You voted in the thousands in this year’s Readers’ Choice Awards. We tabulated the results, and here are your favorite outdoor events and businesses in the Midwest. 


Best Road Cycling Event
Winner: Ride the Rivers Century
Runners Up: Bike MS Gateway Getaway Ride, Moonlight Ramble, Vino Fondo Gran Fondo
Hall of Fame: Gateway Cup

Best Gravel Biking Event
Winner: Tour of Hermann Gravel Challenge
Runners Up: Ste. Genevieve Gravel Classic, Meramec Gravel, Oreo Roubaix Gravel Ride

Best Mountain Biking Event
Winner: Big Mountain Enduro – Ironton
Runners Up: BT Epic, Southern Illinois Fat Tire Fest, One-Eyed Dog 100/50/24/12 Mile XC Race

Best Road Running Event (Under 13.1 Miles)
Winner: Macklind Mile
Runners Up: St. Patrick’s Day Parade Run, The Great GO! St. Louis Halloween Race, Ferguson Twilight Run

Best Road Running Event (13.1 Miles or Over)
Winner: MO’ Cowbell Marathon
Runners Up: St. Louis Track Club Half Marathon, Belleville Main Street Marathon, Innsbrook Half Marathon
Hall of Fame: GO! St. Louis Marathon & Family Fitness Weekend

MO' Cowbell

MO’ Cowbell in Newtown, Missouri.

Best Trail Running Event (Under 13.1 Miles)
Winner: Alpine Shop Trail Run Series
Runners Up: Devils Toll Race, Pere Marquette Endurance Trail Run, Run the Leadbelt

Best Trail Running Event (13.1 Miles or Over)
Winner: The Skippo
Runners Up: Ozark Foothills 100, Quivering Quads Trail Race, Corps of Discovery Half Marathon Trail Race

Best Rock Climbing Event
Winner: So iLL Showdown
Runners Up: 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell, Gateway Boulder Bash, Holy Boulders Bouldering Competition

Best Paddling Event
Winner: Meramec Marathon
Runners Up: Missouri Whitewater Championship, Bourbeuse Bluebell Race, The Gritty Growler
Hall of Fame: Missouri River 340

Best Duathlon/Triathlon
Winner: Innsbrook Triathlon
Runners Up: Chain of Rocks Duathlon, St. Louis Triathlon, New Town Triathlon

Best Adventure Race
Winner: Castlewood 8-Hour Adventure Race
Runners Up: 3 Legged Monster Race, 24 Hours from Home Challenge

Best Mud Run
Winner: Missouri Mud Run
Runners Up: Midwest Spartan Event Weekend, Mud Factor

Gateway Outdoor Expo

Gateway Outdoor Expo 2022. (Russell Ward)

Best Outdoor Festival/Expo
Winner: Gateway Outdoor Expo
Runners Up: Festival of Nations, Bentonville Bike Fest, Pedaler’s Jamboree

Best Music Festival
Winner: Format Festival
Runners Up: Open Highway Music Festival, Arcadia Valley Music Festival, Roots N Blues Festival

Best Beer Festival
Winner: Saint Charles Oktoberfest
Runners Up: UCBC Oktoberfest, Schlafly Full Moon Festival, Brew in the Lou


Best Running Store (Road)
Winner: Running Niche
Runners Up: Fleet Feet – Des Peres, Big River Running Company – South City, Fleet Feet – St. Charles
Hall of Fame: Big River Running Company – West County

Best Running Store (Trail)
Winner: REI – Brentwood
Runners Up: Alpine Shop – Kirkwood, Running Niche, Fleet Feet – St. Charles

Best Bike Shop (Road)
Winner: Big Shark Bicycle – Richmond Heights
Runners Up: Maplewood Bicycle, Bike Surgeon, Swim Bike Run

Big Shark Bicycle Company - Richmond Heights

Big Shark Bicycle Company – Richmond Heights.

