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Featured National Recreation Trails

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Every kind of trail activity is represented in the listing of designated NRTs. Besides hiking and bicycling, the system includes water trails, motorized routes, snow tracks, greenways, and equestrian paths. The NRT program showcases the diversity of trails across America, from our cities and suburbs to the deserts, waterways, and high mountains.


South Creek Greenway National Recreation Trail- Springfield, Missouri

The eight-mile paved linear park runs through the middle of Springfield, Missouri. It's used for biking, walking, running, enjoying nature close to home, and commuting without a car to work or school.


Missouri Map

photo of kids on trail

Footbridge on the South Creek Greenway in Springfield, MO

From Ozark Greenways


The South Creek Greenway (SC) is the quintessential urban trail, set in a natural landscape that’s been carefully preserved within a heavily developed city. Tthis paved trail pays enormous benefits for the residents and visitors of the Springfield, Missouri, community.

This is not just a trail for recreational use, it’s far more. It reaches a wide audience of income levels, ages, ethnicities and physical abilities. It allows children to walk or bike to school safely— in a culture where kids are becoming obese at an epidemic rate. It helps manage urban storm water within its wide natural borders— in an area where parking lots seem to outnumber trees. It raises property values and quality of life— in a world where value is taking on new meaning.

And it gives hope for the future – in unstable times, the trail is there. The trail keeps us healthy, ensures economic value, protects critical resources like air and water, and reminds us why we love the beauty of the Ozarks. This trail is a symbol of stability and our pride in this beautiful Midwestern community.

This project began with a ground breaking in 1993. We could not have gotten to the current 8 miles of heavily used trail without the many private and public partnerships we’ve been fortunate to form.

photo of blactop trail in snow


By utilizing a combination of public and private voluntary land easements, securing buy-in from our city, county and state officials, and resting on a solid base of private membership donation support, Ozark Greenways has successfully created the strong backbone to a comprehensive greenway trail system that will hopefully continue to grow as more light is shed on the importance of these facilities to the vitality of our community. Recognition through the NRT designation reaffirms to our local officials and donors what we’re trying to accomplish and helps us continue building more trail connections. There is much more to be done.

We have a great partnership with the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, as they manage the trail as part of the city park system. We’ve also been very successful working with Springfield Public Works to partner on enlarging storm water culverts to allow for more water while also improving trail user safety by bypassing heavily trafficked roads by removing at-grade crossings. SC has four underpasses and one large overpass as a result of these types of partnerships – not to mention the project money saved for both all parties by teaming up! Other partners on this project include MoDOT, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Springfield Public School District and the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau. A long-term goal for this trail is to link to the NPS’s Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.

SC links to other community trails through on on-street bike route system being developed by our Public Works Department. Some of the best features of this trail are the four underpasses and the large Kansas Expressway overpass that allow bicyclists and pedestrians to avoid crossing very heavily trafficked roads.

photo of kids on trail


Three schools are located along its route and signed for the national Safe Routes to School program initiative (Holland Elementary, Carver Middle, Mark Twain Elementary). We received a $20,000 grant from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks to create neighborhood sidewalk connections to further enhance these school routes.

Various innovative design features of this trail include: native prairie restoration areas, footbridge made of Rumber (recycled tire lumber), an awesome 900 foot long highway overpass that meets ADA standards, four underpasses that bypass busy roadways. Along the trail’s route, there are two parks, a creek, botanical gardens, a small lake, a horse farm, golf course, historic cemetery, several schools, many neighborhoods and shopping areas.

Bass Pro Shops holds its annual Outdoor Fitness Festival, with a 5K/10K and marathon on a portion of the trail, complete with internationally known running celebrities. The Ozarks Chapter Audubon Society has restored a wetland along side one mile of this trail. Toyota’s “Together Green” national initiative program with Audubon worked on this trail to promo environmental stewardship across the country. Numerous fundraising events are held on the trails by various non-profit community groups. The Ozark Greenways volunteer group, Trail Watch, monitors the trail for situations that need attention and interact with the public. We cannot rave about this trail enough— it truly is a major asset for Springfield.

Location and trailhead:

The South Creek Greenway follows South Creek through the middle of Springfield, Missouri. There are several access points, from the first trailhead at National Avenue and Sunset Street all the way to M Highway and FF Highway.

For more information:

Ozark Greenways, P.O. Box, 50733, Springfield MO 65805
Phone: (417) 864-2015 - Website:

Springfield-Greene County Park Board
1923 N. Weller, Springfield, Missouri, 65803,
Phone: 417-864-1049 - Website:

Photos below: before and after construction of the trail underpass at Campbell Street

photo of kid on trail   photo of bikes on trail

trail noteWe frequently add NRT information, photos and maps to these pages. Send suggestions and information requests to American Trails. Research additional NRTs in the NRT database. Trail managers can update online trail information in the NRT database. You may also e-mail information on minor changes or to update Featured NRT pages.



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The on-line database has details on the currently designated National Recreation Trails. The NRT Program online is hosted by American Trails:


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