St. Joe State Park is one of Missouri’s largest state parks, boasting more than 8,000 acres of property and a 14-mile concrete trail for walking, jogging, rollerblading or biking. The best part? This park is really close to my small town.
I jogged on the trail a few times in high school, and took my mountain bike there for my first ride on it when I was in my early twenties. Since moving back to Missouri, I’ve ridden the full trail twice.
If you’re not up for the full 14 miles, you can park at several points along the trail, and ride out half your intended distance before doubling back. If you’re in reasonably good shape, though, I’d do the full loop.
I’ve ridden this starting in Farmington, crossing US Hwy 67, and entering the park at the Farmington Trail head at the Southeast corner of the map. By starting in Farmington, you can add a couple more miles to the ride.
I’ve also parked at the Old Mines entrance at the Northern edge of the park and ridden the loop. If you intend to ride the full 14 miles, where you start the ride is secondary, in my opinion, to which direction you ride in once you’re on the trail.
Riding the trail counterclockwise, according to this map view, you’ll encounter several long, low-grade uphills. If you ride clockwise, on the other hand, you’ll hit two hills that are neither terribly long nor terribly steep.
The asphalt is smooth; fit for road bikes or hybrids, though I only have a mountain bike, and it works out fine as well. Because there’s a large area for riding ORVs in the center of the park, beware that on dry, windy winds, you’ll be riding through a lot of dust when you’re riding past Missouri Mines.
St. Joe State Park can be accessed from several towns in the area, including Farmington, Park Hills, and Leadington. Parking is available at the trail heads, and there is at least one point along the trail (I believe it’s at the Harris Branch Trail Head) where clean drinking water is available.