Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 24
RM | OUTDOORS
TWO RIVERS MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK
Discover the great outdoors on a mountain bike
by Jim McCarty | firstname.lastname@example.org
ike a lot of people locked down
during Missouri's COVID-19
shutdown, Wade Gaylord
couldn't wait to get outside.
Once restrictions lifted, he loaded up
his bike and hit the trail. "I was fortunate to buy my bike off Craigslist just
before I got laid off from my construction job," says the Hillsboro resident
while riding the Zombie Trail in St.
Louis County. "This is all I do now."
Wade is just one newcomer to
mountain biking who emerged from
the shutdown to discover Missouri is
home to hundreds of miles of sweet
Eric Pirtle, a mountain bike racer
and rep for Giant bicycles says he saw
the sport really take off in the spring.
"One of the stores I work with had
a big sale in March," he says. "I saw
parents come in and buy bikes for
everyone in the family."
The trend is fueled by Missouri's
status as a destination for trail riders
of every level. It's not just the state's
cities that play host to off-road cyclists. Increasingly, small towns are
discovering that mountain biking is
one form of tourism that can withstand even a pandemic.
"I didn't know it was going to draw
RURAL MISSOURI | OCTOBER 2020
the number of people that it has,"
Warsaw Mayor Eddie Simons says of
the town's Truman Lake Mountain
Bike Park. "You can come down here
and it's not unusual to see ﬁve or six
license plates from different states.
It's beneﬁted everyone."
From the Forest City Trail in St.
James to the 24 miles of the Wolf
Creek Trail near Poplar Bluff, mountain bikers are discovering not only
the trails they crave but the small
towns that foster them. Here's a look
at some of what awaits off-road cyclists in Missouri.
SHEPHERD MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK
Looming above Ironton is Shepherd Mountain, which towers 600 feet
above the former mining town. Soon it
will be home to one of Missouri's most
ambitious mountain bike projects.
Set for a spring 2021 opening, Shepherd Mountain Bike Park has cyclists
drooling and tourism outlets anticipating a surge in business.
That's because it will offer something previously lacking in Missouri - gravity-fed downhill excitement. One section of the expert level
downhill trail is already complete. It
features a near vertical 20-foot cedar
plank drop in, jumps from granite
boulders and a wooden ramp off an
incline that will launch the intrepid
down the mountain.
There's another black-diamond line
that will roll off a 25-foot ledge down
a banked spiral - with no guardrails.
Green (beginner) and blue (intermediate) trails will cater to those not yet
ready for the gnarly stuff.
And that's just Phase 1. Down the
road, city ofﬁcials say 10 to 15 more
miles of trails "for people less inclined
to ride down the mountain at 50 mph"
will be added, along with camping,
access to Shepherd Mountain Lake, a
skills park for kids and paths so riders can pedal to area attractions.
More information can be found at
STATE PARK TRAILS
When Mike Sutherland took over
as director of Missouri State Parks,
he set a goal for himself. A longtime
mountain bike rider, he wants to ride
every state park trail. "I'm kind of on
my way to doing that but I still have a
long way to go," he says.
Missouri's State Parks have embraced mountain biking with quality
trails at dozens of parks and at least
one state historic site. From Crowder
and Thousand Hills state parks in
the north to Stockton and Table Rock
state parks in the south, there are
Rural Missouri - October 2020
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