dogs on leash
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.