickory Trail
and Tunnel Trail
to head out from the observation deck, past Walt's Pond and down to the Meramec River. This hike provides great opportunities to view birds and other wildlife, and enjoy the river.
Need to Know
Parking is free at the WBS. There is a visitor center and bathrooms. No pets are allowed due to the birds of prey that live on the property and are rehabilitating.
The hike begins at the Hickory Trail
trailhead at the far end of the bird enclosures and is capped with a beautiful songbird observation deck. The Hickory Trail
immediately heads downhill through a grove of Hickory Trees. Hikers will land at Walt's Pond at the bottom of the Hickory Trail
. From here, hikers may choose to go back the way they came or continue on to the Tunnel Trail
and head down to the Meramec River.
To get to the river, follow Tunnel Trail
, ramble under the train tracks through a tunnel and down a steep set of stairs to a dirt and gravel trail.
The terrain for this set of trails is dirt and gravel with no obstacles and several switchbacks to lessen the grade. The hike is through the woods so, there is shade throughout the year.
Flora & Fauna
This hike takes you through a typical Missouri woodland forest. Hickory, oak and elm can be seen along the trails. Due to invasive honeysuckle, the World Bird Sanctuary has begun removal of this invasive species and begun the reforestation process to create a tiered forest canopy. I have seen deer, squirrel, many birds such as a barred owl, woodpeckers, cardinals, blue jays, red tailed hawks, and many more including a bald eagle on one occasion.