BALLWIN, MO. - This Thursday’s course will explore nearly all of the classic Grotpeter Trail at Castlewood State Park, taking in views of Kiefer Creek as it heads towards the Meramec River. Featuring one main climb and (at least) one creek crossing, this approximately 4 mile trail should provide a great opportunity for some fast times as the daylight starts fading us on sooner and sooner.
The course starts at our usual point near the pavilion and will immediately cross Kiefer Creek Road and follow it for a short while until the horse trailer turn-around. We’ll stick to the grass area off the pavement and join a brief section of the Grotpeter Trail up to the Park Office and then head back through the meadow and crossing Kiefer Creek Road once more to head up the climb on Grotpeter. This long section of slow climb has some beautiful views of Kiefer Creek and the park below as you head up the bluffs. The climb gets steeper as you head north on the trail until you hit a nice plateau on the top of the ridge that you’ll follow for much of the next mile. After one brief elevation gain on the west side of Ries Rd., the rest is almost all down hill along the switch backs of Justin’s Trail.
You’ll cross to the south side of Kiefer Creek Road for the final three quarters of a mile back to the finish line, but you’ll have to cross Kiefer Creek to reach it. The final stretch after the crossing will follow the flat stretch of the Lone Wolf Trail along Kiefer Creek back to the bridge and across the road to the finish and the refreshments waiting there for you.
Approximate distance is 4 miles. Lowest elevation: 427 ft above sea level. Highest elevation: 650 ft.