Columbia Parks and Recreation
Creating Community through People, Parks and Programs
Notice: Sewer work on the MKT Trail continues. Trail users should expect construction traffic and trail detours until the sewer work is complete. Please continue to use caution. Additional sewer project update information is available on the City's website at como.gov/fbrs
Update: Contracted work for the Flat Branch Sewer Project (adjacent to the MKT Trail) has resumed, with an estimated completion date of April 1, 2017, weather permitting (subject to change). The sewer utility work affects the paved section of the trail from Elm St. to Stewart Rd. The trail detour includes the sidewalk on the south side of Elm St. and the sidewalk on the east side of Providence. Trail users should use the on-street crossing at the intersection of Providence and Stewart.
Upcoming MKT Bridge Replacement Project: Click here for additional details.
2013 Trails Plan - (long-range trail plan)
30 Mile Trail Loop Plan - (highlights loop)
The Columbia Trail System features a variety of trails in different settings - parks, nature sanctuaries, along creeks and through wooded areas - with a variety of trail surfaces for runners, walkers, wheelers, and bicyclists. Amenities along the trails, such as water fountains, restrooms, and bike repair stations, are provided to make your journey easier. You can find the location of these amenities on the trails map.
Trails have long been important to the quality of life for Columbians. In a 2015 city-wide citizen survey, it was found that 82 percent of Columbia households use the trail system! In fact, this love of trails extends outside Columbia's borders - the state of Missouri in 2013 was named the "Best Trails State" by American Trails, a national, nonprofit organization working on behalf of the nation's hiking, biking and riding trails. Columbia Parks and Recreation is proud to contribute to this designation.
Below is a directory of the major trails in the Columbia Trail System, along with the neighborhood, community, and regional park trails. Click on the links below for more information on individual trails.
Destination (Major) Trails
The Bear Creek Trail, Hinkson Creek Trail, and MKT Trail are the premier multi-use trails in Columbia. These 10-ft. wide trails with crushed limestone surfaces are good for walking, jogging, and biking. These three trails along with the future Perche Creek Trail will make up the proposed 30-mile trail loop around the city.
County House Trail and the South Providence Trail were added to the trail system in 2011. The Hominy Creek Trail (Phase I) and Scott's Branch Trail were added in 2013. Grindstone Creek Trail was added in 2015. These trails are constructed out of concrete to reduce maintenance costs and provide consistent trail conditions. County House, South Providence, and Hominy Creek Trails have an alternative gravel side path along portions of the concrete trail. All of these trails connect residential and business areas to Columbia Trail System and the proposed 30-mile trail loop.
Each trail generally has several access points. Various trailheads provide parking and restrooms. Click on the links below for more information on individual trails.
There are many connections that link neighborhoods to Columbia's major destination trails. However, some of the larger connector trails provide an enjoyable trail journey within themselves. Below are major trail connectors that trail users may enjoy exploring in addition to the premiere destination trails listed above.
Columbia Parks and Recreation has one mountain bike trail in it's park system, which is located in the northeast corner of the largest City-owned park - Cosmo Park.
Community parks are typically 15-100 acres, with a service area generally up to three miles. Regional parks are normally 200 or more acres, with a service area extending to five or more miles. Many of these parks provide parking and/or restrooms. Trails are usually just one of many recreation choices in these larger parks. Nature areas usually feature trails to explore and enjoy the natural, preserved green spaces.
Neighborhood parks are typically 5-10 acres and are designed to be within walking distance of surrounding neighborhoods. They typically do not include parking or restrooms. Neighborhood park trails provide opportunity for park users to get exercise near home, while tracking the distance covered.
The following school tracks were funded in whole or part by the Park Sales Tax and are open to the public when school is not in session.
Go CoMo Trails App is available for iPhone and Android. Find your current location in relation to Columbia's destination trails. Zoom in to see where restrooms, exercise stations, water fountains, parking lots, and bike repair stations are located. Download your free app from iTunes or Google Play.
The Trails Plan is an important part of the overall Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan, which was completed and adopted in 2013. It is key to achieving the overall goal of having a trail system that serves recreational to nonmotorized travelers and connects citizens with parks, neighborhoods, schools, and businesses. It sets the priorities for future trail acquisition and development and prompts City officials to have developers set aside trail easements when their development plans go through the City approval process.
