• Bear Creek Trail
  • Bear Creek Winter
  • Bear Creek Trail Trees
  • Cyclists on Bear Creek Boardwalk

Bear Creek Trail

Trail Miles: 4.8 miles, limestone

Support Facilities:

parking, restrooms, bicycle repair station

Trailheads & Connectors

(A) Cosmo Park Trailhead

  • Bear Creek Trail in Cosmo Park
  • Photo of Bear Creek Trail in the fall

(A) Cosmo Park Trailhead

Map & Address: 1615 Business Loop 70 W.

Trail: Bear Creek Trail

Trail Miles: Bear Creek Trail 4.8 miles, limestone; Rhett's Run Mountain Bike Trail, 4.1 miles, dirt single track; Cosmo Nature Trail, 1.3 mile, dirt

Support Facilities:

Parking, restrooms

This trailhead, located in the northwest corner of Cosmo Park, services the Bear Creek Trail, Rhett’s Run Mountain Bike Trail and the Cosmo Nature Trail.  Parking is available at trailhead near the Columbia Skate Park. Restrooms are available at various locations in the park from April 15-October 15. (See map of Cosmo Park.) A year-round port-a-pot is available near the Skate Park.

As you leave the parking lot,  approximately one-half mile of the Bear Creek Trail winds through the Bear Creek Nature Area where one can frequently see beavers and other wetland wildlife.  The nature area in the north of Cosmo Park is a leash-free area for dogs, except for on the Bear Creek Trail. Dogs must be on a four-foot leash when on the Bear Creek Trail.

(B) Antimi Lake Rd., Cosmo Park

  • Antimi Lake Road, Bear Creek Trail Access at Cosmo Park

(B) Antimi Lake Rd., Cosmo Park

Map & Address: Parkside Dr.

Trail: Bear Creek Trail

This trailhead is located just north of the Antimi  Sports Complex and services the Bear Creek Trail, Rhett’s Run Mountain Bike Trail and the Cosmo Nature Trail. Restrooms are available at various locations in the park from April 15-October 15. (See map of Cosmo Park.)  The parking lot may not be available during league play for youth baseball/softball league. During this time, please use the Cosmo Park Trailhead near the Skate Park.

(C) Creasy Spring Rd. Trailhead

  • Bear Creek Trail at Creasy Springs Access
  • Photo of the Bear Creek Trail boardwalk
  • Photo of bridge on Bear Creek Trail

(C) Creasy Spring Rd. Trailhead

Map & Address: 3201 Creasy Springs Rd.

Trail: Bear Creek Trail

Trail Miles: 4.8-mile Bear Creek Trail

Support Facilities:

Parking, port-a-pot

This trailhead is located off Creasy Springs Rd in north Columbia. The Bear Creek Trail heads both east and west from this location.  Trail users traveling east toward the Garth Nature Area and Albert Oakland Park will encounter the beautiful 450-foot boardwalk just after passing under Creasy Springs Rd.  Heading west from this trailhead will take you to Cosmo Park.

The boardwalk was one of the most challenging features in the construction of the two phases of the trail that were built by Columbia Parks and Recreation construction staff. The boardwalk was built on the side of a rocky tree-lined bluff with minimal impact on vegetation. The structure required 18 concrete support structures that had to be hammered into solid rock and constructed at the edge of Bear Creek.

This section of the trail from Creasy Springs to the Garth Nature Area includes a bridge over Bear Creek that provides a spectacular view of the creek below and a close-up view of the beautiful flora that grows on the Missouri limestone bluffs.

(C1) (across from C) Python Ct. Connection

  • Python Court connector to Bear Creek Trail
  • Photo of entrance off of W Prairieview Drive to the Python Ct. Bear Creek Trail Connector

(C1) (across from C) Python Ct. Connection

Map & Address: Bear Creek Trail Connector

Trail: Bear Creek Trail

Trail Miles: 0.2 mile

This connector runs from Python Ct. to W. Prairieview Dr. where trail users can use the sidewalk along W. Prarieview Drive and Creasy Springs Road to gain access to Bear Creek Trail.
This concrete connection to the Bear Creek Trail from Python Ct. was completed in 2011. The project was federally funded and administered by GetAbout Columbia. The combined cost of the Python Ct. and Blue Ridge Connectors was $526,000.

