5 Columbia bottom

5. “A big part of what Big Shark does in the community is programming. One of the hardest aspects of planning and executing local events is finding venues — and this has led us to really explore the region and its network of parks and municipalities. On the top of our list as a hidden gem is the River’s Edge Trail in Columbia Bottoms Conservation Area (801 Strodtman Road, 314-877-6014). Located, literally, where the mighty Mississippi and Missouri rivers collide, the trail is about 3.5 miles long and is on the very edge of the Missouri River banks. Walking next to moving water is always powerful, and the trail is always dynamically changing. Eagles and shore birds abound, and it makes you recall the importance of the great rivers to the history of St. Louis.” – Mike Weiss, owner, Big Shark Bicycle Co.

Pictured: Columbia Bottoms Conservation Area. Photo courtesy of Flickr / Sharla Matlock.