Outdoor locations for a clear mind

Part of the Katy Trail in Missouri

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Part of the Katy Trail in Missouri

February is right around the corner, as well as five day in-person learning. For some students, this may relieve stress by having more time in the classroom and being closer to staff that can help with issues on curriculum. But for others who are a bit more anxious about the stresses of going back to school five days a week, or are just stressed in general, it might help to clear your mind with some outdoor activities. 

In and around the Washington area, there are multiple trails and parks which may allow some nice scenery for you while you get some fresh air to relieve stress. The Katy Trail is probably the most popular, extending across the state of Missouri, with trailheads in Dutzow and Augusta right across the river. Nearly 240 miles long, the trail makes up part of the historic Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail which extends to Washington state. 

For some hiking or biking through Katy Trail, the state park’s website recommends viewing the limestone bluffs that border the Weldon Spring Conservation Area. This area between Defiance and Weldon Spring aside Route 94 contains the 10 mile “Lost Valley” trail, which contains connections to the Katy Trail. Fire and Prairie Lakes provide those who like to fish in their spare time a chance of catching catfish, crappie, sunfish, black bass and white bass.

If you’re looking for something closer to Washington to visit for some peace and quiet, stopping by Lions Lake is an obvious choice. The Miller-Post Nature Preserve added to the park in 2017 offers a short two-mile trail for visitors to walk through and enjoy the scenery.

Considering it will be February, this may not be the most ideal time to visit outdoor parks due to the climate and lack of color. But while the bare winter scenery may not be all that serene to some, to others who just need some fresh air or like the aesthetic of the winter season, these areas are some interesting local picks. Make sure to plan accordingly for whatever activities you want to partake out there and check the weather forecast. For a still uncertain and anxiety-inducing time, going outside and appreciating nature is a great way to take a mental break for a while.