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The trail was well marked with easy access to the trailhead. There are plenty of trail maps but no bathrooms. The trail is very rocky and narrow making the rating of “moderate” accurate. My two children got excited for a bench at about two miles. They sat down only to realize a minute later that they were COVERED in termites! My five year old was in pure horror! We tried to finish the loop with the shortcut but after a quarter of a mile farther, we decided it was best to turn around. After returning back to the car and fully stripping their clothes, we also found three ticks on my husband and daughter. Heads up that this is not a young kid friendly hike. I wish we would’ve have gotten a chance to see the entire trail and what it has to offer. I gave it three stars because I’m sure it’s a good trial for others, but I wish I’d known it wasn’t for my family. Oh well, you live and you learn.

hiking
12 days ago

Very overgrown with lots of trees across the trail. Only 1 tick despite the underbrush. Some truly beautiful areas. Came across only one other family.

hiking
19 days ago

Good trail, didn't see snakes, got a couple ticks. a little bit of experience hiking, makes this trail real fun. couple places to camp, no idea if you're allowed to or not though. this is a low maintained trail and that includes the road up to the trailhead. small cars can make it but its rough. i plan on hiking it again and probably camping off the trail.

We just hiked this trail two days ago and really enjoyed the cliff caves, rocky creek beds and tunnel at the end. We took the East trail and it took about 4 hours there and back. However, we all returned with horrible, itching rashes on our ankles despite wearing long pants, heavy socks and bug repellant. I think seed ticks may be the culprit after doing some research as we all had tiny black specs freckling our feet and ankles after hiking. I don't know how to protect oneself from seed ticks but I would certainly look into it before hiking this trail again.

Super fun! The spring at the end of the tunnel is good for wading in. Not much elevation gain but there are a few steep climbs. A lot of tall grass and shrubs so definitely bring bug spray.

trail running
1 month ago

Definitely run this trail in the winter up to early spring or be sure to wear pants. The majority of the trail is narrow and has foliage growing over the path. I wore my very short running shorts and a tank top and ended up with some pretty raw legs. I had 8 or more ticks from the hour and half it took to run it but that was to be expected. If give it a 5 star rating for hikers and 4 for runners.

Fun trail that runs mostly along a ridge line at the start and passes through woodland and then a Shortleaf Pine forest. There’s a rest area between the woodland and Shortleaf Pine forest that is next to a small lake and has a picnic table. Other neat little ponds can be found next to the trail.

After descending from the ridge and passing some large flat rocks and other rock formations, the trail runs next to a wet weather creek for a couple of miles, which it crosses a few times. The trail is overgrown in several areas along the creek but the path is well worn from trail riders so it’s easy to find. We passed at least ten riders while on the trail. The last 3/4 mile back to the trailhead is on a gravel road. I logged 9.2 miles for the mapped trail.

Great trail, was really clear and we'll marked. Natural Tunnel was terrific. Trail was 7.4 miles round trip. This is a out and back trail and not a loop. The trail ends at the tunnel.

Great for trail running. I prefer to run it in reverse. It isn’t as hard on your feet and knees at the end when you end at the trail head. The full trail is beautiful, but the shortcut is just as challenging.

I did a small backpacking trip with a few teenagers on this trail, and we all had a blast. Well marked trails and a nice campground!

backpacking
2 months ago

Beware of ticks, they were falling from the trees on us at the campsite. The trail from creek to the campground is very overgrown but manageable. Enjoyed my time on Lower Rock Creek as always! This is an unofficial trail that is not maintained, be prepared for less than ideal conditions.

hiking
2 months ago

There is a lot to like about this trail...elevation, distance, scenery...But I was a little disappointed in the fire tower providing zero view and having to cross the highway twice. Enjoyed the finish along the river.

I love the solitude of this trail. I run it weekly.

great easy trail for kids

I loved this trail. Just make sure you give yourself enough time to complete and take your time. Would like to come back again. Very beautiful and easy to find. If you don’t want to finish all the way, there is a short cut you can take to take across the path to the finish. Not sure exactly where it’s at but after the 3rd mile maybe. I took it. Lol would have liked to go all the way around if I had enough daylight.

