Wilderness Trail Long Loop is a 8.2 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Sullivan, MO that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Eight backpacking camps are provided along the way. The north section of the trail meanders through the heart of the Meramec river. Forests here and in other areas are rich and majestic. Overnighters must register at the box 200 yards from trailhead. Camps contain fire grill. Orange blazes. Meramec State Park has some truly beautiful trails. The Wilderness Trail (Long Loop) is well worth the effort. Although this trail is beautiful in the Spring and Fall the terrain is hidden behind thick green foliage. If you plan to camp or hike on this trail make sure you check the weather! There are many areas along the trail where flash floods could take you by surprise.
Quite a nice trail, though I am not sure it should be rated as difficult. I finished the trail in just under 3 hours. For sure, this is one of the more popular longer trails I've been on in the Missouri state park system as I crossed paths with a few other hikers along the way.
We hiked this trail yesterday which was a very humid day (found out later humidity made heat index 101) so made the trail more challenging. Not very picturesque but was a nice hike. Our first time hiking in Missouri so we enjoyed looking at the diverse rocks along the trail. Really like the rock creek beds. Would do trail again if we are in the area.
Decided to hike this trail clockwise around the loop on what seemed like the hottest day in June. Overall this trail was great but did have a few downfalls. The vegetation along the trail was pretty heavy in quite a few spots and I came across a few downed trees that were laying on the trail which required me to go off trail and find an alternate way around. That being said these were not huge issues to me and really didn't impact my opinion of the trail. What did make a difference was the number of mosquitos along the back half of the trail so make sure to bring some bug spray to re-apply after you hit copper hollow spring. Now for the good. There was plenty of animal life around. I saw quite a few deer and there were a few warning signs to tie up your food in a tree because of bears and other critters so I assume they are somewhat common in the area. All the campsites seemed good and all had fire rings set up. The best ones seemed to be sites 5, 6, and 7. Those were relatively close to a stream where you could re-fill your water bottles (of course you should always treat your water before drinking it). Just past campsite 7 was a small natural spring which was a great place for my dog and me to stop and hang out for a little while. A little while after that was copper hollow spring which was really the highlight of the trail. This spring fed a small creek which flowed all the way out to the Meramec River. Once the trail navigates away from the spring fed creek the trail seemed to open up a little. I passed multiple "breaks" in the forrest into a few hillsides covered in prairie grass. There were also more oaks and bigger trees on this half of the hike (this is where the mosquitos were bad). The final campsite was also good although the nearby creek bed was completely dry so not a great place for water. All in all this was a great hike and I would like to come back in the fall as I think I would be able to give 4 stars then but for now we will stick with 3.
We needed more time than we allotted to hike it, but my 8 year old kept up and we'd go again just learn to take water and power bars. I misread the length oops.
Great hike. definitely would get there early as it gets crowed very quickly. Would also hike it counter clockwise.
I would rate this trail as easy to moderate in terms of difficulty. We hiked the trail clockwise. A majority of the first half of the trail followed creek bottoms and washouts. The trail was very narrow and overgrown in spots. There were also a number of downed trees. I lost track of how many creek beds we crossed. I would not recommend hiking after a significant rain. The water was down when we went and there were a couple of spots that took a some good leaps to cross. The second half of the hike was more moderate. Most of the elevation change was in the last couple of miles. I think this is a better hike in the early spring or late fall than it would be late spring and summer when the greenery around the trail starts to grow out. It may be worth another trip in mid-April for Morel Mushroom hunting in the creek bottoms and washouts. It was an OK hike mainly because of the distance. We completed the 8.5 miles in just under 3 hours.
Did clockwise good hill at end.
Backpacked this trail solo this weekend. Was able to find the first camp in the dark, so at least the first leg is reasonably navigable in low light. The trail is easy to follow though not wide. The published map (see state website) is pretty accurate to the track I recorded. I camped at Camp 1 & 8 over night. Each camp had room for 3-4 tents (1-2 hammocks in prepared area).
Fire pits could use a cleaning out, I had to dig out room to get a fire under the grill.
A great Uriel to take the dogs on
Great trail, it crossed a creek about 20 times but they are wet weather creeks. Very neat to do in late fall without leaves on the trees, we were able to see so much more and the cave was neat!
Pretty good, some pretty spots and the cave, while closed, is a great cool spot for a rest.
This has become one of our favorites! Not only can we hike it for a fun afternoon outing but we also have a fun place to hike and camp that isn't far from home!! very enjoyable place!
I found this to be an enjoyable, not heavily traveled path. I did this trail as an overnight hiking/camping trip with a college group. Some parts of trail were narrow and overgrown, but for the most part it was visible with plenty of orange blazes to mark the way. The trail criss crosses a mostly dry (at the time) creekbed which I imagine can get flowing with enough rain. The cave and spring were a cool feature with flowing water and some moss covered rocks. Overall the trail is mostly wooded with a few open prairies along the way and relatively flat with some moderate inclines in a couple of spots. The campground we used was good, heavily wooded, and didn't appear overused. It was far enough from the main trail for seclusion, and has a rock ring for campfires. Only downside was some city noise and frequent trains throughout the day and night.
This seemed like a more difficult trail than it really is because of the heat when I hiked the trail (heat index was 103). The trail is fair shape. It is not a wide trail so it is over grown in some areas. There are several glades along the first portion of the trail. For the most part, it is a walk in a riparian forest. There is a water source 3.4 miles (assuming you hike the trail counter clockwise). There is a cave and a spring in Copper Hollow at that point. The cave is temporarily closed due to white nose syndrome. I hiked at the end of August so the vistas were not grand due to all the vegetation. I did not see much in the way of rock formations. There are specified camping sites along the trail. The trail was well blazed (orange) with maps on stakes at trail intersections.
The cave is actually called Hamilton Cave as is the spring that flows from it. If you go on the North portion of the trail and past the spring the 1st or 2nd weekend of April you will see nature at it's best. Literally thousands of bluebells. Takes your breath away.I started walking this trail back in 2009.