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The natural beauty that characterizes Missouri is more than skin deep. Missouri, the Cave State, has more than 5,500 caves, and some of the state's most scenic natural wonders lie beneath the surface -- in caves. One Missouri cave stands out above the rest -- Onondaga Cave in Onondaga Cave State Park. Deep underground there is a world that nature has created using water to form deposits of tall stalagmites, dripping stalactites, active flowstones and many other colorful deposits. Onondaga Cave, a National Natural Landmark, and Cathedral Cave showcase these natural wonders, which can be viewed during cave tours. There is also plenty of natural beauty to enjoy above ground at the park. Vilander Bluff Natural Area provides visitors with a panoramic view of the Meramec River. Come and take a hike through the Meramec River valley, canoe or fish in the Meramec River or enjoy a picnic lunch. Learn about the park's natural resources above and below the earth's surface through exhibits inside the visitor center. The park's campground offers both basic and electric/water campsites, many of which are reservable.

Vilander Bluff Trail is named for Vilander Bluff, the highest bluff along the Meramec River. The natural surface trail provides trail access to Vilander Bluff Natural Area, a 206-acre natural area known for its ancient eastern red cedars. Some of these cedars, from 300 to 500 years old, grow out of the rocks along the bluff. The trail features an outstanding example of a dry cliff community that contains two very rare species of lichens. The trail also takes hikers through a dry chert woodland and chert savanna before returning to the parking lot.

The trail was built and is maintained by the Miramiguoa Chapter of the Missouri Master Naturalists from Franklin County. In an effort to protect the rare species and the area’s natural features, the trail is limited to hiking only and was constructed without major ground disturbance.

Yes, this is a canoe float, not a hiking trail.

hiking
1 month ago

~400' elevation gain. Saw a few deer. Nice easy hike.

5 months ago

Trail is clearly marked with blazes and trail itself is very defined. Some good views of the Meramec River and hills. Easy trail.

hiking
9 months ago

Did this one a while ago. Pretty easy trail. Park is nice because in addition to hiking there is a cave to tour.

One of our favorite hikes! We probably do it at least once a month!!!

hiking
1 year ago

Camping was nice, we had 2 families. Trails had some nice scenic areas and the kids really enjoyed it, however as others remarked before me the lack of marking made it difficult to be sure you stayed on the correct trail. The cave tour was great!

Nice easy float.

hiking
2 years ago

I couldn't find this trail, but found one across from the amphitheater in the campground that was a 3 mile loop and pretty nice.

One of our favorite campgrounds in the Missouri State Parks. We have hiked all the trails, toured both caves and floated the river all while camping here numerous times.

We love to walk this trail clockwise and the north end of the trail has pretty waterfalls if it has been raining. There is 3 Geocaches on this trail at the time I posted this so that is a bonus.

I have camped here twice now. Hiked some of the trails, toured the for fee cave, canoed the adjacent Meramec River, and hiked the adjacent Huzza conservation area. A wide variety of things to do. Great, well maintained campgrounds, from primitive tent to nice RV sites. A nice destination for camping and plenty to do when your are there.

Meramec river is a meandering spring fed class I float stream. Very scenic in the upper portions. Many sand bars for primitive camping. Great fishing. Great for kids. Many outfitters and can be canoed a couple miles or a hundred miles. highly recommend. Many outdoor recreational opportunities in the area.

hiking
5 years ago

Easy trail through the Ozark highlands. Follows a creek a short distance, takes one through a savannah and back over to the campground. Nothing spectacular, but did enjoy the wildflowers in bloom when we went.

hiking
6 years ago

Simple trail with a few scenic rock formations. Poorly marked and maintained. Would not have found the trailhead except a park ranger happened to show up.