Weekly mountain bike races begin tonight – Thursday, June 30 – at Castlewood State Park as the Alpine Shop Short Track Dirt Crits kick off the 2011 season. This series of races, part of St. Louis’s Off-Road Racing League, runs for five weeks and features three races each night.
Mountain bike racers of all abilities are welcome! Choose your race based on your ability: A- Expert, B-Sport and C-Novice/beginners. Each category follows the same course. The difference is in how long the race lasts. The A racers lasts 45 minutes plus two laps. B race goes for 25 minutes plus two laps and the C race lasts 15 minutes plus two laps.
At the time of posting, registrations were full for the 6/30 races; but spots were still available for the following races. If you’re interested in participating, please click here for on-line registration.
Following the races, all participants are invited to partake of some fantastic food from The Wolf Public House, including beverages from New Belgium Brewery.
Alpine Shop has some drool-worthy prizes to give away all series long for both participants and spectators alike. Just stop by our tent to find out more.
If you’re thinking about grabbing a new rack this summer, now’s the time to do it. Yakima is offering up to a $50 rebate on any new rack in it’s lineup and you can take advantage of this deal at any Alpine Shop location or on-line at alpineshop.com.
The details work like this:
Buy a new Yakima rack between June 24 and July 24, 2011 and Yakima will put some cash back in your pockets. Or cash back in your purse, if that’s the way you prefer to roll.
Spend $500 or more, get $50 back.
Spend $400 to $499, get $40 back.
Spend $300 to $399, get $30 back.
Anyone wishing to grab onto this deal only needs to print out the form below, fill out the short info requested and attach a receipt or online invoice. Just make sure you mail it in by 8/8/11.
And that’s it. To recap: You get the best roof rack system on the planet with a new Yakima rack you purchase at Alpine Shop. Then, you get money back just because you bought the best roof rack system on the planet and sent in a quick rebate form. The deal starts Friday, June 24, so get racking!
Alpine Shop will host a dog adoption event at our Kirkwood location on Saturday, June 25 from 10 am to 3 pm. This isn’t just any dog adoption event, though. In keeping with our love for everything outdoors, the dogs up for adoption are all part of “Four Directions Hiking” an organization that takes stray rescue dogs and trains them to hike on trails around the St. Louis area with human companions.
These dogs are all athletic, young (but adult) and all available for adoption. (There might be a few puppies, too.)
Join us on Saturday, June 25 from 10 am to 3 pm and find a new hiking partner. And give a great dog a great new home.
Dads – Get your kids outside this Father’s Day and you could win a part of a $500 jackpot in Alpine Shop gift cards. The challenge is simple: we’re inviting all Dads to bring their families outside to play. Take a picture of you with them outside. Post it on our facebook page by midnight, Sunday, June 19, 2011. We’ll select random winners from all of our Dad photos on Monday, June 20.
Studies continue to show the need for Dads (and Moms) to bring their little ones outside, to get them back in touch with mother nature. Books have been written about it. States across our nation are actively trying to figure out ways to get kids off the couch and back outside, including Missouri. So Dads, while we encourage you to take a hike in a nearby park, to get out in canoe or kayak, or even to ride your bike; really, we just hope you’ll breathe some non-air-conditioned air for at least a little while to celebrate your Father’s Day. If you need some ideas for a Dad’s Day adventure, we’re happy to provide you a few of our favorite family-friendly escapes at the bottom of this article.
As we did for our Mother’s Day contest, we will accept photos from the past for those Dads who can not be with your family – or vice versa.
And for those of you looking for some last minute Father’s Day gifts, Alpine Shop has a huge selection of presents perfect for any outdoor-loving Dad.
As promised, here are some great kid-friendly adventures in and within 2 hours of St. Louis. Get to it, Dad!
Hiking and Exploring Adventures:
Rockwoods Reservation, Eureka, Mo. – Trails for hikers of all ages and skill levels as well as wildlife exhibits. Plenty of picnic grounds and fields for group meals.
Powder Valley Nature Center, Kirkwood, Mo. – Easy to get to, incredible nature center, easy trails. Great local asset.
Amidon Conservation Area near Fredericktown, Mo. – The Castor River Shut-ins here is one of Missouri’s best play spots for kids both young and old. (Shhhh! It’s a secret!)
Johnson’s Shut-ins State Park near Lesterville, Mo. (and the Ozark Trail that runs through it) – One of Missouri’s most popular state parks. If you come on a weekend during the summer, prepare for crowds at Mother Nature’s waterpark.
