(This is the fifth post of my Twelve Hikes, Twelve Months series.)
I know, I know. How can a sculpture park possibly count as a hike?
Well, I can promise that if you’ve never been to Laumeier Sculpture Park, you’ll find yourself in for a bit of a hike when you go. It might not be one of the entirely rugged, natural type, but I found it a unique way to experience art in a natural setting.
Located near the 44 and 270 interchange in Kirkwood, Laumeier Park offers three short trails and participates in St. Louis County Park’s 30/30 Hikes Program. Two of the trails go through woodlands, and the main, paved path stays mostly out in the open and leads walkers past the most prominent art installations in the park, such as Tony Tasset’s Eye and Alexander Liberman’s The Way, both shown below.
On this particular visit, my friend Stephanie and I stayed on the Central Pathway, the main .64-mile trail, because we had decided spur of the moment to attend the Mother’s Day weekend Art Fair. This annual event attracts artists from all over and offers a variety of food vendors. So, even if you’re not feeling up for a long walk, you can still see some of the main attractions, eat some delicious food, and peruse artists’ wares.
After visiting the food vendors (toasted ravs, anyone?), we followed the Central Pathway trail to the back of the park to escape the crowds and stretch our legs a bit. Works of art are everywhere – a tree trunk covered in hammered metal, a chain of steel buoys tucked just into the woods, a pavilion with a roof shaped like flower petals. Visiting in the late afternoon also provided beautiful golden hour light.
If you’re looking for an out-of-the-box hike, I recommend giving Laumeier Park a chance. I’m looking forward to my next visit to complete the Art Hike Trail once real spring arrives.
Know Before You Go
Address: 12580 Rott Rd, St. Louis, MO 63127
Admission: Free, except for special events like the Art Fair.
Trails: Three trails are available, each less than a mile long. Laumeier’s detailed trail map also shows locations of the sculptures and works of art you can expect to see on whichever trail you choose.