(D) Blue Ridge Rd. Connector

  • Blue Ridge Drive Connector to Bear Creek Trail
  • Blue Ridge Connector at Garth Nature Area
  • Blue Ridge Connector to Garth Nature Area

(D) Blue Ridge Rd. Connector

Map & Address: Bear Creek Connector

Trail: Bear Creek Trail

Trail Miles: 0.3 mile

The Blue Ridge Rd. Connector gives residents in the Vanderveen Subdivision access to the Bear Creek Trail from Blue Ridge Rd. This concrete trail can be accessed from the south side of Blue Ridge Rd. between Snow Leopard Dr. and Sea Eagle Dr. and connects trail users to the wetland loop trail in Garth Nature Area. This connection provides a pleasant journey through preserved green space.

As trail users enter Garth Nature Area, they can continue around the gravel wetland loop trail to join up with the Bear Creek Trail and either travel west toward the Creasy Springs Trailhead or east toward Albert-Oakland Park. (Map of Garth Nature Area).

The Blue Ridge Rd. Connector was completed in 2011. The project was federally funded and administered by GetAbout Columbia. The combined cost of the Python Ct. and Blue Ridge Rd. Connector projects was $526,000.

(E) Garth Ave. to Hwy. 763

  • Garth Avenue Access to Bear Creek Trail
  • Bear Creek Trail in Garth Nature Area

(E) Garth Ave. to Hwy. 763

Map & Address: 2799 North Garth Ave.

Trail: Bear Creek Trail

Trail Miles: 1.0 mile (approx.), limestone

Support Facilities:

parking, port-a-pot

This phase extends a distance of about 1 mile from Garth Avenue eastward to Hwy. 763. The trail runs along the north side of Bear Creek throughout this distance, and there are no bridges on this section of trail. The trail routes safely underneath Garth Avenue, so users don’t have to cross the road.

The Garth Avenue parking lot also serves the Garth Nature Area, which has looping gravel trails around a wetland area connecting to the Bear Creek Trail. A fenced dog park is also located southwest of the parking lot.

 

(F) Big Bear Blvd. Access

  • Big Bear Wayfinding
  • Photo of Bear Creek Trail access at Big Bear Blvd.

(F) Big Bear Blvd. Access

Map & Address: Big Bear Blvd

Trail: Bear Creek Trail

The Bear Creek Trail route runs along the sidewalk adjacent to Big Bear Blvd. until the road ends to the east. Access to the gravel trail is at the east end of Big Bear Blvd.

(G) Northland Dr. Access

  • Bear Creek Trail access off east side of Northland Drive
  • Bear Creek Trail access off west side of Northland Drive

(G) Northland Dr. Access

Map & Address: 3204 Northland Dr.

Trail: Bear Creek Trail

The Bear Creek Trail can be accessed off Northland Drive just south of Blue Ridge Road. Heading east from this point trail users are just 0.8 miles from Albert-Oakland Park. Cosmo Park is about 4.0 miles east of where the trail crosses Northland Drive.

(H) Blue Ridge Rd. Access

  • Bear Creek Trail access off Blue Ridge Drive
  • Trail bridge off Blue Ridge Drive

(H) Blue Ridge Rd. Access

Map & Address: Bear Creek Trail

Trail: Bear Creek Trail

(Opposite Secretariat Drive)

The trail access off Blue Ridge Rd. connects the surrounding neighborhood to the Bear Creek Trail. The access is signed and readily seen from the road. Entering the trail from this access, trail users are about 4.5 miles from Cosmo Park and about 0.3 miles from entering Albert-Oakland Park via the trail.

(I) Alaska Ct. Access

  • Trail access from Alaska Court
  • ADA walkway off Alaska Court to Bear Creek Trail
  • Alaska Court trail sign

(I) Alaska Ct. Access

Map & Address: 1705 Alaska Ct.

Trail: Bear Creek Trail

The Parks and Recreation Department purchased a 0.2 acre lot on Alaska Ct. for $16,000 in 2002 to provide access to the trail for residents of Northland Acres Estates. Parks and Recreation staff completed construction of an ADA walkway 2011, connecting Alaska Ct. to the Bear Creek Trail. The walkway switches back and forth to provide an ADA grade sidewalk down the steep slope on the lot.

