Watkins Mill State Park

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#1 of 1 trails in Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and State Historic Site
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Watkins Mill State Park is a 3.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Excelsior Springs, MO that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

3.8 miles 118 feet Loop
dogs on leash kid friendly birding camping fishing hiking road biking trail running walking beach forest lake wild flowers wildlife
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The trail at Watkins Mill State Park is a paved, easy loop great for all sorts of outdoor activities such as bike riding, running, and hiking. The trail loops around the lake, giving you views through gaps in the forest. Along the trail are picnic areas, a beach, an historical area, and fishing opportunities. Low elevation gain and a reasonable length makes this a perfect spot for beginners.

Dawn Taylor
4 months ago

17 Completed13 Reviews

Enjoyed walking the paved trail around the lake, but went "off-road" a few times to add some challenge and variety. Crossed the shallow creek, climbed above the trail along a rocky crag, and followed an improved trail that led to a picnic area. With all of the leaves down, it was cool to see other parts of this large state park. If you have time, be sure to visit the historic home, mill, and visitors center.

Dawn Taylor
6 months ago

17 Completed13 Reviews

Easy trip from Kansas City. I had been here a few years ago but hiked a different part of the park, near the historic buildings. But this time, I hiked/walked the PAVED BICYCLE LAKE TRAIL and was delighted with the beauty and variety. I had my trusty hiking dog with me, and he enjoyed it, too. On a gorgeous early fall day, there were lots of trail users, incl families with strollers and many bicyclists. I'll definitely come back with my bike some time.
I wanted to end the trip by seeing the historic buildings, so I made my way to the Visitors Center, but was disappointed to learn that they had changed the rules and accessibility for bringing dogs (on a leash); they no longer allow dogs in that section of the park, which you access through the Visitors Center. I couldn't find a "sneaky" way around. Instead, we walked up the paved road along side the Visitors Center toward a youth camp, then called it a day.

Karen Witten
11 months ago

7 Completed7 Reviews

Great loop trail, all paved, some wildlife, mostly shaded, very busy.

Soncereri Nutz
1 year ago

22 Completed21 Reviews

Good place to go for a hike around a 4 mile paved trail. You can bike ride as well. It stays moderate for the number of people seen!

Soncereri Nutz
1 year ago

22 Completed21 Reviews

Good "get out and hike" trail. For a while we would visit weekly just for the walk and to get away! The trail is paved and goes around a lake with several wooden bridge crossings. Stays pretty busy for a trail. The views are nice and Missouri has season changes to offer. There is a little stream that has a drop, I wouldn't call it a waterfall, but still very nice, and you can go right up to it to get some pictures, sit for a while, or just about anything else. Along the trail there is an opening to swim at from Memorial Day through Labor Day every year. So, you could make a stop along the way if you wish too!

Dannie Lochwood
1 year ago

21 Completed7 Reviews

This was a nice easy paved trail that circled the lake. Saw a lot of walkers and bikers.

Angela Buenning
2 years ago

7 Completed2 Reviews

Nice paved trail, frequent views of the lake, off-trails will lead you to some rock and water, lots of resting benches and a few restrooms along the trail.

Tammy Thieme
3 years ago

53 Completed19 Reviews

Nice paved trail. Was very busy. Went there in June. Nice stream to stop at. Easy walk at the park. Not secluded. Hard to find peace. Still worth the short drive there. Better for families and young children who maybe want to bike it.

Michael Weaver
3 years ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

I would rate this 5 stars but it's only 3.8 miles. Everything else about this trail is wonderful. I saw tons of wildlife and startled a deer that was standing on the trail. You have a nice view of the lake through about 3/4 of the hike. I would recommend parking at the swimming beach where there is more traffic instead of parking on a very isolated spot on the lake. That way the park rangers can actually see your vehicle. Can't wait to do this one again since its only 5 miles from my house. Thanks, Mike

Dan Anders
3 years ago

3 Completed3 Reviews

Have run this paved trail literally 50+ times over the last decade. Its a flat fast run, mostly shaded, very quiet, with a good balance of not being crowded and not being completely alone. For more adventurous runners or hikers, on the back side of the loop there is a terraced path up a hill to where the BoyScouts often camp. This path up the hill can be used to either add complexity or elevation to a run, or to also access a paved road that runs behind Watkins Mill park, to add additional mileage. Great trail; a family favorite of multiple generations. Thanks Buddy.

Doug Neidholdt
3 years ago

582 Completed592 Reviews

Did this trail several years ago with the scouts while visiting the historic mill. nice stroll, better with a bicycle. The state park has a nice for fee campground from primitive to RV.

Matthew Gooch
3 years ago

21 Completed18 Reviews

I grew up walking and biking around Watkins Mill. Now, as my wife and I decided to get into hiking, it was our first hike as well. This is a great multi-use trail for a beginner, or just someone looking to get out and enjoy a great day. There's plenty of wildlife to be seen, and as with all of Missouri's State Parks, there are a lot of other things to enjoy as well.

There's little elevation gain, and the trail is completely paved, so it's a very easy trail, but there's still some scenery, such as a small falls, and views of the lake, to make it interesting. There is a high possibility of wildlife sightings, too. I don't think I've ever been to the park without seeing lots of birds, deer, and other wildlife.