Swimming Deer Trail is a 3.6 mile heavily 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.

Distance: 3.6 miles Elevation Gain: 357 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

cave

forest

river

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

bugs

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.

hiking
rocky
19 days ago

hiking
20 days ago

A bit overgrown and narrow in spots with lots of poison ivy. Would have rated higher if not for that. Otherwise pretty enjoyable with variety of terrain.

24 days ago

a nice easy hike

hiking
1 month ago

5 stars for a MO hike. Absolutely loved it.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

A little muddy, as expected after a couple days of rain. A few bluebells still blooming. Plenty of other wildflowers. Less traffic than usual because the nearby campground is closed.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail was enjoyable, lots of plant life and some river views. It was muddy in some spots but it also rained all day the day before. You can get off trail though due to several areas where the trail splits off without a trail marker present but it’s easy to realize you’re not on trail and going back. I did notice some poison ivy along the edges of some parts of the trail, so if you’re allergic, like me, I’d wear pants to be safe.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail! Had a little bit of everything

hiking
1 month ago

Lovely today; bluebells still in bloom!

walking
1 month ago

Classic spring Bluebell flower hike. Mostly well maintained and well marked trail. Nevertheless I lost the trail going and coming in the same spot. There is a 4 way, X shaped split in the trail early on, 1/4-1/8 of a mile in. Watch carefully for the markers.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful flowers. The trail was hard to follow as it dropped steeply to the river. Not much wildlife, but overall a fun hike!

hiking
1 month ago

One of my favorite trails. Today it felt like an enchanted forest with so many flowers blooming. I’ve never seen so many flowers blooming at once.

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Gorgeous trail that is well marked. Bluebells in full bloom. Go early and no one is there. Lots of ups and downs to get heart rate up. Able to go down to river also. Will go again.

hiking
1 month ago

Alltrails will lead you to TH parking lot, TH is located behind shower/bathroom building. Beautiful trail with blue bells (hiked in early April) and a bluff overlook of Big River. Hike counterclock wise to save overlook for the end. Easy to Moderate trail that is well marked. I will be back!

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome trail. So much to see! Will definitely do again.

hiking
2 months ago

We really enjoyed this trail. Great conditions - flowers starting to bloom and minimal mud. The bluffs were very pretty, as well as the main creek crossing. 10 people, 1 dog. Would definitely come back to this trail.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful. Everything is beginning to bloom, you get a nice variety of flowers, budding trees and grass on this hike. The path is packed dirt, in some areas filled with larger rocks which makes it unique to maneuver. There is a stretch of a slight scramble but nothing intense. Good over looks up on the bluff. Along the path streams with rocks coated in moss with little spring pools. We saw about 10 people on this loop, given it was a sunny spring day, but it didn’t feel over crowded. It wasn’t one of those hikes you can’t appreciate what’s around you because of the cluster of people.

hiking
muddy
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

Beautiful trail with many moss-covered rock out-croppings and even a small rock scramble to climb, to stay on-trail. A fun hike with lots of reasons to stop & take photos. The sign for the hike lists the trail as 2.5 miles; my All Trails recording captured it as 3.6 miles. The trailhead is just inside the camping area and there are shower/restroom facilities right there (closed now for the season), a playground at the entrance, etc. Not at all busy today but if the size of the parking lot is any indication, I’d guess this gets really busy at times.

hiking
icy
rocky
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

This trail is one of the best in this area.

hiking
blowdown
rocky
7 months ago

Great trail for the family.

hiking
7 months ago

Great trail and very shaded and didn’t have any bugs to speak of

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