Wilderness Trail Long Loop

HARD 77 reviews
#1 of 6 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.

8.2 miles
823 feet

dogs on leash


nature trips

trail running


bird watching





wild flowers






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.

1 month ago

This trail needs some maintenance. There are 20-25 fallen trees that are down on the trail. For someone day hiking this is not an issue but there are camping sites along it which requires more gear and larger packs.

4 months ago

wide diversity of flora + types of terrain. wouldn’t say it was a hard or difficult hike - perhaps moderate largely due a lot of vegetation or fallen trees coupled with narrow pathways at times. fairly quiet + unpeopled.

6 months ago

Very overgrown with lots of trees across the trail. Only 1 tick despite the underbrush. Some truly beautiful areas. Came across only one other family.

trail running
7 months ago

Definitely run this trail in the winter up to early spring or be sure to wear pants. The majority of the trail is narrow and has foliage growing over the path. I wore my very short running shorts and a tank top and ended up with some pretty raw legs. I had 8 or more ticks from the hour and half it took to run it but that was to be expected. If give it a 5 star rating for hikers and 4 for runners.

8 months ago

Great trail, marked well for novice.
Good variation in terrain, several areas with natural wildflowers. Could vary depending on time of year. Took trail in May and areas that had undergrowth burned and new growth coming up were cool. Several runoff crossings, so pay attention to weather.

9 months ago

Very well groomed trail. I would rate this as a moderate trail. This trail would only considered Hard if you were trying to ride a scooter on it. I agree with the other commentary, go early spring to get some nice views of the Meramec River.

9 months ago

My husband and I completed this 10 mile trail in a day. Absolutely beautiful! Only ran into one other couple. Lots of fallen trees to climb over and ones to duck in the trail, but it was worth it.

10 months ago

Hiked here on the hottest day of the year in July 2016. It felt really good in the wilderness. It was 10 miles total. Tons of ticks! I had 5 on me within the 24 hours...1 held on for 3 days. only 1 place for water but I was not brave enough to drink it and test out my purification tablets. camped at campsite 7 and all night there were tons of some kind of very large nuts/seeds dropping on our tent and I got no sleep. Beautiful trail. I consider myself a beginner to intermediate hiker but this was my first overnight backpacking trip and it was amazing!

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Great trail! Diverse terrain and well marked.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Completed the full trail in early December. The scenery was great, but the two issues I have with this area is the poor signage and the number of people who bring their dogs that aren't on leashes. Every time I bring my dog hiking, she's on a leash. During our most recent trip to this trail we encountered two groups of people who didn't have their dogs on a leash, one of which tried to attack my dog. If you're considering doing this trail, be prepared to deal with careless dog owners and minimal signage marking the trail.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

The distance of the full loop including the approach is 10 miles.

Friday, July 21, 2017

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.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

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.

Monday, June 19, 2017

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

trail running
Saturday, May 27, 2017

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.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

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!

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

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.


- 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.


- 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.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

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.

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.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

I would rate this trail as easy to moderate in terms of difficulty. We hiked the trail clockwise. A majority of the first half of the trail followed creek bottoms and washouts. The trail was very narrow and overgrown in spots. There were also a number of downed trees. I lost track of how many creek beds we crossed. I would not recommend hiking after a significant rain. The water was down when we went and there were a couple of spots that took a some good leaps to cross. The second half of the hike was more moderate. Most of the elevation change was in the last couple of miles. I think this is a better hike in the early spring or late fall than it would be late spring and summer when the greenery around the trail starts to grow out. It may be worth another trip in mid-April for Morel Mushroom hunting in the creek bottoms and washouts. It was an OK hike mainly because of the distance. We completed the 8.5 miles in just under 3 hours.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Did clockwise good hill at end.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Backpacked this trail solo this weekend. Was able to find the first camp in the dark, so at least the first leg is reasonably navigable in low light. The trail is easy to follow though not wide. The published map (see state website) is pretty accurate to the track I recorded. I camped at Camp 1 & 8 over night. Each camp had room for 3-4 tents (1-2 hammocks in prepared area).

Fire pits could use a cleaning out, I had to dig out room to get a fire under the grill.

Friday, December 11, 2015

A great Uriel to take the dogs on

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Great trail, it crossed a creek about 20 times but they are wet weather creeks. Very neat to do in late fall without leaves on the trees, we were able to see so much more and the cave was neat!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Pretty good, some pretty spots and the cave, while closed, is a great cool spot for a rest.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

This has become one of our favorites! Not only can we hike it for a fun afternoon outing but we also have a fun place to hike and camp that isn't far from home!! very enjoyable place!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

I found this to be an enjoyable, not heavily traveled path. I did this trail as an overnight hiking/camping trip with a college group. Some parts of trail were narrow and overgrown, but for the most part it was visible with plenty of orange blazes to mark the way. The trail criss crosses a mostly dry (at the time) creekbed which I imagine can get flowing with enough rain. The cave and spring were a cool feature with flowing water and some moss covered rocks. Overall the trail is mostly wooded with a few open prairies along the way and relatively flat with some moderate inclines in a couple of spots. The campground we used was good, heavily wooded, and didn't appear overused. It was far enough from the main trail for seclusion, and has a rock ring for campfires. Only downside was some city noise and frequent trains throughout the day and night.

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