(J) Parker St. Access

  • Bear Creek Trail access from Parker Street
  • Photo of trail facing toward Parker Street
  • Photo of Bear Creek Trail

(J) Parker St. Access

Map & Address: Parker St.

Trail: Bear Creek Trail

C. M. Albert Memorial Park, located in the southern portion of Albert-Oakland Park, can be accessed from the north end of Parker St. Trail users can access Bear Creek Trail to the west from this portion of the park. Where the trail enters the park is the 4.8 mile marker for the trail, with Cosmo Park being the 0.0 mile marker. (See Map of Bear Creek Trail.) To the east of the trail is one of two disc golf courses in the park. (See Map of Albert-Oakland Park.)

(K) Hwy. 763 to Albert-Oakland Park

  • Bridge near Blue Ridge Road on the Bear Creek Trail

(K) Hwy. 763 to Albert-Oakland Park

Map & Address: 1900 East Blue Ridge Rd.

Trail: Bear Creek Trail

Trail Miles: 1.3 miles (approx.), limestone

Support Facilities:

Parking, restrooms (open April 15 to October 15)

This section of the trail was completed in 2001 and dedicated on November 4, 2001. The trail is a 10-foot wide gravel surface with two 10-foot wide bridges over the Bear Creek. Much of this section closely parallels the creek, offering attractive views of the waterway and its limestone outcroppings.

Garth Wetlands Trail

  • Gravel Trails in Garth Nature Area Dog Park

Garth Wetlands Trail

Map & Address: 2799 N. Garth Ave.

Trail: Bear Creek Trail

Trail Miles: 1.6 miles, limestone

Maps & Documents:

Map of Garth Nature Area

A gravel trail loops from Bear Creek Trail to the north encircling a wetland area. An abundance of birds and other wetlands wildlife make this an interesting walk. The north wetlands loop trail is 0.5 miles in length. The distance between points where the wetlands loop leaves and re-connects to the main trail is an additional 0.2 mile making the total loop 0.7 miles in length. From the parking lot around the north wetland trail and back is 1.1 miles.

Winding gravel trails around the south wetlands provide an enjoyable experience for trail users and their dogs. This area was constructed in 2006/2007 and funded by a Recreational Trails Grant in the amount of $42,000 and $28,000 from the Park Sales Tax. Another $14,400 funded by the Park Sales Tax was used to construct the fenced leash-free area for dogs. This fenced 3-acre area encompasses a pond and has picnic tables on site.

Trail Information

Bear Creek Trail Map

Trail Guide Brochure

The Bear Creek Trail is located in northern Columbia and links two of the city’s most popular large parks, the 533-acre Columbia Cosmopolitan Recreation Area and the 81.5-acre Albert-Oakland Park. In general, the trail follows the natural drainage system of the Bear Creek and runs in an east/west direction across the northern part of the city. The limestone trail is approximately 4.8 miles in length.


Bear Creek Trail History

Capital Improvement Projects

Memorial/Heritage Benches

Program Information and Order Form

Some of the benches along the Bear Creek Trail and in Garth Nature Area are still available for adoption. Click on the links below for a map with the bench locations and for program information (cost, plaque information, sample photos, order form, etc.). The chart below shows which benches are available for adoption.

Map of bench locations

Bear Creek Trail Benches
BCT #1: Adopted BCT #12: Adopted BCT #23: Adopted
BCT #2: BCT #13: Adopted BCT #24:
BCT #3: BCT #14: Adopted GNA-A: Adopted
BCT #4: Adopted BCT #15: Adopted GNA-B: Adopted
BCT #5: BCT #16: Adopted GNA-C: Adopted
BCT #6: Adopted BCT #17: Adopted GNA-D: Adopted
BCT #7: Adopted BCT #18: GNA-E: Adopted
BCT #8: Adopted BCT #19: GNA-F:
BCT #9: Adopted BCT #20: GNA-G: Adopted
BCT #10: Adopted BCT #21: Adopted GNA-H: Adopted
BCT #11: Adopted BCT #22: GNA-I: Adopted