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Weldon Spring

The Lost Valley Trail in the Weldon Spring Conservation Area is an eight-mile loop. The first three miles are mainly flat double and single track. There is a short climb followed by a downhill and rolling hills. Half of the trail is a flat wide country road closed to auto traffic, the second half winds through forest and meadows and along ridges and many streams. The wildflowers are awesome! Spring runs are highly recommended. Pink and purple phlox, may apples and bluets dot the green landscape. Spring also brings many nesting great blue herons, noted for their slender profiles and wide wingspans. The total contiguous acreage of Weldon Spring, Howell Island and the Busch Conservation Area is 16,918 acres, 7,356 of which comprise Weldon Spring. The area was named for John Weldon, who received a Spanish land grant in 1796 for 425 acres. Nearly 150 years later, during World War II, the government acquired 17,000 acres here for the construction of a munitions plant. It was then owned by the University of Missouri and in 1978, the Conservation Department acquired this property. Along the road, you will notice a fine chert trail that looks like the Katy Trail, except that it has warning signs posted on all sides. The government is cleaning up the old munitions plant where atom bomb research was done during World War II. This area is like the cousin St. Louis doesn't want to talk about. The Lost Valley Trail is a great, forested run/walk for fall and hot summer days when you need shade. A great place to find solitude and a good workout. A little far from South County but worth at least one trip! Directions: take Highway 94 south past Highway 40/64 about 5 miles. Just before the one-lane bridge, slow down and turn right into the large gravel parking lot, just before the Little Femme Osage Creek.

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