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Pickle Springs Natural Area

A few weeks ago, Chris and I headed out to Sainte Genevieve, Missouri for a little staycation. There were several hiking options nearby (within 30 minutes) and I knew I wanted to check out at least one.

Pickle Springs was described online as a “geological wonderland” so I decided it was the one!

At this time, Missouri was getting its first glimpse of Fall and the weather was perfect for a long hike.

What We Hiked…

Trail Through Time Hiking Trail
2 miles, Easy/Moderate Loop

Pickle Springs only consists of one looped trail with multiple points of interest along the way.

The first was the slot – a natural walkway through a canyon of large rocks. It gave the vibes of entering some sort of fantasy realm and our little dude would have loved it if he’d joined us!


Next we trekked upon mammoth sandstone rocks called Cauliflower Rocks (akin to those of Elephant Rocks – another Missouri spot). These oversized rocks of sandstone led to a natural arch holding up a shelf of sandstone called the Double Arch. Nature is insane!

Don’t forget to wander!


We wandered off the trail a bit here to climb up on the rocks and explore the view. Chris is much more coordinated and was able to get up higher than I could. This portion of the trail also boasts a set of stairs for those who may prefer to stick to the main path.

The rocks gave way to a creek-Pickle Creek, of course! We crossed a little bridge over the creek and continued on the trail. There was such a variety of scenery along the way that it was never boring. I loved all of the tall pine trees with their highly textured bark, tall cliffs, and canyons.

Dome Rock was another beautiful spot where you suddenly found yourself on top of the world! It was fun taking in the views down below and then getting to experience them from different angles as the hike progressed and we walked to the bottom.

This was probably the first time EVER in our seven years that Chris has taken candid photos of me.

At the bottom, we stumbled upon the namesake Pickle Spring! The trickling sound from the water is such a soothing sound (unless you have to pee, of course!). After the spring, you’ll find yourself at Rockpile canyon. Large boulders have fallen in this canyon and it’s cool to see how nature takes over here. Trees find their way to grow anywhere in this strange setting and it makes for some cool scenery.

After the canyon, you pass through a glade of pines and then your loop of Pickle Springs is complete!

Check it out yourself!

For such a short trail, there was so much to see! Much of the scenery felt different than our usual Missouri hikes and I’m glad we decided to hike here. However, I’d plan for more than the suggested hour time-frame because you’ll veer off to explore along the way. Normally, we finish trails well before the suggested completion time, but we went about 25 minutes over.

I didn’t see any critters or trash. Overall, the trail was well-maintained. It is not a crowded trail which makes for a more enjoyable/peaceful experience -we saw one other person the entire time!

If you’re ever out this way, I recommend stopping by and giving this hike a go. It’s a wonderful way to spend a couple hours of your day! We hope to try out Hawn State Park if we’re ever in the area again.



What kind of hikes are your favorite? Short and sweet? Lots to see? Long and challenging? Where’s your favorite spot in your area?

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