by Jennifer Adele
The River Des Peres Greenway Trail is probably the most overlooked and forgotten venue in the Greenway Trails project here in St. Louis. It is comprised of approximately four miles worth of walking trails stretched between Gravois and Morgan Ford Road along River Des Peres with two dedicated pedestrian bridges for ease of access in crossing this mild divide. The bridges actually connect the River Des Peres Greenway to Carondelet Park, another favorite nature haunt of mine, via a trail on the Christy Greenway in south St. Louis City.
Ahh… trails! And, even better are trails with additional off shooting trails. I can’t help but get excited by all that! The River Des Peres section has numerous footpaths that branch off of it, looking as though you might step back in time and find an ancient civilization immediately off the beaten path, or perhaps even step into an alien world, if you so dare. Strange flora reach out from these footpaths, some native and some invasive, but all alluring. I suggest that if you would seek to find your muse amid the greenery, you do so while wearing liberal amounts of bug spray. I often get bitten by mosquitoes along with the science fiction and fantasy muses here.
The River Des Peres Greenway Trail main trail goes far beyond merely providing tiny paths though. Along the primary walkway, you will also discover old stands of tall pines, large and reclining valleys, massive oaks and shedding birches, access to private subdivisions, large rock formations for climbing, and even a peek into a historic cemetery for a hint of something more Gothic. It is a delicious taste of timelessness.
From tall trees to deep valleys, from beckoning footpaths to dark cemetery views, the River Des Peres Greenway Trail has a great deal to offer… especially if you enjoy science fiction, fantasy, adventure, and a touch of the morose. Many of the trees found in this region are quite old and seem to reach up and tickle the heavens. The little and almost hidden walkways and darting wildlife are enough to stir the primordial in any writer, painter, or poet… Nature, of course, being the eternal muse and the consummate healer. I go here for inspiration, yes, but also to heal and center as a creative professional. It is here that I feel deeply connected to who I am, where I live, and what I am doing.