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.
- Trail Guide & Map
- Go CoMo Trails App
- Trails Plan and 30-Mile Trail Loop
- History of Trail Development in Columbia, MO
- Choosing the Right Trail Surface
- Capital Improvement Projects
- Columbia Bike Map
- Citizen Survey: Impact of the MKT Trail on Nearby Property Owners
- Trail Etiquette, Rules and Regulations
- Trail Safety Tips
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. The voter-approved extension of the 1/8-cent Park Sales Tax on the November 2015 ballot enabled more progress to be made toward completing the trail loop. (See 2015 Park Sales Tax Implementation Plan.) The Park Sales Tax is the primary source of funding for trail development projects.
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. (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:
- Does living near a trail create more crime in my neighborhood?
- Will I be held liable for accidents on my property due to trail users?
- Can living near a trail increase my property value?
- Are there other benefits to living near a trail?
- Can trail use positively impact the environment?
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.See survey results.
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. See the subset for “Destination (Major) Trails in the Trail Directory for a list of Columbia’s major trails.
Columbia has two mountain bike trails in its park system – one 4.1 mile dirt trail and one 0.2 mile skills course. See the subset for “Mountain Bike Trails” in the Trail Directory.
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. Most 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. See the subset for “Community Park Trails” in the Trail Directory for a list of these parks.
The park system has one indoor track at the ARC and co-op use of four school tracks. The 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 and not in use by the school. See the subset for “Tracks” in the Trail Directory. for a list of tracks available for public use.
A current list of upcoming Parks and Recreation capital improvement projects (parks and trails) is can be found on the Capital Improvement Program 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.