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Backyard Destinations


Rock Bridge State Park

Out and about in Columbia. Get to know these parks and nature areas in Columbia, or “CoMo”, for a great time in some fresh air.


Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

5901 South Highway 163

Rock Bridge Park provides several attractions: the half-mile Devil’s Icebox boardwalk, Connor’s Cave and an actual rock bridge. You can either explore the park on your own or take a guided tour. The 2,273-acre park encompasses 15 miles of trails, which are open to hikers, horseback riders and cyclists.

Peace Park

Elm Street and South 6th Street

Located between campus and downtown, Peace Park is the ideal setting for a study break. The open, grassy area provides great space for a game of Frisbee or a picnic. Take your PB&J and head down to Peace Park for a delightful lunch destination.

MKT Trail and Katy Trail

Five Accesses: Trailhead - Flat Branch Park (101 S. 4th Street - 4th & Cherry Street), 501 S. Providence Road, 800 S. Stadium Boulevard, 2701 Forum Boulevard, 3662 Scott Boulevard

Columbia’s major trail boasts 8.9 miles: 4.7 miles in the city and 4.2 miles in Boone County. It’s perfect for your morning jog, afternoon hike or evening walk. If you are really ambitious, you can take the MKT all the way to the Katy Trail. The Katy Trail is a 225 mile trail that has been converted from an old railway into a wonderful scenic route. Currently the trail extends from Clinton to St. Charles along the Missouri River. Take a day trip or a week-long cruise through Missouri.

Stephens Lake Park

2001 E. Broadway (East Broadway and Old Highway 63)

Stephen’s Lake Park features a beautiful 11-acre lake circled by a 0.6-mile trail for walking, running or biking. You can also fish on the east side of the boardwalk, boat in the lake go for a swim or plan in the spraygrounds.

Cosmo Park

1615 Business Loop 70 West

COSMO Park is known to be Columbia’s largest park. It is one of the most extensive parks around the area, loaded with different activities for you to partake in. It is full of many large fields used for soccer, football, lacrosse, gold, baseball, and softball. There are many different leagues that form each year through the Columbia Parks and Rec system. It also includes an impressive network of mountain biking and hiking trails. Also, COSMO is one of the only parks in the city that has a skate park used for tournaments and recreation throughout the year.

Grindstone Nature Area and Capen Park

Grindstone Nature Area - 2011 Old 63 South (property adjoins Capen Park)
Capen Park - 1600 Capen Park Drive (property adjoins Grindstone Nature Area)

Wander through the 230+ acres of natural Missouri landscape. Grindstone Nature Area is full of informal trails leading to wonderful landscapes of Creeks, limestone cliffs, and open grasslands. This is a great park to take a picnic or a long, relaxing hike.