Several guide services/field instructors based in St. Louis provide quality education and trip programs for beginners as well as veterans. From day to week to fully custom experiences, and from climbing to canoeing to mountain biking and more, here are the folks who can help you access the local outdoors.
Big Muddy Adventures
There are float trips, and then there are river adventures. This 16-year-old company and its founder “Big Muddy” Mike Clark specialize in providing safe access to the wild wonders of the middle Mississippi and lower Missouri rivers. With a full fleet of vessels, including its signature voyageur canoe, Junebug 1, Big Muddy Adventures (BMA) provides day paddles, full-moon overnighters and all-inclusive custom excursions. Recognized for its expert knowledge and personal attention, BMA has guided thousands of people from all over the world. 2muddy.com
Guided Path Adventures
This group has a special knack for injecting fun into challenging situations, whether a guided mountain biking ride or an adventure racing-themed teambuilding event. The driving force behind Guided Path Adventures (GPA) is owner Caleb Brackett and his insatiable thirst for the outdoors. Since founding GPA in 2016, he has surrounded himself with a team that shares his enthusiasm through scheduled group events as well as private trips. Providing a “positive influence and good vibes from a first-hand experience with nature” is GPA’s goal. guidedpathadventures.com
Brought to you by the individuals behind Spoked Bikes & Stuff retail store, Spoked Adventures specializes in guided day and overnight cycling trips around the Greater St. Louis area. Because there are certain destinations you can’t reach by bike, the group has also added canoeing and climbing to some of its itineraries. All trips are designed to accommodate a wide range of experience, age, fitness and skill levels. Experienced guides will escort you on adventures that you may have never known existed just miles from your home. spokedbikes.com/spoked-adventures/
You can get fit in a gym or get fit in nature. Shaila Luther, owner of Spread Adventure, wants all St. Louisans — but especially women — to choose the latter. Her outdoor personal training sessions combine cardio (mountain biking, hiking, trail running, climbing stairs) with strength and body weight exercises (push-ups, squats). She also offers individual and small group hiking and mountain biking excursions for beginners to introduce safety basics and locales, with the goal of giving participants the confidence they need to keep adventuring. spreadadventure.com
Whether by climbing trees or rocks, Vertical Voyages wants people to have positive and intimate experiences with nature. Jon Richard, a highly trained AMGA certified rock guide and Global Organization of Tree Climbers facilitator, started the business in 2009 and has created a portfolio of skills courses in addition to providing private guiding to destinations in the Midwest and throughout the U.S. A unique adventure is the Canopy Campout, in which individuals or a small group sleep suspended in a special hammock. verticalvoyages.com