It’s a snap to turn average Saturdays into something special with so many natural spaces in our city. My favorite? A mashup of get-out-goodness that doesn’t rely on the events calendar.
One summer outing I particularly like begins at Farmer’s Market of the Ozarks and moves to a Galloway Creek Trail bike ride. It makes a perfect date with husband Kevin or a friends meetup, and it’s great for entertaining Ozarks visitors.
Farmers Market of the Ozarks
Kevin examines corn at the Farmers Market of the Ozarks in Springfield, Missouri.
We head first to Farmer’s Market of the Ozarks at Farmer’s Park (2144 E. Republic Road). Located in the southeast corner of Springfield not far from the Springfield Conservation Nature Center, it’s like a food festival every Saturday (and through September, on Wednesday mornings).
During the summer, little tykes play in fountains that spring up from the concrete patio – a popular activity also during Thursday night Parties at the Park. This is a great place to shop for fresh veggies, soak up the morning energy and pick up an aromatic cup of coffee and bite of breakfast before our ride.
Cloud House at Farmer's Park
The Cloud House at Farmers Park in Springfield, Missouri.
A stop at the Cloud House - one of Springfield’s coolest-oddest sculptures, located on the southern edge of Farmer’s Park – completes our visit. (And yes, I indulge my compulsion to take a picture of the Cloud House every time we see it. How can you not?)
Next stop: Ozark Greenways’ Galloway Creek Trail, less than 10 minutes away. We generally park at Sequiota Park (3500 S. Lone Pine Ave.) and ride bikes from there. Or start at the northern trailhead near Pershing Middle School (2120 Ventura Ave).
Kathy riding the Galloway Creek Trail through Sequiota Park in Springfield, Missouri.
Last time I rode the trail with friend Kathy we came home mud-dabbled, courtesy of a recent rain. Riding south from the park, this easy trail is pretty flat. Riding north toward Pershing, not so much and least one steep hill might be a walker. (Not saying I do, not saying I don’t.)
Heads up: The trail’s southern end is blocked near the 60/65 highway interchange for road construction; scheduled to reopen November 2017.
Galloway Creek Greenway
Sculpture tribute to Ron Caplinger on the Galloway Creek Trail in Springfield, Missouri.
Who doesn’t like randomly encountering a giant stainless steel wheelchair?
When it comes to quirky art and the odd curiosity – yes, fan here – this trail delivers.
Take the wheelchair, a guaranteed eyebrow-raising double-take for first-timers. A sculpture tribute to the late Ron Caplinger, former Ozark Greenways president, it’s not far from the Pershing trailhead. (And yes it’s OK to sit and take a selfie.)
Along this part of the trail also is a bike sculpture and the city’s recycling center. Near Battlefield Road and Lone Pine, the trail is accessible to B2 Café where it’s a quick stop to grab an energy-boosting smoothie.
South of Sequiota the trail goes through Galloway Village and passes the quarry, Galloway Grill - another good stop - eventually coming to Lakeland Pet Cemetery and a memorial to Trooper Vic Dosing who was killed nearby in 1941. An odd pairing – trooper memorial and pet cemetery – but somehow it works as a point of interest.
Continuing along, riders encounter the creek, woods and open meadows. The trail eventually intersects with a path that leads to a bridge and waterway (worth a stop even if you don’t go further) and, crossing over, a Nature Center walking trail. No riding is allowed on Nature Center property but there’s a bike rack as you enter.
Galloway Creek Greenway
Taking a break alongside Galloway Creek on the Galloway Creek Trail in Springfield, Missouri.
The trail is named for Galloway Creek with good reason as it meanders alongside the creek in nice shaded areas both north and south of Sequiota Park. A number of benches along the way are handy places to stop.
A roll or stroll through Sequiota Park is another must-do. It’s a nice spot for shooting photos, too: The splash of a waterfall. A cool cave (though you can’t go inside). A geese-inhabited lake.