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Tags:
Level: Intermediate
Length: 9 mi (14.5 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +320/314 ft
Total: 80 riders
 

Mountain Biking Matson Hill

*****   Add a review
#3 of 158 mountain bike trails in Missouri
#159 in the world

This trail, in the heart of Daniel Boone country, is a 2.75 mile loop of 100% singletrack designed for hike and bike use only. Weaving up and down several times in a large hollow, it is a constant challenge to novice and advanced riders alike. This is some unique terrain, heavily wooded, very dark and shady, with several rock-bottom creek crossings. Due to the steepness of the terrain, the area wasn't logged so it presents an uncommon setting with low volume mid-level growth, and tall old-growth trees forming a high, dark canopy. It almost has the feel of a natural amphitheater. The trail surface is mostly dirt, with several veins of rock, and rocky creek crossings/waterfalls. Stop and look around when you reach the bottom of the valley. The trail should be ridden both clockwise and counter-clockwise; each offers its own pleasures. GORC recently rerouted one of the fall-line climbs which had become unsustainable, but there are still plenty of opportunities to get your climbing in.(pasted from gorctrails.com)

First added by stylo_joe on May 1, 2020. Last updated May 1, 2020. → add an update
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Getting there
From the Highway 40/94 interchange: Take Highway 94 South approximately 13 miles. Go past Defiance to Matson, turn right and follow Matson Hill Rd. until it ends at Duke Rd. Turn right onto Duke Rd. and go Ω mile. The trailhead is on the left side of Duke Rd.. It is well signed from Hwy 94 to the trailhead. You can also park down at the Katy Trail parking lot in Defiance, and ride up a very steep Matson Hill Rd. to add 2 miles each way to your ride.
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Richard Lee (on Sep 14, 2019)
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Trail conditions

Wet (on Mar 1, 2020)
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Matson Hill and Castlewood
 
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Defiance, Missouri

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Intermediate | 3 mi

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Reviews

  • malcolm28
    *****

    First actual ride I loved it. There was some incline hills that hurt going up for a beginner but going down and crossing multiple creek beds was awesome. Definitely going to ride again!!

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  • Sanguia1
    *****

    When ur driving to the trail up n down hills u know ur in trouble. Sure enough u start out going down hill n fast and in the back of ur head u know ur gonna have to go back up which was brutal. This trail has everything. The terrain gets really hard n almost impossible to go over all the rocks. It's only 3 mile loop but this trail will wear u out n quick. Make sure ur bike is in tip top shape cause ur gonna need all the help u can get. I like the 3 ravines u cross which is a first for me. Some softball size rocks on trail that should removed as it's just n accident waiting to happen. Other then that...awesome trail.

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  • Michael Haugh
    *****

    I was very impressed with this trail! I'm a little better than "beginner," but not quite intermediate yet...so there were definitely a couple of sections that challenged me; particularly the rock garden.

    This was fun!!

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  • Doogs12
    *****

    Have been an avid rider of Castlewood trails for many years, but wanted a change of scenery/trails. Matson loop trail had a good variety of everything, short technical rock sections, fast downhill sections, and some climbing to get the lungs pumping. Trail was nicely maintained, and I definitely plan on riding it more often. I did connect the other two loops (oxen mill/Hayes) for more miles.

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  • Midmoab
    *****

    For fear of shining a light on a terrific secret...this trail is incredible! It really does have a bit of everything for the semi experienced rider. We were on the trail by 7 am and there were already plenty ahead of us. Experienced, friendly folks willing to give advice and direction to us first-time visitors. Loved the variety on matson... flow on oxen and speed on hays. I would ride this again any time.

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  • illini81
    *****

    Best mtb in STL area. Flow, technical, climbs, fun creek crossings, and some challenging rock sections.

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  • scootertrash
    *****

    Its been 11 years since I have ridden this trail (Just got back into mountain biking). Before this trail was great but to some a bit short but was a good workout. Now with the addition of the Oxen Mill Trail and the Hayes loop, Matson Hill is even better! Yes you will be climbing on the Hayes loop but is well worth it! The Oxen Mill section can be quite technical at times with some real rocky sections that I had to clip out and walk ( I know my limits) but overall great additions to the whole trail. GORC has done a great job with St. Charles County Park system to use a piece of property that was going to be unused due to its terrain.

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  • CFM
    Reviewing Hayes trail:
    ****

    This is a very unique trail that makes good use of the terrain available. Can be a lung buster going up and a white knuckler around the turns on the way down. A lot of fun.

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  • oldiebutnewbie
    *****

    awesome trail. a little over my head cardio-wise at the moment but that's not the trails fault. best trail in st. louis/st. charles area.

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  • CFM
    ****

    This loop of the Matson Hill system is a great place to take a new rider. It seems a little less technical riding counter-clockwise. Rolling terrain, open layout, limited rocks and roots, smooth drainage crossings, not too long. A really fun ride.

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  • CFM
    ****

    This was my first trip to Matson Hill. We rode the Matson Hill and Oxen Mill sections but not the Hayes trail because we somehow missed the turnoff. No matter, as we will definitely be back. The trails are very well laid out on the contours despite the steep terrain, a clear sign that the trail builders know how to design trail correctly and are willing to put in the work to do it right. I feel that the Matson Hill section is clearly a beginner's loop. Its a fantastic place to take a newby without worrying about getting them in over their head but challenging them just enough to leave them wanting for more. The Oxen Mill section is a bit more technical, a step up to intermediate level, and provides an interesting ride on rockier terrain. The Hayes segment is listed as advanced so I'm looking forward to riding it soon. The medium length of this trail is the only drawback. By missing the Hayes section we ended up with about five miles so we would have only had 7.5 to 8 with that addition. Hopefully there will be more available in the next couple of years.

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  • teedawg
    ****

    I enjoyed this trail. It had some really fun downhill sections with challenging rock bluffs. The climbs were pretty brutal. Overall good ride.

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  • Stl_Greaser
    Reviewing Oxen Mill trail:
    *****

    Head right from the main trail head and you will be on oxen mill trail. This weaves in and out of a large cedar grove and offers a lot of shade for those hot summer days. This is my favorite summer trail due to the amount of shade all of the cedars offer but unfortunately it also makes this trail very slow to dry and does not allow for a lot of airflow through the trees so you will get shade but not much of a breeze. Still a blast to ride so don't rule this out of your summer ride plans.

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  • Stl_Greaser
    *****

    This is the main trail when you head left at the trial head and is a fast trail with a couple tight turns and is quite fun. There are a few small hips and other features being thrown into this trail to add some flavor and fun to your ride.

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  • Stl_Greaser
    Reviewing Hayes trail:
    *****

    No real obstacles but I label this advanced due to the steep climb to the top and the extremely tight switchbacks. This is a lolly pop out and back trail toward the back of the park so it is a tough climb to the top and some tight switchbacks. But you are rewarded when you finish the lolly pop when you come back down and hit all of the rollers at the bottom!

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  • Stl_Greaser
    *****

    This has to be the most fun trail in the St. Louis area, I just wish it would dry out a little faster. It has been a bit wet this spring and early summer and this trail has just not been able to open very much. I am looking forward to my next ride here. There are some really great plans for some of the re-routs here too and this trail system will just keep getting ever more fun!

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  • Stl_Greaser
    *****

    This is one of the best trail systems in the area and it is fast growing every year with the help of GORC members and volunteer hours during Trail build days. It is full of gread descents and a few tough climbs. There are fast flowy sections and more technical sections also. Please do not ride on wet trails.

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