Emmenegger Nature Park or Russell E. Emmenegger Nature Park Trail is really cute. It is just off of Geyer on the edge of Highway 44 in Kirkwood. Pretty easy to get to, and it was great for an evening hike after work.
You start out on a paved trail. This is perfect for dog walkers or even runners. There were a few people out on the evening I went and they were all friendly. The trail loops total about 1.5 miles, so it is really short. I got about 2 miles because I veered off the trail. By mistake.
It started off easy enough. The trail was clear and easy to follow. There were some leaves, but not enough to be an issue.
Then I found the Meremec and it was beautiful. I wandered along the water edge for awhile and completely off the path. The ground was pretty sturdy and packed, so it was pretty easy. But then I back tracked to the trail since I thought getting randomly lost in the dark was a bad idea.
You then travel up a bit, nothing too steep. You are rewarded with a great view. And get the company of a few teenagers smoking up. But anyway, we were all young at some time right? At least they weren’t in my way.
The rest of the hike was pretty. As I said, it is short and nice to just go out for a walk. The leaves were beautiful and it was still pretty warm. You hear a bit of the hum of 44, but not really bad. In fact, my one earphone pretty much took care of the extra noise. This is a pretty popular park. When I got there at 5 there was one other car, and when I got back around 5:30 the parking lot was almost full. I met one of the Rangers, and he was helpful when I asked where the trailhead was (why bother wandering around when there is a Ranger in his truck 30 feet away?).