Get out! 3

Answer the call of the wild outdoors this summer

After winter stole our spring, everyone seems to really be itching to get outside this year. Thankfully, the region is blessed with an abundance of natural attractions and hidden gems just waiting to be explored. It’s finally time to get out of the house!

Outdoor climbing at Cliff Drive

Indoor climbing gyms are great, but you can’t beat the real thing. For that, hop the river and go downtown to Cliff Drive, located in George E. Kessler Park in the historic Northeast. This somewhat secret crag offers limestone routes around 30-40 feet tall with smooth faces perfect for training. Plus, Cliff Drive is closed to motor vehicles on the weekends; all that quiet might make you forget you’re actually still in the heart of the city.

Wildlife watching at Line Creek Trail

Get to know the Platte County landscape over 8.25 miles on Line Creek Trail, stretching from Old Tiffany Springs Road to Argosy Casino. The path follows the creek through wooded areas, where you’ll likely see an assortment of deer, turkey and countless bird species. Or, bring the bikes: The paved trail offers a smooth ride and a bicycle service station if you need a little assistance. Learn more at PlatteParks.com/line-creek-trail.

Be at peace at Parkville Nature Sanctuary

Just a short walk from downtown and tucked into the Parkville hills lies a 117-acre refuge capable of instantly reconnecting you to the natural world. The Parkville Nature Sanctuary is both a wildlife preserve and an educational site that features nearly three miles of hiking trails across five separate paths, a waterfall and a scenic overlook. Open every day from sunrise to sunset, the nature sanctuary can be accessed off Highway 9 at 12th Street.

Belly up to the bar at the UNICO Microbrew Festival

After all that hiking and climbing, cool down with a frosty brew. The 10th annual UNICO Microbrew Festival at Zona Rosa will feature more than 50 microbrews along with food and live music. Buy tickets for $25 in advance or $30 at the event, which is held Aug. 11 from 4 to 9 p.m., rain or shine. Learn more at Facebook.com/unicokcmicrobrewfest.

This is no boring float trip. For those seeking a little man vs. nature, prep your boat for the annual MR340, an endurance race across the state of Missouri—all 340 miles of it. You have 88 hours to paddle from Kansas City to St. Charles, dodging wing dikes and bridge pilings, towboats and the beating sun. RiverMiles.com explains: “It will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. And for that reason, it will be hugely satisfying and memorable.” The race runs from July 24-27; learn more at RiverMiles.com/mr340/register/.