Mastodon State Historic Site:  Limestone Hill and Spring Branch, Imperial

Directions: From St. Louis:  HWY 55 south to Imperial Main (exit 186).  Turn right to West Outer Road.  Turn Left on Seckman Road.

Trail Information: Per Missouri State Park Website:
Limestone Hill Trail
Length: 1.75 Miles
Before Limestone Hill Trail splits off to the right from Spring Branch Trail, you will notice the Bollefer Springhouse on the left. Use caution when crossing Seckman Road; vehicles are often fast and frequent. Limestone Hill Trail is a steep and rugged hike with challenging slopes and rough terrain leading you along the base of a limestone bluff, up a hill through an oak hickory and cedar forest and across the hilltop with scenic views of Seckman Valley. There are several benches and overlooks along the trail. You will notice a variety of trees such as honey locust, sugar maple, dogwood, white oak, hackberry and cedars. Among the deep ravines and rough, protruding boulders, wildflowers such as columbine and wild hydrangea can be found growing in the midst of the woody vines and trumpet creepers. Small yellow and red funnel-shaped mushrooms may also be spotted poking through the dark green mosses on the limestone boulders.  
Spring Branch Trail
Length: .80 Mile
Sharing a trailhead with Limestone Hill Trail, this trail offers a leisure hike through a portion of the Rock Creek bottomland. The packed gravel surface is manageable for wheelchairs and strollers to follow a small stream flowing from the Bollefer Spring past remains of the Bollefer springhouse, built in 1837. This farming family stored perishables such as milk, eggs, fruits and vegetables before refrigeration was invented. 
Looping through a young forest of hackberry and box elder trees, the trail winds through sycamores and cottonwoods along Rock Creek, a popular place for wading during the summer. The creek also hosts a variety of aquatic wildlife. Continue through the box elder trees returning to the trailhead and picnic area.

Miscellaneous Information: Great trail running opportunity south of St. Louis.  Varied terrain including flat, crushed rock to steep hills and rocky ledges.  Combining both trails is about 3 miles.

Ken McDowell