The beauty of the Meramec River and its surrounding bluffs, caves and forests have pleased visitors since the park opened in 1927. In 1933, the craftsmen of the Civilian Conservation Corps began blending a variety of visitor facilities into the park's rugged landscape. This popular 6,896-acre park offers year-round access to camping, picnicking and trails. Guided tours of Fisher Cave, one of more than 40 caves in the park, are provided on a seasonal basis for a nominal fee. Water enthusiasts will enjoy swimming, fishing, rafting and canoeing in the Meramec River. Weekdays offer substantially more solitude than weekends. Additional facilities include a park store that offers raft and canoe rentals, campsites (including three group sites), rental cabins, motel rooms and a conference center. Some services and facilities are only available on a seasonal basis. Meramec State Park's visitor center offers a mix of educational exhibits including large aquariums that display the amazing variety of aquatic life found in the river. Here, guests can orient themselves to the park's many permanent and seasonal attractions and facilities before venturing out into the park.

A nice hike.. A little bit of everything as far as Missouri goes.

hiking
5 days ago

Super short. Great for kids. Light is a must! there is a short crawl if want to see more. Opens back up and is an amazing area. Could continue crawling but we chose to stop there. Is closed during Bat hibernation months.

too many trees laying on the path but all in all a good trail

25 y/o male, casual hiker. I hiked this route in about 1.5 hours, but could have probably made it in around 50 minutes if I didn't stop anywhere.

Fantastic microcosm of Missouri's hills! Great mix of loose and dense woods, tallgrass fields, rocky bluffs, river views, and even a gaping gave if you step a little off of the trail. There has clearly been some campfires along the trail, from the burnt logs and bleached rocks, but generally felt very isolated and peaceful, even so close to the roads.

There were a few, small steep sections I was very glad to have a walking stick for, so scavenge one up for yourself.

I hiked the trail between 7 and 8:30 pm, with sunset around 9, and the only downside of my trek was the sheer number of spider webs! I ended up holding my walking stick up as a web breaker for the last 1/4 mile, and even then I'm sure I brought one or two tiny arachnids home. A broad-brim hat would have been great.

There is one point which goes all the way down to the river's edge, and you could get into the water and swim if you care. Fishermen travel up and down in their speedboats, so be watchful of the sound of approaching motors.

trail running
29 days ago

Great trail, didn't seem traveled too often. Lots of ducking under branches, climbing over or crawling under trees. Appreciated the natural challenges. If you are looking for a groomed trail, this may not be for you. Came across the really cool cave about mid way through the run.

Several creek crossings, so my dog could cool off and hydrate. I got caught in a severe thunderstorm at mile 6, so the end of my run was even more adventurous.

hiking
1 month ago

It's a beautiful hike with lots of twists and turns. You have to get creative in a few spots when passing over creeks. There one spot where the trail disappears and you have to walk the dry creek bed until it reappears. That was challenging. And be prepared for wet shoes during the rainy season. It can be hard to get across the different wet areas.

Also, the ticks! Holy cow! Brushed about 10 off me during the hike, picked off 11 when I go home.

But, the cave and its surrounding areas make it worth it. Beautiful!

Loved this hike! There are so many different environments in it and my dog loved jumping in the creek. We stumbled upon a section where hundreds and hundreds of bluebells were in bloom! We did come away with a few ticks already in early April. Depending on how overgrown it becomes later, I would be careful! The trail is very well marked and shows your location at all the campsites. The map is helpful too!

very quick but gorgeous hike. my favorite in meremac state park

backpacking
3 months ago

My two sons and I backpacked this trail in the first week of March and it was beautiful. The grass was just starting to green along the trail and many of the smaller trees had buds out, giving them just a touch of spring. Best of all, only one tick seen during our two day, overnight trip. This trail has been rated as “Hard,” a ranking that might be a little high, but not much.

However, like any wilderness experience, this trail has its pro’s and con’s, with the former far out weighing the later.

Pro’s:

- This trail is located in Meramec State park, MO, which, by itself, is a great experience. Meramec is clean, well-organized and well suited for backcountry hikers or families who prefer the park-and-camp approach.

- Despite being located in such a drive-in friendly park, the Wilderness Trail Long Loop offers an excellent opportunity to really get into the woods and away from it all. I would NOT recommend this trail if you are a beginner unless someone in your group is an experienced hiker. Upgrade to All Trails Pro to get a topo for this trail, or stop in at the park’s visitor center for an excellent topo map as well.

- Even in late winter/early spring, there is water all along this trail. If you have a good water filter (which I do) and you do not like carrying loads of water (which I don’t - I rarely carry more than two liters), then you are going to love this hike. If you hike the whole loop (there is a connector trail at about 2.5 miles going counter-clockwise, marked with white), be sure to stop at Copper Hollow Spring (just past mile 4, counter-clockwise) and then another small spring just off the trail, opposite of backpack camp # 7. The water from these springs is cold and as pure as it gets.

- Right at Copper Hollow Springs there is a chance to bush-wack off trail and head due East along Copper Hollow Creek, right down to the Meramec river. You MAY be outside the park at this point, but the river (and fishing) are worth the extra five minutes of pushing through the undergrowth. You may also be tempted to swim in the Meramec, but be careful - the currents at this bend in the river are swift and tricky.

- There are a number of backpack campsites along this trail, and numbers 3 through 7 (roughly between miles 4.75 and 5.75, counter-clockwise) are particular nice. They fill-up quickly, and it’s first come first serve.

Con’s:

- This trail is not well maintained in places, notably through Campbell Hollow, from mile 5.5 to mile 8.5 going counter-clockwise. A number of downed trees (large ones) and a lack of blazing means that you will need to pay close attention to where you are going. Even for day hikers, I recommend that you have (and know how to use) a map and a compass before hitting this (or any) trail.

- This trial is very rocky in places, which is typical of Missouri topography. Take care and watch your step (especially if your are carrying a pack), or a bad ankle might be just around the bend.

All in all, a beautiful hike, one that should certainly make your “must do” list.