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The Greater St. Louis area is dominated by the “Great Rivers.” While the Mississippi River gets most of the attention, the Missouri River is not one to be taken for granted. An emerging trail system along the Missouri is forming, which offers more than 10 miles of paved trail in two disconnected sections. The Monarch-Chesterfield Levee Trail provides an interesting way to see the river and to get around the developing suburb of Chesterfield.
Beginning at Centaur Road on the western end of the longer segment, you are immediately high above the surrounding landscape on top of the levee. A wonderfully maintained asphalt surface is a constant enjoyment along this trail. Sights include farm fields and heavy timber at the river’s edge, as well as some great airplane viewing, as you are very close to the Spirit of St. Louis Airport.
A retail shopping center comes into view as you near I-64. The trail heads under the interstate, but it’s worth noting that there’s a trail separated from traffic on the interstate bridge over the Missouri River that you could take to meet the Katy Trail State Park on the other side.
Once under the bridge, the trail takes you back on top of the levee and through the Chesterfield Valley Athletic Complex, where you’ll find baseball diamonds, soccer fields, and plenty of parking. At this park is a rest area with benches and artistically designed shade structures, which are good to take advantage of as there’s not much naturally occurring shade to be found on the levee. After another 3 miles of farm fields and retail establishments, you’ll arrive at the end of this section of trail behind the Hardee’s Iceplex.
Just on the other side of US 61/I-64, along Bonhomme Creek, is the shorter, 2.5-mile segment of the trail. Traveling east to west, this stretch of trail parallels Edison Avenue and allows easy access to a myriad of shopping, dining, and entertainment establishments that dominate this area. A mural greets trail users right after the Baxter Road crossing. While this trail is in a very busy area, the creek and surrounding riparian corridor allow for some interesting bird sightings along the way. The trail ends at a well-developed trailhead not far from a commercial area of the city.
The closest parking lot to the west end of the trail is located 4.2 miles east of the terminus. To reach the Chesterfield Valley Athletic Complex trailhead, from I-64, take Exit 14 toward Spirit of St. Louis Blvd. At the traffic circle, take the exit onto N. Outer 40 Road. Take an immediate turn north and then east into the athletic field parking area and trailhead.
To reach the Hardee’s Iceplex trailhead from I-64, take Exit 17 for Boones Crossing and turn north. Turn east onto N. Outer 40 Road and go 0.9 mile to Hardee’s Iceplex, on the north side of the road with the trailhead in the back.
To reach the Edison Ave. trailhead from I-64, take Exit 17 for Boones Crossing and turn south. Turn west onto Chesterfield Airport Road and travel 0.9 mile. Turn south onto Long Road. Go 0.3 mile and turn east onto Edison Avenue. The trailhead is immediately on the south side of the road.
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