Best Bike Shop (Trail)
Winner: Trailhead Bicycles
Runners Up: Bike Stop Café, Alpine Shop – Kirkwood, Bike Surgeon (tie), Mountain Bike Shed (tie)

Best Outdoor Store
Winner: REI – Brentwood
Runners Up: Take A Hike Shop, REI – Town & Country, Outdoors Inc.
Hall of Fame: Alpine Shop – Kirkwood 

Best Rock Climbing Gym
Winner: Climb So iLL Steel Shop
Runners Up:  Climb So iLL Power Plant, Upper Limits – Maryland Heights, Upper Limits – Chesterfield

Best Zipline/Ropes Course
Winner: RYZE Adventure Park
Runners Up: Go Ape Zipline & Adventure Park – Maryland Heights, Grafton Zipline Adventures, Caveman Zipline at Meramec Caverns

Best Paddling Operator
Winner: Paddle Stop New Haven
Runners Up: Alpine Shop, Bass’ River Resort, Huzzah Valley Resort
Hall of Fame: Big Muddy Adventures

Best Fly Fishing Store
Winner: Feather Craft
Runners Up: Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Outdoors Inc.
Hall of Fame: T. Hargrove Fly Fishing

Best Scuba Store
Winner: Y-kiki Divers
Runners Up: Midwest Scuba, West End Diving

Best Yoga Studio
Winner: Wildwood Yoga & Wellness
Runners Up: Shanti Yoga, Yoga Six, Urban Breath Yoga

Best Outdoor Program/Summer Camp
Winner: Wheels Up
Runners Up: Missouri Earth’s Classroom, Camp Innsbrook, Missouri Interscholastic Cycling League
Hall of Fame: St. Louis Mountain Bike Camps



Best Outdoor Nonprofit
Winner: Trailnet
Runners Up: Gateway to the Great Outdoors, Gateway Off-Road Cyclists, Ozark Trail Association

Best Sports Medicine/Chiropractic Clinic
Winner: Optimal Performance Center
Runners Up: Peak Sport & Spine, SSM Health Physical Therapy, West County Spine & Joint

Best Midwest Outdoor Brand
Winner: Küat Racks
Runners Up: Outbound Lighting, Alps Mountaineering, Fayettechill

Best Post-Adventure Eatery
Winner: Bike Stop Café
Runners Up: Good News Brewing Company – Defiance, Gears Bar and Café, Paddle Stop Brewery

Best Brewery/Brewhouse
Winner: 4 Hands Brewing Company
Runners Up: Schlafly Bottleworks, Good News Brewing Company – Defiance, Urban Chestnut Grove Brewery & Bierhall 

Best Vineyard/Winery
Winner: Defiance Ridge Vineyards
Runners Up:  Chandler Hill Vineyards, Chaumette Vineyards & Winery, Montelle Winery 

Best Distillery
Winner: Pinckney Bend Distillery
Runners Up: Square One Brewery & Distillery, Stumpy’s Spirits Distillery, Wood Hat Spirits

Best Coffee House
Winner: Kaldi’s Coffee
Runners Up: Bike Stop Café, Blueprint Coffee, La Finca Coffee

Best Farmers Market
Winner: Tower Grove Farmers’ Market
Runners Up: Soulard Farmers Market, Kirkwood Farmers Market, Lake St. Louis Farmers & Artists Market

Readers’ Choice Hall of Fame

The Terrain Readers’ Choice Hall of Fame recognizes those who have topped their respective categories for three consecutive years. Being inducted solidifies each winner’s place as a perennial favorite in the Midwest outdoors and allows us to shine a light on other worthy events and businesses.

Gateway Cup
Best Road Cycling Event
St. Louis’ largest competitive cycling event takes place every Labor Day weekend, Friday through Monday, in four historic neighborhoods: Lafayette Square, Francis Park, The Hill, and Benton Park. Regardless of the location, the style of criterium racing featured at Gateway Cup is extremely friendly to spectators. There’s no admission fee. You can take in the action at nine races a day. And because the cyclists are riding laps around a defined course, generally a mile or so long, you get to see them multiple times and can watch the race unfold in front of you. Enjoy food, drinks, vendors, and announcers doing play-by-play via loudspeaker.  

