The Byron Shutz Trail System

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About the The Byron Shutz Trail System

Two footpath trails are available for Powell Garden visitors. Take a 1-mile or 3.25-mile hike through the natural, Midwestern landscape.

Hikers will wind past lotus-filled ponds, through woods of Osage orange and honeylocust and into a field of meadow flowers. Returning hikers will be rewarded with a different experience in each season. The trails offer slight inclines and some rocky terrain but is easily traversed by hikers with moderate experience. Novice hikers should review their fitness level and the trail length before beginning a hike.

The expanded trail was made possible thanks to a generous donation from Marilyn T. and Byron C. Shutz and the Shutz Foundation.


The Byron Shutz Trail System allows visitors to experience nature off-grid. Protecting this natural heritage experience and the habitat of many species which depend on this natural area is a conservation priority at Powell Gardens.

Currently, efforts are focused on restoring ecological communities and improving the hiker experience by upgrading interpretation and wayfinding. Conservation initiatives now and in the future will center on sustainable stewardship of the landscape for generations of Powell Gardens’ visitors.

Ecological Restoration

The landscape of the Byron Shutz Trail System supports representations of some of the natural communities in Missouri. Natural communities at Powell Gardens, such as prairies, woodlands, forest, and wetlands, reflect the landscape of our region and support the Midwest Spirit of Place.

Today, in many cases, ecological restoration must occur to protect the plants and animals within natural communities. Ecological restoration and returning processes, such as fire and grazing along with balancing invasive species to uphold diversity, supports the living landscape.

Ecological Restoration

Along the Byron Shutz Trail, ecological restoration is focused on preserving remnant tallgrass prairie communities. Active restoration actions include managing woody encroachment and introducing fire back to the landscape. Restoration of these old-growth grasslands is occurring with the assistance of volunteers and partners.

Learn more about how you can volunteer to support restoration projects →


Family Discovery Loop

  • Distance: 1.0 mile
  • Rating: Easy
  • Trail Type: Trail class 2 – simple/minor development trail. A loop trail, suitable for novice hikers.
  • Build nature boats, search the pond for seasonal residents, play nature games, and construct gnome and fairy homes among fallen trees and waterways on the new Family Discovery Loop. This one-mile hike meanders through wooded and aquatic ecosystems.

Prairie Ridge Trail

  • Distance: 3.25 miles
  • Rating: Moderate
  • Trail Type: Trail class 2 – simple/minor development trail. Point to point trail, starts and ends in different locations, suitable for hikers with a moderate level of experience and endurance.
  • Experience flatlands, steep hillside, rocky glades, remnant prairies, and old growth timber on the trail. Hikers will pass through woods of Osage orange and honeylocust into a field of meadow flowers.

Know Before You Go

  • Know your capabilities and allow enough time to complete the trail before the Gardens close.
  • Minimize your exposure to insects: Tuck your pant legs into your socks and spray insect repellent around your ankles.
  • Learn to recognize poison ivy and avoid contact.
  • Take water with you.
  • Stay on the trail!
  • Be aware we are in the range for copperheads and timber rattlers, although none have been identified on the property. You may encounter a variety of nonvenomous snakes.
  • The trail is closed during deer season (November through January) for your safety.

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