Treat yourself to outdoor activities for the whole family during this exceptionally warm Christmas weekend

Winter officially started last Tuesday, but the forecast for this weekend will be positively spring-like. Here is an idea of ​​outdoor activities to enjoy the mild weather: hiking and biking. Since many businesses will be closed over the Christmas holidays, this is a great opportunity to experience the wealth of trails in eastern Missouri.

Among the cyclists planning to ride the trails is Galit Lev-Harir, a member of Congregation B’nai Amoona and the Israel-American Council.

“What people might not realize is that there are over 100 miles of trails in the St. Louis area that are maintained by volunteers from an organization called GORC, which is Gateway Off Road Cyclists,” she said. “We go out regularly and do trail maintenance.

“Here in Missouri, all of our trails are multi-use trails,” she said. “That means they can be used by hikers, runners, cyclists or horse riders.”

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One of Lev-Harir’s favorite spots is the Zombie Trail. The main trailhead for the 22-mile trail is located at 777 Ridge Road in the Ridge Meadows Elementary School parking lot.

“It’s so pretty,” Lev-Harir said. “There is nothing like it. There is a lookout from where you can look down and see the whole valley below. It’s a phenomenal view.

According to Sierra Club outing coordinator Jim Rhodes, there are “literally hundreds of trails in and around the St. Louis area. We are lucky here in this part of Missouri to have such a wealth of great trails.

In addition to the Zombie Trail, Rhodes suggested the Al Foster Trail in Wildwood. The 30-mile trail offers scenic views of cliffs, forest areas, and the Meramec River.

“The Al Foster trail is easy to get to and it’s very easy to maintain a six-foot distance from other hikers there,” he said.

Rhodes recommends the book “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: St. Louis” by Steve Henry for a detailed list of trails in the area. If you’re a novice hiker, it’s a good idea to wear a sturdy, comfortable pair of walking shoes or boots and pack a pocket first aid kit and compass. A sturdy water bottle is good to have, and a cane can provide stability over rough terrain.

Downtown Skating

Another family-friendly outdoor option starting this weekend is the Gateway Arch Park Foundation’s Winterfest at Kiener Plaza at 500 Chestnut Street in downtown St. Louis. Winterfest is open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on December 25 and from noon to 8 p.m. from December 26 to January 2.

Winterfest will also feature holiday lights, music, festive food and drink, cozy igloos and s’mores. Families can ring in the New Year on Friday, December 31 at Winterfest’s New Year’s Eve neon nights celebration. The event will feature neon parties with DJ MaKossa, makeup artists, a balloon artist, a skating “Wild Lights” juggler, fire dancers, photo ops, giveaways and fireworks at 8 p.m.