Things to Do in St. Louis: Outdoor Adventures

In recent years, the St. Louis region has built an extensive network of biking/hiking trails that run through some of the region's most glorious scenery. But plenty of other outdoor adventures await the intrepid traveler, including ziplines, canoing, horseback riding, paddleboating and parasailing, all designed to quicken your heartbeat and raise those adrenalin levels.

Katy Trail State Park

185-mile-long public access hiking/biking trail of crushed limestone. East end of the trail runs through Frontier Park in St. Charles and follows the Missouri River past bluffs, wooded areas, farms and wineries. Bike rental at Bike Stop Cafe, 701 Riverside Dr. in St.

Grafton Zipline Adventures

9 ziplines take you sailing on a 1 3/4-mile, 2-hour tour through the forest canopy high above the Mississippi River Valley in Grafton, Illinois. Weight limits: 45-275 lbs. Tickets $69-$79. Reservations recommended. Open daily 8am-6pm.

Pere Marquette Stables

45-50-minute trail rides through scenic Pere Marquette State Park are available at Pere Marquette Stables. $35 per person. There are also $10 pony rides for kids 8 and under.

Sam Vadalabene Bike Path

The 20-mile paved trail runs from Alton, Illinois, past the villages of Elsah and Grafton to Pere Marquette State Park and is flanked by the Mississippi River and limestone bluffs.

Forest Park

One of the largest municipal parks in the U.S. (bigger than Central Park) covers 1,300 acres at Kingshighway and I-64 (Highway 40). Home to several of St. Louis’ top attractions: Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis Zoo, Saint Louis Science Center and Missouri History Museum. 

Forest Park Boathouse

Pedal boats and canoes are available for rental at $20 per hour. Open Tu-Th 11 am-8 pm, F 11 am-9 pm, Sa 10 am-9 pm, Su 10 am-8 pm. Food available at Boathouse Café.

Missouri Botanical Garden

Seventy-nine acres of trees, gardens and conservatories, a must-see for any visitor, any time of year. Free tours of the garden at 11 am daily. Garden open 9 am-5 pm daily (open 7 am W and Sa). Admission $12 adults, free children 12 and under, fees for some special exhibits.  

Captain Andy's Parasail

Fly high above the Mississippi and Illinois rivers on the only parasail in Illinois. No wet gear needed; all flights take off and land from the back of the custom boat, outfitted with the latest safety equipment. $75 per flyer, $15 ride-along. Hours: Sa, Su and holidays 11am-dusk.