Our first fall-like weekend was upon us in the St. Louis area and Nicole had asked me if I wanted to take a hike at Hawn State Park. This state park is about an hour and a half south of St. Louis and a great example of Missouri’s well-kept park system.
Hawn State Park is unique in the fact that its’ trail system is structured with loops and connectors meaning that you can hike for as little as 2 miles or for 10+ miles. We started our hike on the Pickle Creek Trail which in my opinion is one of the best trails in the park.
The trail parallels Pickle Creek which is a crystal clear, rocky creek. Small shut-ins along the creek provide opportunities for little waterfalls.
This trail is about a mile one-way and is rated as rugged due to the rocky terrain.
The trail ends when it meets up with the North Loop of the Whispering Pines trail. From here, we continued straight on the Whispering Pines trail. After just a little bit, the trail leads to an open area of exposed granite that Pickle Creek runs through.
Our main objective during out hike was for Nicole to find some pawpaws. I honestly had no idea what a pawpaw was, but Nicole soon taught me all I needed to know. Pawpaws grow along the banks of the creek and are only ripe for a very short period of time.
Luckily, we found a few ripe ones and I had my first taste. A pawpaw is an almost tropical-like fruit that tasted like a mix between a mango/peach/banana. It was delicious!
Side note: Ellie loves playing with balls. In the below picture, she thought the pawpaws were tennis balls and kept nudging them towards me hoping I would play.
We didn’t hike too far on the Whispering Pines Trail, but there is one other really neat feature that we saw. Nicole said it reminded her of Don Robinson State Park and she was right! There is this really need rocky overhang along the creek. I loved this little spot!
We turned around and crossed Pickle Creek on the Whispering Pines Trail. The trail climbs steadily uphill with some interesting rock formations along the way and eventually ends up back at the parking lot. We hiked about 3.5 miles in total.
All in all, Hawn State Park is a great park! The rocky landscape creates a rugged beauty that was fun to explore. Have you ever visited Hawn State Park?
Looks amazing. Missouri is a Midwest gem – there is really so much about Missouri and people should really take the time to visit. I live in Illinois but often visit Missouri for getaways – still have some family in southern parts of the state also. Great post and looks like you had great fun.
Interesting about the paw paws!