800 Guy Park Drive
Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park is one of Missouri's oldest, largest, and more popular state parks. The Missouri state park system was barely 20 years old in 1937, when Jacob and Henry Babler presented the state with 88 acres in memory of their brother, Edmund, a prominent St. Louis surgeon who was noted for his service to the unfortunate and needy. The park has since grown to encompass 2,441 acres of rugged hills, valleys, and ravines much like the Ozark region of Missouri. Jacob Babler, an early crusader on behalf of a state park system for Missouri, campaigned for the use of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers to develop the park. He was an almost daily visitor while two companies of 200 men cut roads through the hilly countryside, and built scenic viewpoints, trails, and covered shelters. The buildings and bridges, including a massive stone gateway, were made from stones quarried from the area. Twenty-two CCC structures at Babler State Park are now included in the National Register of Historic Places. Jacob Babler commissioned a New York sculptor to create a life-size bronze statue of his brother, still a focal point of the park, was unveiled during the dedication ceremony in 1938.
Today, Jacob Babler's dream is valuable green-space oasis amid the suburban St. Louis landscape. Hiking, nature study, and wildlife viewing are popular activities. Babler State Park offers six unique trails totaling over 13 miles. A horse trail, a paved trail, and four looped hiking trails offer different views, landscapes and distances that wind their way through the park's narrow coves, deep sheltered valleys and towering forests. Two miles of trail are paved; however, the trail contains slopes that may be prohibitive to some users. More than 200 picnic sites provide outdoor dining opportunities while enjoying the peace and tranquility of the park. The park features maturing old-growth forests, with two areas being particularly noteworthy. In Cochran Woods, century-old white oak, northern red oak, sugar maple and walnut tower over an understory of flowering dogwood, redbud and pawpaw. The Babler Southwoods Hollow Natural Area, near the campground, features a mature, undisturbed forest of towering oaks and sugar maples that have remained undisturbed since pre-settlement times.
The River Hills Visitor Center features a stone exterior that harmonizes with the historic CCC architecture in the park. The center houses exhibits interpreting the park's plant and animal life. A walk-through diorama explores the intricate relationships among the flora and fauna that make up the old-growth forest ecosystem. The naturalists on staff at the center offer a variety of interpretive programs. Other park recreational opportunities include a multipurpose court for tennis, volleyball and basketball.
Babler State Park has an extensive trail system throughout the park and its Nature Center that offers maps and most services any birder will need. Due to its location above the Missouri River, it is a trap for migrating warbler, vireo and many other species of migrants that are attracted to its big tress and clean water. There are two permanent streams that offer very productive habitat for birds attracted to streams. Stop anywhere that you see water and you will find birds. The park web site maintains an active bird list.
There are 73 campsites, 43 with electric hookups. Modern restrooms and showers as well as laundry facilities make an overnight stay at Babler enjoyable. Visit the park’s camping webpage for more information.
Visiting Babler State Park
Summer Hours (April - October)
Grounds are open daily from 7 am - 9 pm
Visitor Center is open Wednesday - Sunday from 8:30 am - 4 pm
Winter Hours (November - March)
Grounds are open daily from 7 am - 6 pm
Visitor Center is open Saturday - Sunday from 8:30 am - 4 pm in November & March - Closed December through February
The park office is open daily from 8:30 am to 4 pm year-round
There is no charge to visit Babler State Park
Use the official site of Babler State Park to find the answers to the questions about Babler State Park that you may have.