Beautiful. I have to say some of the reviews mentioning snakes kept me off of this trail for a while. Didn't see a single one! Perhaps the best thing about this is you can make it as long or as short as you wish. It's a nice walk to the stream itself, and for those who want a more rugged experience, there's plenty of that up and downstream. We had the entire place to ourselves on a summer Sunday! never saw another car after leaving Hwy. E.

backpacking
2 months ago

Besides being hot which was expect had lot of fun found a great spot to camp with a great view did alot of the other trials too definitely doing it again.

hiking
2 months ago

It took us over an hour to find the trail head. It’s off the side of the highway basically in the middle of nowhere. To get there you have to walk along the highway which is incredibly hilly/curvy and cars, trucks and trailers are flying by going 40+. We didn’t even walk much of the trail because it was too hot and we didn’t have enough water for 2 people and 4 dogs. As usual in MO, the water is a crystal teal and beautiful but this park was SWAMPED. The wading area was full of screaming kids throwing rocks at one another and the fishing areas were packed. I had no idea this was a giant trout hatchery and so that was a little disappointing. I’m more of a let the dogs off leash and see 0 people on the trails kind of person. The drive for me was 3.5 hours and I would never come back. It was a beautiful park but not for activities I enjoy.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice hike, only took a little over two hours at a mild pace taking pictures along the way.

Don't access at Hatchery, steep climb, use another.

What a great trail! It is every bit of 8 miles and well marked. The trail to the tunnel is not a part of the main loop; you follow a spur to the tunnel and then hike the spur back to the main loop. The tunnel is amazing! We hiked late May, and it was humid! Bring plenty of water!

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike. I wished it got closer to the river sooner, but all in all a good trail. tIt took us about 2 hours at a moderate pace. Good incline for the first half mile or so, then it eases up.

Great trail, marked well for novice.
Good variation in terrain, several areas with natural wildflowers. Could vary depending on time of year. Took trail in May and areas that had undergrowth burned and new growth coming up were cool. Several runoff crossings, so pay attention to weather.

hiking
3 months ago

It’s a really beautiful area as many have stated. It may be different with very high or low water levels but when we were there there was pool after inviting pool as we hiked along the creek. Some of them were ~20 feet across.. Next time I’ll do some wading.

Knocked off one star because of how poorly marked and maintained the trail was. There are a couple pics of one of our group with her toes on a 6” ledge. I doubt that was the way the trail went but it sure appeared to lead us there.

camping
3 months ago

I rate this as difficult, because of the challenging nature of climbing over and around the big rocks, which are incredibly slippy when wet.
You can camp at the trailhead by your car, or at the river some 40 mins in or further upstream, I found it difficult to get around rocks with my backpack, and because I was on my own, return and camped at a safer place. This is a beautiful site to camp, relax and hike. Totally recommend it.

backpacking
3 months ago

Every other review I’ve read is pretty accurate. My GF(inexperienced) and I hiked yesterday 4/28/18.
The trails are definitely not maintained, which is fine with me because it means not many people go here. It’s not the easiest trail to navigate; with occasional rock climbing, rock hoping and super slick rock along the river. Yes there are definitely an abundance of snakes but that’s just a part of nature, watch where you put your hands & feet and you should be fine. The trail can be difficult in places and easy in other spots but well worth the experience if the river and falls (lots of rain last week), the views and serenity of it all.
We will be back again to see more soon. I expect during the summer it would be incredibly overgrown, so come prepared to work for it.

Had a wonderful hike on the Natural Tunnel Trail. Went early, 7:00am, to avoid the crowds. Definitely a moderate trail, with some steep climbs. Plenty of beautiful scenery to fill your camera.

Very well groomed trail. I would rate this as a moderate trail. This trail would only considered Hard if you were trying to ride a scooter on it. I agree with the other commentary, go early spring to get some nice views of the Meramec River.

Beautiful weather, nice trail, easy to find, easy to follow, sparsely populated and a nice "surprise" at the end.

My husband and I completed this 10 mile trail in a day. Absolutely beautiful! Only ran into one other couple. Lots of fallen trees to climb over and ones to duck in the trail, but it was worth it.

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