Celebrate National Trail Day by walking two new trails and experiencing both history and nature in Missouri state parks and historic sites.
On Friday, June 1, Missouri State Parks officials will dedicate the new Brogans’ Trail at Fort Davidson State Historic Site in Pilot Knob. The 1 p.m. ceremony will officially open the historic site’s first hiking trail and kick off National Trail Day activities.
Brogans’ Trail is a relatively flat one-half mile loop that leads visitors from a new parking lot on the east branch of Knob Creek along the east side of the Battle of Pilot Knob battlefield. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be at the parking lot on Industrial Drive in Pilot Knob and the public is invited to attend.
The trail is named for the shoes worn by most Civil War soldiers on both sides of the conflict. A brogan was a heavy laced, usually ankle-high shoe that had the sole attached to the upper part by wooden pegs. The wooden pegs would swell when wet and shrink when dried, causing Brogans to be repaired quite frequently.
On Saturday, June 2, the Vilander Bluff Trail along the Meramec River in Onondaga Cave State Park will officially open at 9 a.m. The 1.5-mile natural surface loop trail traverses through the Vilander Bluff Natural Area, providing the first trail access to the 206-acre natural area. The natural area’s namesake is the highest bluff along the Meramec River and is known for ancient eastern red cedars – some 300-500 years old — that grow out of the rocks along the bluff. The trail was built and is maintained by the Miramiguoa Chapter of Missouri Master Naturalists from Franklin County.
“Missouri state parks and historic sites have more than 230 trails and these two trails illustrate how diverse our trail system is. There’s truly a trail for everyone, whether you’re looking for great recreation, windows into nature or stories about our history,” said Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks, a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
The new trails are only two options for celebrating National Trail Day. Another option is a guided hike on the Umber Ridge Trail at Stockton State Park near Stockton. The 1.75-mile hike will begin at 9 a.m. and travel through the wooded landscape along the shores of Stockton Lake.
“All trails provide endless opportunities to celebrate National Trail Day on June 2 and kick off the entire month of June as Great Outdoors Month,” Bryan said.
Fort Davidson State Historic Site, the site of the Battle of Pilot Knob in 1864, is located on Highway 221 in Pilot Knob. To reach the Brogans’ Trail lot, turn from Hwy. 221 (South McCune) onto Industrial Drive. Drive about one-half mile and the parking lot is on the left prior to reaching railroad tracks. The trail will be open during normal site hours, sunrise to sunset daily. For more information about the event or the trail, contact Fort Davidson State Historic Site at 573-546-3454.
Onondaga Cave State Park is located four miles east of Leasburg on Highway H in Crawford County (exit 214 off Interstate 44). A new parking lot for the natural area is 1.4 miles down Thickety Ford Road, east of Highway N and south of Meramec River’s Campbell Bridge Crossing. The river bridge on Highway N is approximately five miles south of Bourbon. For more information about the event, contact the park at 573-245-6576.
Stockton State Park is located south of Stockton on Highway 215. The Umber Ridge Trailhead is located on the beach road .5 miles north of the state park office. For more information about the hike, contact the park directly at 417-276-4259.