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Trails

We checked out the photos posted around Columbia to find out what people are Instagramming the most, and there are definitely some favorite spots! Take a look at our list of ‘must-Instagram’ places in CoMo:

The Columns

Duh, right? Mizzou’s opens in a new windowiconic Columns are the 2nd most photographed spot in Missouri – so obviously it’s a can’t-miss for any Instagrammer visiting CoMo.

City Hall

City Hall is a beautiful building but to make it even more Insta-worthy, there’s this unique  opens in a new windowKeys to the City sculpture in front commemorating Columbia’s history.

CoMo trails

We have 60+ miles of trails, and the MKT has even been voted the 2nd opens in a new windowbest urban trail in the nation. Lucky for us we also have a great Parks and Recreation department to keep the trails in good shape and looking beautiful.

Festivals

While not exactly a ‘place,’ Columbia is home to so many awesome  opens in a new windowfestivals like Roots N Blues N BBQ, opens in a new windowTrue/False Film Fest, Art in the Park, Citizen Jane Film Fest, the Heritage Festival, Unbound Book Festival, and more.

Capen Park

opens in a new windowCapen Park provides picture-perfect views from the bluffs, and who doesn’t want to Instagram fall colors, a bluff-top sunrise, or cute pups on a hike? (We know there are daredevils out there but we do not recommend getting close to the edge.)

Memorial Union

The tower of Memorial Union was completed in 1926 as a tribute to students who lost their lives in World War I. One of opens in a new windowMizzou’s many traditions involves always tipping your hat and whispering when walking underneath the tower to honor the fallen soldiers. The tower is popular on Instagram because of the gorgeous architecture (and it reminds Harry Potter fans of Hogwarts, so there’s that, too).

Columbia’s Skyline

From parking garages, The Roof, hot air balloons… you name it, photos of Columbia from above are another ‘must-have’ for Instagram.

Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

opens in a new windowRock Bridge is kind of like our hidden secret: not many visitors know about the caves, natural rock bridge, sinkholes, and everything else that can be found in the park. There are eight major trails for you to explore – but definitely check out the plank trail that takes you to Connor’s Cave (Devil’s Ice Box is currently closed to protect the bats) and by the rock bridge for great photo opportunities.

Food from Local Restaurants

Nachos from opens in a new windowAddison’s, ice cream from opens in a new windowSparky’s, opens in a new windowHarold’s Doughnuts, Shakespeare’s Pizza, etc. We have so many opens in a new windowdelicious restaurants – foodies (and Instagrammers) rejoice!

Public art

Columbia is full of random art – opens in a new windowtraffic box art, wall murals, opens in a new windowstorm drain paintings, sculptures, and more. Learn more about our public art and how to take a self-guided public art tour from the opens in a new windowOffice of Cultural Affairs.

Honorable mention: The Big Tree

opens in a new windowThe Big Tree is just south of Columbia off of Route K, and is worth the short drive or bike ride. If you have never seen it, you’re probably thinking, “what’s the big deal about a tree?” We think the photos speak for themselves, but if you want stats: this tree is the largest bur oak tree in Missouri, and is around 350 years old, 90 feet tall, and has a circumference of 287 inches. It has survived floods, lightning strikes, and the occasional vandalism, and locals and visitors love stopping by The Big Tree for picnics and photos. Just trust us on this one.


What do you think? Did we include everything or did we miss something? Tag us on opens in a new windowInstagram and use #ShowMeCoMo!

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Spring is arriving, and that means more time in the great outdoors! Check out a few of our favorite parks and trails below, and find out what you shouldn’t miss out on.

MKT Trail

What to do: The MKT Trail is a CoMo favorite. Walk, run, bike – even work out at the fitness stations located at the Stadium and Forum trailheads. The trail stretches for 8.9 miles from Flat Branch Park in downtown Columbia until it reaches the Katy Trail near McBaine

Don’t miss the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial at Battle Garden, located at the Stadium trailhead. The structure includes eight columns, each of which holds an excerpt from King’s writings.

Cosmo Park

What to do: Cosmo Park has something for everyone – trails, soccer and football fields, tennis and volleyball courts, a skate park, an off-leash area for dogs, playgrounds, a mountain bike trail, and more. Pack a lunch and take a break in one of the park’s nine shelters.

Don’t miss the newly-renovated Steinberg Playground, which includes an updated version of a beloved past favorite, the rocket ship, along with dinosaur features, a tire climbing area, slides, swings, and other play structures. The playground is the largest in Columbia’s park system and will keep the kids entertained for hours.

Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

What to do: You can hike, bike, and even horseback ride (Gans Creek Trail) through Rock Bridge Memorial State Park’s 20+ miles of trails. With so many trails, you’re certain to find one suited to your level of adventure.

Don’t miss the park’s natural karst features. While Devil’s Icebox cave is currently closed to protect the bats that inhabit it, you can explore Connor’s Cave from May through September. Be sure to check out the natural rock bridge that gave the park its name.

Twin Lakes Recreation Area

What to do: Twin Lakes Recreation Area can be used for non-motorized boating, fishing, and jogging, and includes a playground and shelter area. In the summer months, take the kiddos to Little Mates Cove swim area to cool off.

Don’t miss the off-leash dog parks – Lakeside Dog Park for dogs of all sizes and Paws Pond Dog Park for small dogs. Your pooch will love making new friends and swimming in the lake.

Finger Lakes State Park

What to do: Activities at Finger Lakes State Park include hiking, mountain biking, fishing, boating, and camping. Finger Lakes is one of only two ATV parks in the state park system – you can use the 5.25 mile trail or explore the 900 acres of open riding area designated for ATVs. The park offers both basic and electric campsites, and showers are available April-October. Also available to park users are a swimming beach and boat ramp.

Don’t miss the 4.5 mile water trail on Peabody Lake. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent from the park office March 15 – November 15.


Get out there and enjoy CoMo’s awesome opens in a new windowparks and trails.

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One of Missouri’s most popular features is the Katy Trail, a statewide trail that connects west to east, with a short spur called the MKT that lands you right in downtown Columbia. Once you’re here, there are so many other trails to explore it’s tough to know where to start! Here are a few options sure to be a hit.

opens in a new windowBear Creek Trail

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With multiple access points, Bear Creek Trail winds nearly five miles through northern Columbia and connects two of the city’s most popular parks, Cosmo and Albert-Oakland. The trail is crushed limestone and runs through wooded areas, wetlands, open spaces and residential neighborhoods. The trail also follows the general direction of its namesake water system, Bear Creek.

opens in a new windowRhett’s Run

RRCollage

Have mountain biking on your mind? Head to Rhett’s Run. This 2.4 mile dirt run is a challenging one and was designed by  Brian Stickel and John Bailey of Mountain Designs, key course designers for the 1996 Olympic mountain bike courses. The trail originates in Cosmo Park and runs through 75 acres of beautiful wooded area.

opens in a new windowCounty House Trail

CHTCollageCounty House Trail is a two-mile long trail in the southwest area of the city that extends from Stadium Blvd. at College Park Drive to the MKT Trail at Twin Lakes Recreation Area. It is an 8-foot-wide concrete trail with a gravel side path between Stadium and the Twin Lakes Recreation Area entrance. Once inside Twin Lakes Recreation Area, the trail routes through the parking lot and around the lake where it connects to the the MKT Trail on the southeast corner of the park.

These are just three options of dozens here in Columbia. Check out the list of community and neighborhood trails and pick one to explore every time you visit Columbia!

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Only in Columbia…

Columbia is fortunate enough to have an abundance of green spaces throughout the city. With over 60 city parks, there’s always somewhere to take a jog, play with your kids or spread out a picnic blanket. One of the hallmarks of the city’s parks and trails system is the opens in a new windowMKT Trail.

Winding 8.9 miles through the city, the crushed limestone surface of the MKT Trail is built in the old railbed of the MKT train line. With five access points, most with parking next to the trail, the MKT is ideal for a quick jog or a day long adventure.

The picturesque Flat Branch Park marks the beginning of the MKT.

The trail begins at the Flat Branch Park trailhead and weaves through neighborhoods, nature areas and open spaces.

If you happen through the Stadium section of the trail, make sure to walk through the parking area to explore the beautiful Marting Luther King Jr. Memorial at Battle Gardens. A mixture of sculpture and beautiful landscaping, the gardens are a peaceful spot to rest during your time on the trail.

Bridge on MKT Trail after snow.

The trail truly is an all-weather surface and is open for cross country skiing when snow falls. The quiet landscape, flat land and gorgeous scenery make it the perfect cross country skiing locale. Have a new kind of trail experience this winter.

After the MKT makes its nearly nine mile journey through Columbia, it meets with the statewide opens in a new windowKaty Trail at the Hindman Junction in McBaine. From there, users can travel east or west on the Katy, which stretches over 225 miles across Missouri. Not only is the MKT Trail a uniquely Columbia experience, it also serves as a gateway to a national treasure in the Katy Trail. Next time you’re in town, hop on the MKT and see where it takes you.

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