Join us for a late winter/early spring hike along the trails at Salt Lick Point Land & Water Reserve across the Mississippi River from St. Louis in Valmeyer, Illinois. STL chapter pilgrims Mary Baldree, Ann Becker, and Barbara Rawlins will guide us on this hike.
This 600-acre reserve includes one of the highest points in Monroe County, IL. With a combination of hill prairies and limestone glades, the diverse habitat is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, and a scenic overlook with beautiful views of the Mississippi River flood plain and St. Louis skyline.
The trail system includes an easy walk along the base of the bluff, a moderate trail into the heart of the reserve and to several hill prairie overlooks, and a more challenging climb to the top of the bluff and scenic overlook.
Meet at the trailhead for the Salt Lick trail off Bluff Road. To find that trailhead search “Salt Lick Point Land And Water Reserve, Valmeyer, IL 62295”. This trailhead is about 20 minutes from the Jefferson Barracks Bridge.
NOTE: There are two trailheads. Be sure to use the trailhead info noted above. If you simply search “Salt Lick” you will likely be directed to another trailhead for the Newman trail near a church in the town of Valmeyer. This is NOT the trailhead where we will meet.
We will begin at the Salt Lick trailhead off Bluff Road. The first 0.9 miles has some steep climbs, including steps at the beginning. After that is a stop with a bench, a sign, where the trail splits to the Newman and rest of the Salt Lick (which circles back to the parking lot). We will go left on the Newman, which will take us to the scenic overlook. After the overlook, the Newman winds down to the bottom of the bluff where we will reach a trail crossing.
Depending on weather, time, group vibe, and individual preferences, we have the option when we arrive at this crossing to continue on the Newman Trail for a 2-mile up-and-back that follows along a creek and has several water crossings.
From the Newman Trail and Johnson Trail crossing, we will take the Johnson Trail (all flat) to return to the parking lot.
Total distance for this hike is approximately 3 miles without the additional section of the Newman Trail, or about 5 miles with it.
CAUTION: Stay on marked trails. Use caution at overlooks as the trail runs close to bluff edges. Do not step off marked trails, as the reserve does have abandoned mine shafts and unstable cliffs.
The trailhead where we gather has a port-a-potty (the only facilities you’ll find), and a few picnic tables.
After the hike, we’ll make the short 15-minute drive to the Hopskeller Brewing Company in Waterloo, IL, for continued Camino conversation over a casual lunch. (Individuals responsible for their Hopskeller tab.)
WHAT TO BRING
• Plenty of drinking water
• Appropriate footwear
• Hiking poles
• Warm layers
• Rain gear