State Park #24: Don Robinson State Park

This post is part of an ongoing series summarizing each State Park in Missouri that our family has attended. We hope to visit each of 54 State Parks before the kids graduate from high school.

We were knocking off 5 parks the weekend we visited Don Robinson State Park, and it was the third park that day that we hit, so suffice to say, the kids weren’t in the mood to do anything strenuous at this one. Still, we needed to check it off the list, so a stop was necessary!

Don Robinson State Park, like many State Parks in Missouri, stems from donated land collected by an individual (i.e. Don Robinson…..) that has been made available to the public for use. It’s close to St. Louis, so it generally attracts its citizens to the area for its hiking trails and camping. It’s actually one of the newest State Parks in Missouri, being established in 2017 after Robinson passed away in 2012. He began collecting more than 800 acres in Jefferson County, and he began living there in 1978.

There are two main trails in the park: the Sandstone Canyon Trail (3.9 mi), and the LaBarque Hills Trail (2.4 mi). I’ll let you get which one we did……

The park follows along the LaBarque Creek watershed, so it provides fishing opportunities with pretty clean water before it dumps into the Meramec River (which is decidedly muddier). The trails are likely very pretty during the Summer and Fall, but at this time of year, with trees only beginning to bud within the last month, there wasn’t much vegetation to help identify species or get a sense of the diversity of the plant landscape.

On the other hand, no bugs or spider webs, so ideal for going on a hike! The kids were not enthusiastic about it, but they handled the 2.4 miles pretty well. We were pretty to head to our hotel and grab dinner by the time we wrapped up, though.

It’s good to have a few longer trails like this available, though. A lot of State Parks we visit don’t have anything approaching 4 miles, so having some choices for longer hikes is good, especially in proximity to the greater St. Louis region. We didn’t really check out the camping options, as water was still shut off until the beginning of April, so it’s hard to get a sense of what camping is like there.

Don Robinson State Park is limited to picnicing, hiking, and camping, largely because it’s a pretty new park, so there hasn’t been much development. Still, as I said earlier, it’s good to have options near St. Louis, and this one seems pretty good!