Pickle Springs Natural Area near Farmington, Mo. – Short length, incredible rock formations, fun for everybody!
Meramec State Park, Sullivan, Mo. – The absolute gem for camping and outdoor adventures for families. Trails, beaches on the river, and over 75 caves and numerous springs.
Onondaga Cave State Park, Leasburg, Mo. – Camping, cave tours, canoeing. Great place for a long weekend.
Simpson Lake County Park, Valley Park, Mo. – A local, hidden gem just off Highway 141. Bring a bird guidebook, a canoe and fishing poles.
Meramec River- Consider put-ins near Steelville, Leasburg or Sullivan for best water quality and natural beauty. Besides the Missouri and the Mississippi, probably the most recognized river in the area – and the easiest to access.
Huzzah Creek, Leasburg, Mo.- (Hoo-za) More advanced young paddlers can take off on their own sit-on-top kayaks (rented through numerous outfitters) on this gorgeous clearwater gem which drains into the Meramec near Leasburg, Mo..
Grant’s Trail in South County, St. Louis – Flat, easy, and even at its most crowded is still enjoyable.
Katy Trail, beginning in St. Charles, Mo. – One-day trips to week-long adventures on 235 miles of bike trail between St. Charles and Clinton, Mo.
Lost Valley Trail in the Weldon Springs Conservation Area in St. Charles – Fabulous for both hiking and biking with clear creeks and miles of wooded, flat trails.
Forest Park, St. Louis, Mo. – Local, with a myriad of opportunities for other activities.
Happy Father’s Day to all of our adventure-loving Dads!
Over a million people a year visit the Current and Jack’s Fork Rivers – otherwise known as the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, part of the National Park system – to partake of the amazing natural beauty of the area. The vast majority of those visitors float the streams in canoes, kayaks and rafts. However, paddling is far from the only attraction this park offers to outdoor types. It also offers caves and springs, trails for hiking and horseback riding, camping and even some cycling. In fact, it is quite possible to have a week-long trip in this beautiful national park and never take to the water.
Below are Alpine Shop‘s five best non-paddling destinations to round out your visit to the ONSR.
1. Round Spring & Cave
Located on the upper section of the Current River, Round Spring is a delightful place to visit. The surrounding terrain and mineral content of the water makes the flat surface appear to be curved and the spring opening is almost perfectly circular, thus the name Round Spring. Round Spring adds an average of 33 million gallons of water to the Current River each day. The beautiful spring branch flows under a short tunnel while making its way to the river. This area was one of Missouri’s first State Parks (1932) prior to its inclusion into the national park in 1964. (Note: people are not allowed to swim or wade in Round Spring.)
Nearby is the extremely beautiful Round Spring Cave. The National Park Service offers guided tours by lantern from Memorial Day to Labor Day. There is a small charge for the tour ($5 for adults and $2 for kids) and participation is limited to the first 15 people to buy tickets. These tours are offered daily at 10 am and 2 pm. Tickets go on sale 30 minutes before each tour. While there are over 300 known caves in the park, Round Spring Cave is the only one open to public tours.
2. Rocky Falls
This 40 foot wide cascade is one of the best waterfalls in the Ozarks. Some water flows year-round, but in the spring and after heavy rains will give you the best view of this amazing geologic formation. The falls are located about 22 miles east of Eminence, Mo. off Hwy H. The area includes pit latrines and a small picnic area. The plunge pool below the falls offers a great place for a swim during the hotter months.
3. Blue Spring
Blue Spring, called “Spring of the Summer Sky” by native Americans, is over 300 feet deep. This amazing depth gives the spring its brilliant sky-blue coloration. The area is reached by a gravel road off Hwy 106 east of Eminence, MO and features a picnic area and restrooms. This spring is best visited before the afternoon sun casts its shadow on the spring pool.
4. Big Spring
Big Spring is the one of the largest single outlet springs in the world pumping out over 246 million gallons of water on an average day. This amazing site offers picnic grounds, cabins, a dining lodge, and campground. The beautiful spring branch flows about a half mile to the Current River. Big Spring is located just outside of Van Buren, MO.
5. Klepzig Mill and Shut-ins
Located downstream from Rocky Falls, Klepzig Mill and Shut-Ins is one of the hidden gems of this National Park. You can find this seldom-visited place by following a somewhat rough gravel road (County Road #522) that heads to the left where the pavement ends on Highway NN. The old mill sits along the creek with a fascinating shut-in below. There are no facilities here, just a couple of pull outs for cars. The shut-ins provide a great place for a picnic.