Grindstone Creek rises on the farmlands east of Columbia, Missouri, and flows westward, entering Hinkson Creek in the Grindstone Nature Area. A parking lot for the latter is accessed from Old Highway 63, just south of Stadium Blvd. in southeast Columbia.
From that lot, a 1.72 mile paved trail leads eastward through the Grindstone Creek Valley, passing creekside woodlands and intervening meadows. On this sunny and relatively mild (low 80s F) summer day in central Missouri, my wife and I completed a roundtrip hike along The Grindstone Trail, serenaded by Carolina wrens, northern cardinals and black-capped chickadees. Eastern phoebes, red-headed woodpeckers and eastern wood pewees joined more common woodland species while turkey vultures, which roost in large numbers above Hinkson Creek, soared overhead in the bright blue sky. A variety of goldenrods adorned the valley meadows, a visual promise that our long, hot summer is coming to an end.
The Grindstone Trail is one of the latest additions to Columbia's superb trail network that follows the major creek valleys as they lead WSW toward Perche Creek, a tributary of the Missouri River. The lower segment of Perche Creek (which is paralleled by the Katy Trail, a Missouri State Park) flows southward along the eastern edge of Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, a magnificent floodplain refuge.