Explore the most popular trails in Van Meter State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

The state of Missouri and its principal river were both named after a tribe of Native Americans, known by the French explorers as the Oumessourit or Missouri Indians, that once lived in the area of Van Meter State Park. Today, the park provides outdoor recreational opportunities and interprets the area landscape and the Native Americans who found it to be bountiful. For many centuries, Native American hunters traversed the nearby marshes and prairies and the deep ravines and narrow ridges, locally known as the Pinnacles. In 1673, French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet composed a map that located a Missouri Indian village at the Great Bend of the Missouri River. Van Meter State Park features remnants of this early village site. A hand-dug earthwork, known as the Old Fort, and several burial mounds lie within park boundaries. The states American Indian history is also interpreted inside Missouri's American Indian Cultural Center through displays and interpretive programming. For outdoor enthusiasts, the park features hiking trails, an 18-acre lake for fishing and a campground. A boardwalk leads visitors through the Oumessourit Natural Area, which consists of a freshwater marsh, fens and bottomland and upland forests. Picnic sites and two picnic shelters are nestled under lofty trees.

This trail was definitely better maintained than Earthworks. However, The overlook was really disappointing. Nothing much to see. The platform isnt elevated or hanging over a Valley. The view from the platform is overgrown and lots of trees block the view of the Valley. it was a nice trail, but dont waste your time on this trail just to see the overlook.

hiking
bugs
over grown
16 days ago

Lots of Bugs. Alot of Spider webs and lots of over growth. Tree Frogs jumping every few feet. I did it with 2 kids so it was pretty easy. It would have been a nice adventure if it wasnt for overgrowth and bugs. Not a whole lot to see other than an open area of the old fort. Otherwise, it's just a hike in the woods and nothing entirely special about it.

hiking
bugs
over grown
1 month ago

Didn't end up hiking this trail. Turned back around a quarter of a mile due to too much overgrowth and TONs of spiderwebs right at face level.

hiking
bugs
1 month ago

Pretty cool trail that is a part of Missouri history. Only slightly muddy and very easy. Some of the trail is overgrown, especially on the west side of the loop, but easy enough to get through and only in small sections. Lots of frogs jumping around, which was so fun. However, I spent the majority of the time knocking down huge spider webs and didn't get very much enjoyment out of the hike except in the open "Old Fort" area.

Excellent walk back to an river overlook. Adjacent to nice 2 mile hike around the lake. Van Meter is a hidden Jewel in the Missouri state park system. It is worth an overnight visit to do the multiple trails and the visitor center. Only caution campsites are first come basis and it has limited number of sites. However it is not overly busy, call ahead, but you will generally find a site.

can't say anything about the trail since it was closed when we were there. Found out that it has been closed for almost a year now.

hiking
11 months ago

simple trail through the woods and occasionally it went along the edges of fields. It was not very well maintained with some fallen trees over the trail and the grass was very tall through the fields. A few times the trail split with no markers. But would also recommend the overlook trail at the parking lot where this starts. It may not be much to look at but it is only .2 miles

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Beautiful forest scenery, packed with wildlife and the sounds of nature

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Nice hills- loops around the water nicely

hiking
Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Very nice, but short trail. Some nice hills but not too difficult. A part of the trail has been rerouted due to hornet's nests.

Completed all trails today at Van Meter and was pleasantly surprised. There is a good bit of history regarding the Missouria Indian tripe as well as quite a fair amount of natural wilderness to look at including bluff views of the Missouri River, natural Wetland boards walks, and the really lovely Loess Hill Trail. The north half of the park is closed 11/1-3/31; however, you can still access that part of the part from the Earthwork trail (featuring mounds and fort remains). The lake is a touch small buy amazingly secluded, and you will have to carry your boat about a quarter mile to put in. Quite a lovely park which I would be happy to visit again.

I intended to hike the Loess Hills Trail, but the road to reach the TH was closed for the winter. Started to walk from the parking lot to the TH, but opted instead to hike the Earthworks Trail. It's an interesting area, wooded and some rugged climbing to a couple of historic Indian sites (burial mounds and settlement). I enjoyed the Earthworks Trail and will return another time for Loess Hills Trail around the lake. Also recommend visiting the Van Meter family cemetery, from the mid-19th century. If you have time and interest, also check out the American Indian Cultural Center. It's small but has nice artifacts from the site.

This was a neat little walk in some metal boarwalk trail! You start off on a regular dirt path and then move to metal grating that overlooks wetland areas!!!

hiking
Thursday, June 07, 2012

We hiked the Loess Hills trail in a lull of a rainstorm. Normally, that would deter me from hiking, but we'd driven a ways and we're glad we hit the trail. The trail winds around a small lake. You'd expect it to follow the shoreline, but you get very few views of the lake until the very end of the trail when you cross the dam. The terrain around the lake is beautiful; hills, marshy areas, and open fields. The hike doesn't take long, but it's well worth it. There are other trails to hike at Van Meter State Park, enough to keep you busy for the day. We hiked this trail in the early spring, when the wildflowers were blooming and the underbrush wasn't so heavy. There's lots of good camping in the park, too, as well as historical and cultural displays.

Van Meter is an undiscovered jewel in the state parks system. The diversity of things to do is great. The indian cultural musuem was small but nice. The boardwalk trail over the fresh water wet area was unique. Nice camp and picnic grounds. I have been back a couple times for a relaxed weekend trip.

A nice and easy hike that takes you out over a natural wetland. Great exposure to the environment without getting your feet wet. Enjoy

hiking
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The trail is a very simple hike through the woods and old pasture as it loops around a small lake. Terrain very level. undemanding. Worth doing if your at the park for the other amenities, but not a destination.

hiking
3 months ago

Sunday, October 12, 2014

hiking
Wednesday, October 09, 2013