The Great Outdoors

There is an abundance of opportunities to take in a breath of fresh air within Columbia’s city limits. With trails, parks and more to choose from, it’s easy to see why we love to spend time in mid-Missouri’s great outdoors.

Columbians love our trail systems! A study shows 82 percent enjoy using our extensive trail system, which includes eight major trails, two mountain bike trails, 16 community park trails, 20 neighborhood park trails and eight connectors that wind in and around the city.

With plans for even more walking and biking trails in the near future, the love will only continue to grow. “Ultimately, we’d love to complete a 30-mile loop around Columbia. Imagine how great it would be to walk, run or ride all around Columbia just by using trails. The number of events you could have on this system would be incredible and would set Columbia apart as a great trail destination site,” says Columbia Parks and Recreation Director Mike Griggs.

Our city and state parks provide acres of space for Columbia’s youth and adults to play and embrace their inner adventurer. Stephens Lake Park in Columbia offers a bounty of different activities all year round, but it really comes to life in the warmest months, when the lake is warm enough for swimming and kayaking.

At Rock Bridge State Park, you can hike and bike, and if you’re extra adventurous, even take a try at spelunking through nearby cave openings.

“My favorite park has and will always be Cosmo Park,” says Griggs. “From being a kid and watching the 4th of July fireworks in the park with my parents to playing adult softball, Cosmo will always be my favorite. I grew up playing youth sports on those fields and then played untold number of adult slow-pitch softball at both Antimi and Rainbow Softball Center. As a parent, I was fortunate to be able to coach my two sons through the various amateur sports leagues that played at Cosmo. The generations of memories that include Cosmo Park makes it extremely important to me.”

The Big Muddy
Many in our community who love the outdoors are also enamored with the slow-moving river that winds along our southern border. There are many ways to enjoy the Missouri River, whether you want to get up close and personal or just enjoy the view from afar. For a river experience accompanied by live music and good food, head out to Cooper’s Landing just outside Columbia’s city limits. If you’re looking to experience wildlife along the river, Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area is the place to be.

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