When starting either loop, you will begin running a flat gravel road that will eventually cut into the dirt trail. As you cross over multiple roots and occasional mud puddles, you will begin to break free from the stress and worries of the day. As the trail becomes thinner and the trees lean into the trail, you start to feel mother nature hug you tighter with every step. The trail’s progression is almost as if it was planned strategically to invite you from the road to dirt and then to the beautiful singletrack switchbacks and creek crossings.
Just after your first mile, you are faced with a breathtaking view overlooking the Katy Trail and the Missouri River. As you pause your watch to take in the moment, you cannot help but feel completely free. When you finally start running again, you will be soaring down the first of many downhills with soft dirt and lots of fun trees and roots to dodge. But like most of the great descents, there is a hill to climb once you get to the bottom. On the 5-mile Clark Trail, there are three larger hill climbs and several small rollers. The 8-mile Lewis Trail has quite a few larger climbs.
One of my favorite parts of trail running is water crossings! If it has rained in the few days before your run, you will have a few small creeks you can splash through. If water crossings just aren’t your cup of tea, you can normally navigate around the creeks easily on the short loop (Clark). The longer loop (Lewis) is a bit more difficult to avoid the creeks. In the summer they tend to be dry enough to avoid them completely.
See more from Matt on his Instagram.