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Honoring former President Ulysses S. Grant, this flat and relaxed 7.9-mile trail is easily accessible from downtown St. Louis. Grant’s Trail is well maintained with plentiful restrooms and drinking water facilities along the way. The route accommodates both functional and recreational uses while facilitating a historically and visually engaging experience. While the trail does require the user to navigate many street crossings, they are well signaled to promote safety, including a four-way stop that gives bicyclists the same status as cars!
You’ll find access to several historical sites along the trail, including Grant’s Farm, home to the 1850s four-room log cabin that the famed general and president built, as well as White Haven, another home owned by Grant and now operated by the National Park Service. While at White Haven, Grant approved construction of the Pacific Railroad (later known as the Missouri Pacific Railroad) through his property. Ground was broken for the railway in 1851, and it was billed at the time as “The First Railroad West of the Mississippi.” Grant’s Trail is built on the former Kirkwood-Carondelet Branch of the rail line.
Starting from Orlando Gardens on the trail’s east end, wooded areas complemented by creek crossings create a delightful experience. After 1.3 miles, you’ll arrive at the former Trailnet office that sits trailside at 3900 Reavis Barracks Road. This community development organization, which took the lead in collaborating with local and state government entities to create the trail, invites you to stop at their trailside outdoor seating area, where you’ll also find restrooms and drinking water.
Just over 4 miles later, Grant’s Farm, featuring an animal park and the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdale pastures, will come up on your left. Just beyond Grant’s Farm, consider stopping at Whitecliff Park with its wooded trails and other recreational facilities. To get there, turn left when the trail intersects Pardee Road; after only a tenth of a mile on this residential road, you’ll see the entrance sign for the park.
Two miles farther down the trail, you’ll cross I-44 on a bike-pedestrian bridge. If you’re up for more riding, you can continue pedaling on-road into downtown Kirkwood. From the trailhead, head north on South Holmes Avenue for 0.6 mile and turn left onto East Argonne Drive. In 0.8 mile, you’ll arrive at Kirkwood Station, a renovated 1893 depot, which is still in use today as an Amtrak train station.
Plans to extend the trail farther are continuing. Grant’s Trail is part of the larger Gravois Creek Greenway and plays an increasingly key link in the River Ring, a growing 600-mile network of interconnected trails and on-street bicycle routes throughout the St. Louis region. As of September 2017, construction is underway to connect the eastern end of Grant's Trail to the River Des Peres Greenway Trail.
To reach the Orlando Gardens trailhead from St. Louis, take I-55 south and exit at Union Road; then turn left onto Hoffmeister Ave. After a short distance, you will see the large parking lot on your right.
To reach the Kirkwood trailhead from St. Louis, take I-44 to Exit 279 for Berry Road; keep left at the fork to continue toward S. Berry Road. Turn left onto S. Berry Road, then right onto Big Bend Blvd. After 0.6 mile, turn right onto Melshire Ave. and, after 0.2 mile, take a right onto Holmes Ave. Very shortly thereafter, the trailhead parking lot will appear on your left.
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