Wilderness Trail Long Loop

HARD 37 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
26 days 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
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month 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
1 month ago

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

hiking
2 months ago

trail running
2 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
2 months ago

hiking
4 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
5 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
5 months ago

7 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

Quite a nice trail, though I am not sure it should be rated as difficult. I finished the trail in just under 3 hours. For sure, this is one of the more popular longer trails I've been on in the Missouri state park system as I crossed paths with a few other hikers along the way.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

We hiked this trail yesterday which was a very humid day (found out later humidity made heat index 101) so made the trail more challenging. Not very picturesque but was a nice hike. Our first time hiking in Missouri so we enjoyed looking at the diverse rocks along the trail. Really like the rock creek beds. Would do trail again if we are in the area.

hiking
Monday, June 13, 2016

Decided to hike this trail clockwise around the loop on what seemed like the hottest day in June. Overall this trail was great but did have a few downfalls. The vegetation along the trail was pretty heavy in quite a few spots and I came across a few downed trees that were laying on the trail which required me to go off trail and find an alternate way around. That being said these were not huge issues to me and really didn't impact my opinion of the trail. What did make a difference was the number of mosquitos along the back half of the trail so make sure to bring some bug spray to re-apply after you hit copper hollow spring. Now for the good. There was plenty of animal life around. I saw quite a few deer and there were a few warning signs to tie up your food in a tree because of bears and other critters so I assume they are somewhat common in the area. All the campsites seemed good and all had fire rings set up. The best ones seemed to be sites 5, 6, and 7. Those were relatively close to a stream where you could re-fill your water bottles (of course you should always treat your water before drinking it). Just past campsite 7 was a small natural spring which was a great place for my dog and me to stop and hang out for a little while. A little while after that was copper hollow spring which was really the highlight of the trail. This spring fed a small creek which flowed all the way out to the Meramec River. Once the trail navigates away from the spring fed creek the trail seemed to open up a little. I passed multiple "breaks" in the forrest into a few hillsides covered in prairie grass. There were also more oaks and bigger trees on this half of the hike (this is where the mosquitos were bad). The final campsite was also good although the nearby creek bed was completely dry so not a great place for water. All in all this was a great hike and I would like to come back in the fall as I think I would be able to give 4 stars then but for now we will stick with 3.

Monday, June 06, 2016

We needed more time than we allotted to hike it, but my 8 year old kept up and we'd go again just learn to take water and power bars. I misread the length oops.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Great hike. definitely would get there early as it gets crowed very quickly. Would also hike it counter clockwise.