Explore Top Trails - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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This trail should definitely be marked as moderate. There are multiple steep and rocky inclines and a few drop offs. I would not recommended this trail for children. Also towards the end of the loop the trail split into 2 paths with neither of them heading back the correct way. Not my favorite trail by far.

Good trail for even inexperienced day hikers. It for sure takes 2 hours with a small group and 30m at the falls. No chance of getting lost if you look for the red blazes on the trees.

nature trips
4 days ago

Loved the River Scene Trail and the rugged path at the beginning of the hike. Bathrooms at the park were pristine clean. Very enjoyable!

Well defined trail, wooded with a nice lookout spot. Fun run!

Loved this trail. Hiked it with the family on a Saturday. Great views and the falls were awesome.!

Favorite place EVER. My family has been vacationing here since I was a baby and we love it. Camping at the state park is really nice. The shut-ins are just a few minutes drive from the campground and are amazing. There is nothing like them, even with the post-flood damage. There are also great trails at the shut ins for hiking. Elephant Rocks is only about a 20 minute drive from the shut ins and is also excellent.

Would definitely not rate this as “Moderate.” The trail is very well marked and relatively easy. Great views from the bluff & alone the river. Crowded on the weekend, but that’s to be expected.

Love the waterfall!!
Nice hike and several benches to sit take in the scenery.

backpacking
11 days ago

loved it

long trail down hill for a trickle....bad time of year

Here’s the good, bad & ugly of it... For starters I’d rate this trail as borderline moderate/difficult due to it being a very challenging trail and a bit technical with a lot of large rock to climb up/down plus a lot of rock scrambles to maneuver across - wear boots & pants - the poison ivy is thick in areas and the trail always seems to narrow where there’s ivy but bring swim trunks & water shoes to cool off in the clear cool Black River on your hike. There’s an impressive waterfall if you hike after a rain and a few small stream crossings too. I’d rather have hiked this during an off season due to the mass of people enjoying the actual shut-ins, it just takes away from being out in nature when you hear a crowd on part of your hike. There are a couple areas that are just beautiful but all in all there’s not much to look at. I lost the trail 3 or 4 times due to a lack of markers but this app always helps gets me back on track. I would suggest beginning your day when the park opens at 8am to view and enjoy the shut-ins before they’re dotted with bodies and noise. I probably wouldn’t hike this trail again, not enough bang for your buck but I’m glad I hiked it anyway.

One of the best hikes I’ve had outside of a National Park! Not only games for the highest peak or the tallest waterfall in Missouri but this area is geologically older than the Rockies or the Appalachian Mountains, in fact, scientists say these Precambrian Volcanoes were volcanic islands when most of the US was a sea! I just love history and thus region has plenty!
The waterfall was only a trickle but the vistas, flora, fauna, & exploring opportunities totally make up for it. The hike is moderately technical or difficult especially if you climb down to the bottom of the falls and back. There are lots of rocks in the trail, some are even scrambles I suppose and sure footing is a must to avoid twisting an ankle (or worse). There are a few great places along the trail to rest and take in the views and many more trail side rocks to sit on but beware of snakes as they love to hang out under the cool rocks. We didn’t see any snakes but we did see two Collared Lizards, several Skinks, a few Tree Frogs and several different species of Butterfly. The bugs were thick in spots so bring extra repellent (always).
An added bonus is the plethora of trails, local history & areas with a wide variety of geologic interest that surrounds these mountains so there’s plenty to do, I’ve spent 7 days here and wish I had 7 more!

It’s a good one day hike if you start in the morning or a a late evening with one night of camping, it’s pretty but not a lot to do if you plan on spending a day there. There are a lot of ticks!

We were expecting to be able to see the river from the bluff, but apparently the pamphlet where we got our info was incorrect. A good workout nonetheless. No one else on the trail. All shaded so we kept out of the sun and cooler.

hiking
16 days ago

Beautiful!

Good quick trip in the woods. Gets the heart beating with elevation changes. Well marked and easy to follow

My mother played at the natural bridge as a young child and I went to photograph it to give her a childhood reminder. I took a right at the fork and it was a beautiful hike. I do believe it was more than the advertised mile. The bridge is spectacular!!! I got to the parking lot a little after daybreak (a bit late for me) and was at the bridge by 6:30am.
I could not find the path to the top so that is for a different time. Didn't want to hike the trail back so I walked the creek to a point where I could get back on the path quite a way back. This place is gorgeous and I love what has been created for our enjoyment!

hiking
23 days ago

Okay hike. Well shaded, but not necessarily well marked. Did get lost about 3/4 way in. A LOT of webs to walk through

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.

ticks! south loop overgrown

Beautiful scenery of the Meramec River and the valley... somewhat crowded but worth the hike!

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
28 days ago

Tough trail. Lots of loose rocks and grade changes. Challenging but fun. Ticks are abundant.

Fun hike in the hot weather. But tougher than I remember. But still a good one

This is the most beautiful hike in the St Louis area.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful scenery, well maintained. Would recommend coming to the falls after a good rain storm.

just got back! love this hike although it was a lot different with little water running.

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

Beautiful views, well kept, great way to spend your day.

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.

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