Wilderness Trail Long Loop

HARD 43 reviews
#1 of 5 trails in

Wilderness Trail Long Loop is a 8.2 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Sullivan, Missouri that features a river and is rated as difficult. 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
8.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
980 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

cave

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

bugs

muddy

rocky

washed out

Eight backpacking camps are provided along the way. The north section of the trail meanders through the heart of the Meramec river. Forests here and in other areas are rich and majestic. Overnighters must register at the box 200 yards from trailhead. Camps contain fire grill. Orange blazes. Meramec State Park has some truly beautiful trails. The Wilderness Trail (Long Loop) is well worth the effort. Although this trail is beautiful in the Spring and Fall the terrain is hidden behind thick green foliage. If you plan to camp or hike on this trail make sure you check the weather! There are many areas along the trail where flash floods could take you by surprise.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Not a highly trafficked trail. I did the full trail. First part of the trail which is also the short loop, is a little more traversed and not as overgrown. However the back part of the trail is overgrown and had a lot of fallen trees. I wore pants due to the other reviews mentioning ticks.I found two on me after the trail. Quite a bit of the trail follows a stream, so I would think in the spring after heavy rains some of the trail would be hard to pass as there would be a strong possibility of flash flooding in the area. So if hiking in the spring keep your eye on the weather. Saw quite a few hikers on the front half of the trail. I didn't run into anyone on the back half. It is only difficult because it is a wilderness trail. If you went off the trial it could be easy to get lost due to the overgrowth. I will say the over growth does actually make the trail a little more challenging and fun. However, it is still not overly challenging. Not many scenic views. There was a cave that is blocked off due to the endangered bats. Overall it was a good trail due to the seclusion and the forest being in its natural state.

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

We went through shorter version of trail ( around 5 miles). At the beginning the trail was a little confusing . There are a lot of ticks there. It was not a scenic trail in comparison to other trails I went in Missouri.

hiking
4 months ago

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

hiking
4 months ago

trail running
4 months 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
4 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

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!

backpacking
7 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.

hiking
7 months ago

9 months ago

hiking
11 months ago