GO! St. Louis Marathon & Family Fitness Weekend
Best Road Running Event (13.1 miles or over)
“Marathon” is right there in the name, so naturally a 26.2-mile race is in the offing, but so are a half marathon, marathon relay, 10k, 5k, and children’s fun run. In all, the GO! St. Louis Marathon & Family Fitness Weekend attracts more than 25,000 people to downtown St. Louis and invites participants to tackle routes that encompass some of the city’s most historic landmarks. Runners refuel with local favorites like Ted Drewes frozen custard and toasted ravioli. Finishers take home a custom medal and (possibly) a Boston Marathon qualifier. 

Missouri River 340
Best Paddling Event
Every year, people come from across the country to compete in the world’s longest nonstop paddle race. The Missouri River 340 (MR340) traverses an entire state, starting in Kansas City and ending in St. Charles three and a half days later. Racers can sign up solo or as part of a team, in a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard. Podium contenders paddle day and night, but others approach the event with a more survivalist attitude and simply hope to finish in the allotted time. Race participants and ground crew celebrate their amazing achievement at an after-party held at the finish line near Lewis and Clark Boat House and Museum.

Alpine Shop – Kirkwood
Best Outdoor Store
Founded as a small climbing shop in 1973, Alpine Shop has grown into St. Louis’ leading independent resource for outdoor sports of all types. Its Kirkwood location offers new gear and apparel for backpacking, camping, kayaking, canoeing, and rock climbing — plus a full-service bike shop and ski/snowboard shop (including rentals) and a certified pedorthist able to do custom footwear fitting and modification on site. The store has a full schedule of events, including an off-road race series, and supports area organizations dedicated to the preservation of and access to our wild places.

Big River Running Company – West County
Best Running Store
West County was the original Big River location, opened in 2006, and became a true flagship for the company in 2017 when it moved down the street to a larger, free-standing building. The store features a 10- by 5-foot pixel screen for watching films and other programs, a cutting-edge Fit Center with treadmills and automated gait analysis, beautiful fitting rooms, and sculpted shoe walls. Big River offers free group runs, training teams, and clinics; hosts a series of popular races; collects and donates shoes for the less fortunate; and supports local charities through its Big River Gives Back program.

Hargrove Fly Fishing
Best Fly Fishing Store
From the potbelly stove in the middle of the room to the card table covered with fly-tying vices and spools of thread to the ever-present patrons trading tall tales, this is the kind of shop you might expect to find in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies, but it just happens to be in Brentwood, Missouri. Notwithstanding the mountain town ambiance, it’s the staff that customers point to as the main attraction: friendly, knowledgeable, and trustworthy. The store offers casting and fly-tying classes and stocks an array of rods, flies, books, and accessories for the novice and expert angler alike.

Big Muddy Adventures
Best Paddling Operator
BMA, as it’s known for short, has been helping St. Louis residents and visitors experience our big rivers since 2002 — back when most people’s idea of canoeing was the ubiquitous Ozarks “float trip.” More than merely guided paddles on the Missouri and Mississippi, BMA goes the extra mile with overnight excursions; pedal/paddle adventures; educational youth programs; custom private outings; and monthly Full Moon and Rivertime Supper Club trips that feature gourmet campfire cooking. BMA recently opened a brick-and-mortar shop in the Central West End that sells an inventory heavily focused on water activities but also includes apparel and camping gear.

St. Louis Mountain Bike Camps
Best Outdoor Program/Summer Camp
This homegrown business had one goal in mind when it started back in 2014: to make St. Louis a better place to grow up by getting more kids on bikes and enjoying the outdoors. Co-founder Mike Flieg credits his dynamic team of instructors for providing quality experiences and education. Current programs include the popular summer camp at Castlewood State Park, destination camps/trips, and small custom camps lasting from two to five days. There’s also a Junior Enduro/Development Team for those kids “striving to be the best riders they can be.”

Top Image: Küat Racks, Best Midwest Outdoor Brand.