Swimming Deer Trail

MODERATE 67 reviews
#2 of 3 trails in

Swimming Deer Trail is a 3.4 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Bonne Terre, Missouri that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

3.4 miles
357 feet

dogs on leash

kid friendly




nature trips

trail running





wild flowers




Well marked, 2 wooden bridges, large sinkhole ,very deep This trail has a steep climb at the beginning, but is fairly level overall. There are some rocks in the trail making for tricky footing in places. There are also two wooden bridges to cross. A point of interest, is the deep sink hole located along the trail, and an old shack. Swimming Deer Trail follows Big River for approximately one mile and circles back along the hillside to its origin. Hikers will be treated to outstanding bluff overlooks along Big River for much of the walk. Also along the trail is evidence of scars left on the land from a time when settlers dug shallow surface mines by hand in search of lead deposits. A historic log sawmill reflects a time when this area was so heavily logged that hardly any trees were left standing.

3 months ago

Scenic views overlooking the Big River from the bluff overhangs, well beaten path, beautiful vegetation.

4 months ago

This is a good trail, not too long for an afternoon hike. A bit rocky in places, but well maintained and well marked. Definitely worth the drive to St. Francois State Park.

4 months ago

Very pretty! It's spring so everything is bright green and bushy. The river is up due to recent rains, so we couldn't take a dip, but it was still great. We took the route that goes to the left of the fork, which takes your through most of the inclines first and brings you around by the river the second half, if seemed to work out well bc we got thw tiring part out of the way early.
The huge sinkhole was pretty cool, I was able to toss a rock in to hear how deep it was.

7 months ago

Enjoyed the variety this trail offered in terms of terrain. The moss covered rock formations were interesting. I would enjoy hiking this trail again.

8 months ago

Trail was sneaky muddy...surface looked dry but it was slippery in many areas. Trail is covered with leaves, but wasn't hard to follow. Rock outcroppings throughout and some nice river views.
Trailhead is at the campground area, next to the bathhouse.

10 months ago

Fun trail with the dogs. Beautiful mossy rock formations along the way. Be advised, the actual trail is over 3 miles as we traveled it.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Trail is marked well. There are some nice points overlooking the river. Pretty wild flowers along the way. Only criticism is distance marked on the signs in the park aren't correct. It is marked at 2.5 but maps out at a little over 3. #lagomadventures

Friday, September 15, 2017

Trail was marked very well and the overlooks were awesome as well

Monday, August 14, 2017

This is a really neat trail with great views and access to the Big River. I visited on a rainy day and saw a lot of neat fungi. I saw deer here like some of the other hikers mentioned. The trail was well-maintained and there were many trail markers which made it very easy to follow.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Great hiking trail!

Monday, July 31, 2017

This is the most beautiful trail I have hiked so far. I went around 10-11 so the morning light shining through the woods was pretty.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Great walk.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Really enjoyed this one. Lots of vegetation and not a lot of major elevation changes.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

We love this trail! The scenery is pretty and the diversity of the changing terrain is great! I would highly recommend this trail.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Very nice to walk !

Monday, January 02, 2017

Nice trail not hard at all.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Love this trail. Good for a quick hike. Have seen deer on this trail!

Friday, December 02, 2016

Fantastic trail! I actually did see some deer along the hike. Also, some of the trees have incredible shapes! Definitely bring a camera!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A really nice wooded trail with overlooks on top of the bluffs along the Big river. Some up and down but only one steep section going up the first set of bluffs. Shouldn't be a problem for most people. I just love the rock outcroppings throughout the trail!

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

I went with three 4 year old kids and three adults. It was a really nice trail. There are a few places where the kids needed help, and a few spots where they have to be kept close because of some drop off but wasn't a hassle. We saw several deer despite the kids. Also the trail is just off the river so you can swim or explore the water. We will definitely be back. The name fits this trail!

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Great trail. A classic while camping there. Easy trail most of the way for kids. One spot is pretty step and rocky but kids can make it with a little assistance.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

This trail had some nice diversity, an old shed, two sink holes, river views off the bluff, small cave. Worth the hike when at the park. But, the last one I would do if I have time for the others.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Lovely, well-marked trail. :)

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