A primary part of the Trails Plan is the proposed 30 mile trail loop around Columbia. This is explained in Chapter 10 - Trail Acquisition and Development. Note the following excerpt from Chapter 10, page 179 of the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan.
"The 2013 Trails Plan proposes an approximately 30 mile long trail loop around Columbia, consisting of the MKT Trail, Hinkson Creek Trail, Bear Creek Trail, and the proposed Perche Creek Trail. In addition, the plan includes multiple connecting trails that link back to this main loop so that the trail system can be accessible to the majority of Columbia residents and resolves many of the current underserved areas.
To date, about half of the 30-mail trail loop has been completed. If voters approve the extension of the 1/8-cent Park Sales Tax on the November 2015 ballot, more progress will be made toward completing the trail loop. Click here for more information on the proposed ballot project list.
Links to the 2013 Trails Plan and a plan that highlights the 30-mile trail loop (which is part of the 2013 Trails Plan) are below.
Click on image above to view larger image
A complete list of upcoming Parks and Recreation capital improvement projects (parks and trails) is listed on the Capital Improvement Projects webpage.
Please note that not all trail capital improvement projects are administrated by the Parks and Recreation Department. Some trail projects are funded by the federal Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program and administrated by GetAbout Columbia. If you do not find an upcoming trail project listed below, information may be found on the GetAbout Columbia website.
Capital Improvement Projects and Council Items
|Year Completed||Project Description|
|2008||New Restrooms at Scott Blvd. and Forum Blvd.|
|2009||MKT Trail Memorial/Heritage Bench Replacement (8 benches)|
|2008||Valleyview Trail improvements|
|2009||Forum Parking Lot - overlay and seal - (Annual Roads and Parking)|
|MKT Bridges #12 & 13 Replacement
Bridge #12 Historical Display
|2011||GetAbout Columbia Project: County House Trail Development - Stadium to MKT Trail|
|2011||GetAbout Columbia Project: South Providence Pedway (aka Providence Bikeway South)|
|2011 - Phase I||Hinkson Creek Trail - Grindstone to Stephens (Phase I & II)|
|Project Not Approved by Council - Funds Reallocated||Hinkson Creek Trail - Phase III - Rockhill Connector|
|2011||MKT Exercise/Fitness Station Replacements (2011 Annual Park Improv)|
|2012||MKT Exercise/Fitness Station Replacements (2012 Annual Park Improv)|
- Funds Reallocated
|Providence Boardwalk Repair - (Annual Park Improvements)|
|2013||Lions-Stephens Fitness Trail Improvements - (Annual Park Improvements)|
|2013||Hominy Branch Trail Phase I - Stephens to Woodridge Park|
|2013 - Phase 1||Scott's Branch Trail Phase I & II|
|2014||MKT Trail - 3M Urban Ecological Restoration Project|
|2015||Hinkson/Capen Bridge Improvements|
|2015||Hinkson Creek-Grindstone Trailhead Restroom|
|2015||Bear Creek Trail Restroom - Garth Access|
|2016||Grindstone Trail - Grindstone Nature Area to Confluence|
|2016||MKT Trail: Building/Restroom Improvements at Stadium/MLK Trailhead|
|2016||GetAbout Project: Hominy Creek Trail Phase 2 - Woodridge to Clark Lane|
|MKT Trail Sewer Restoration Plan Report|
|GetAbout Project: County House Phase 2|
|GetAbout Project: Shepard to Rollins East-West Connection|
Which is the best surface for trail construction - gravel, asphalt, or concrete? Learn about the pros and cons of each type of trail surface in the "Choosing the Right Trail Surface" presentation. (PDF - 2.3mg)
Concerned about a proposed trail through or near your property? See the "Columbia Trail System Community Benefits - Trail Information for Property Owners" brochure. This brochure is designed to answer questions that property owners near or adjacent to a proposed trail often have. Questions such as:
Property owners living within 200 yards of the MKT Trail were surveyed regarding their opinions about the impact of living near or adjacent to the trail. Click here to find out the results of the survey.