Missouri State Parks boasts of 1,000 miles of trails, some long, some short. Here is a six-pack of short, but sweet, walks in the parks.

Missouri State Parks boasts of 1,000 miles of trails, some long, some short. Here is a six-pack of short, but sweet, walks in the parks.

Pickle Creek Trail, Hawn State Park: With the reputation of the prettiest trail in the one of the state’s prettiest parks, the .7-mile walk follows Pickle Creek, a clear, sandy-bottom stream that tumbles through granite boulders sculpted by water. It’s rocky, and slow going, but who’s in a hurry?

Shut-Ins Trail, Sam A. Baker State Park: The shaded trail follows the base of Mudlick Mountain for 1.25 miles through a bottomland forest that opens up onto a gravel bar with the perfect Ozarks swimming hole.

Lake Trail, Watkins Woolen Mill Park: This trail is a little longer at 3.75 miles, but is paved and good for bicycles. The trail circles the 100-acre Williams Creek Lake, a pit stop for migrating birds in winter.

Colosseum Trail, Ha Ha Tonka State Park: The .70-mile trail winds under a 70-foot-wide natural bridge and through the Colosseum, which is a 150-foot-deep sinkhole. In winter, the water seeping through the rock walls freezes into ice sculptures.

Gayfeather Trail, Prairie State Park: This 1.5-mile loop goes through Regal Prairie. The trail is named for the wildflower that blooms in spring and the prairie is named for the endangered regal fritillary butterfly. The park’s bison herd sometimes grazes on the prairie. Short-eared owls are winter visitors.

Spring Trail, Bennett Spring State Park: The trail follows the west side of the spring branch for .60 mile from the spring to the hatchery area. Trout can be seen in the reeds along the bank, hiding from the anglers on the other side.

Short hikes story provided by Missouri State Parks, www.visit mostateparks.com.