We’ve been back in Missouri for just over 5 years now, and in that time I’ve taken my mountain bike out to Howell Island Conservation area three times. Howell Island is located in the Chesterfield valley, off of N. Eatherton Rd, if you’re coming from the outlet malls you will head south/west towards Centaur road.
The area is pretty darn flat, though some of the trails are heavily rutted from vehicular traffic and flooding damage. I’m assuming the vehicular traffic is farming or park related, but not sure on that.
Howell Island is a really simple multi-use trailer, with 8 miles of trails. It is a very easy mountain bike ride, and not a highly trafficked route by any means, according to Strava only 9 people have ever completed the outer loop in the counter clockwise direction (which is always the route/direction I ride). The trail is a mix of fields and wooded areas.
I’ve got a variety of shots I’ve taken at Howell Island over the years that you can see below to get an idea of a sample of the terrain.
Access to Howell Island Conservation Area
Access to Howell Island Conservation Area is available by caseway over the Centaur Chute. For foot and bike traffic access is limited to times when the Missouri River is below 16 feet on the Missouri River St. Charles gauge. Otherwise you can access it by boat, something I’ve never done.
To get there by foot/bike, you can park in the parking lot off of North Eatherton Rd in the Chesterfield valley. From there it is a simple ride up and over the Monarch Levy Trail. Once at the top of the levy trail you’ll see the path leading down to the river and depending on the river levels you will see a concrete route that will take you across to the island.
Here’s what it can look like when the water is up. Apparently it is a popular kayaking spot, I’ve seen people carrying what looked like a surf board back to the parking lot, and if you look up videos online you can find footage of kayaks going to town.
New Years Day 2018
I rode on New Years Day 2018, some photos from that day are posted in the album above. The river level was around 8’, and access was not a problem. It was a darn cold day however, with temps at 7am around –7, I decided I was going to get a ride in for New Years. Later in the day I found the motivation to get out and ride, so I threw some flat pedals on my Niner Air 9 and headed up to the parking area. It was a chilly day, with a riding temperature (Fahrenheit) average of 6, and a low of 3 degrees.
I was much warmer than I expected to be, below you can find a breakdown of what I wore for the ride.
Base layer – Pearl Izumi thermal tights/bib, Hincapee long sleeve jersey.
Mid layer – Under Armor long underwear pants and UA long sleeve shirt
Top layer – North Face convertible pants, Oakley outer shell.
Head – Wool Balaclava, Ski Helmet/Googles
Hands – Neoprene gloves, Waterproof/leather outer layer glove over Neoprene
Get out to Howell Island when you get the opportunity. If there is snow on the ground it can be a challenging route, depending on how much traffic it has had. 2 of the three times I’ve been there have been with snow on the ground, typically in the wooded areas the snow is lighter, easier to travel, than some of the field portions of the trailer where the snow can be deeper causing for slower travel times.