Kiefer Creek Road
River Scene Trail features the parks most spectacular views. The first quarter mile wraps around a forested hillside and then turns sharply uphill towards the top of the bluffs. The trail follows the edge of the bluffs for about a mile past scenic overlooks that provide stunning panoramic views of the Meramec River valley more than 200 feet below.
Along the way, hikers will pass some old foundations that serve as a reminder of the resort era during the 1920s and 1930s. At the end of the bluff, a wooden boardwalk descends into the river valley past the crumbling remains of the “Grand Staircase” to a tunnel under the Union Pacific railroad. This area was the site of the Castlewood Railroad Depot and the steps provided access to Castlewood Hotel and resort cabins on the bluffs. The trail passes through the tunnel and then turns left as it meets the Meramec River. The trail remains level as it follows the river over the next two miles, traveling through seasonally flooded woodlands and a large open field that was the past site of the hotel known as Lincoln Lodge. The lodge was across the river from Lincoln Beach, which was the prime gathering spot of fun-seekers during the resort era.
After going back under the railroad tracks at the Kiefer Creek Road underpass, the trail follows Kiefer Creek Road back to the trailhead. Hiking only is allowed on the bluff portion In addition, White Connector 7 is available to shorten or enhance one’s hike.