Hiking Missouri’s Meramec State Park

Are you looking for a place to canoe, cave and hike in the Midwest? If your answer is yes, lace up your boots, pack up you gear and head over to Meramec State Park, south of St. Louis.

Located just a short 60-minute drive from St. Louis, the 6,896-acre park, has over 16 miles of hiking trails, 10 miles of water to float and 45 caves to explore.

Meramec State Park has over 16 miles of hiking trails.

Day hikers can trek the 1.5-mile Bluff View Trail, the 1.8-mile Deer Hollow Trail and the 1.3-mile Natural Wonders Trail. And the serious trailblazer is not forgotten — the 10-mile Wilderness Trail takes you through the rugged 461-acre Meramec Upland Forest Natural Area. Eight backpack camps are found along the trail, and the sights are spectacular: bluffs, cliffs, savannas and glades (the “Shoe Me State’s” version of desert). The park is home to whitetail, turkey, bobcat and black bear.

After the trails, you can take in the guided tour at Fisher Cave ($4 per person). And if you want to explore any of the other caves in the area, you’ll have to stop in the visitor’s center and get a permit (safety gear required). The park has caves ranging from beginners to advanced, so check with park staff for appropriate levels.

If you want to explore any of the other caves in the area, you’ll have to stop in the visitor’s center and get a permit (safety gear required).

Float The River, Too
But there’s more: Since Missouri is synonymous with floating, you get to choose between a 5-, 6- or 10-mile float down the Meramec River. The spring-fed waterway is one of Missouri’s most-popular and scenic runs. Be sure to bring a camera and get a photo of the scenic Green’s Cave.

In addition to the eight backpack camps, the park has 132 basic sites, 58 electric sites and 20 full hook-up sites. The park also has a dining lodge, a general store, a hotel and cabins.

For more information, contact: Meramec State Park, 2800 S Hwy. 185, Sullivan, MO 63080; 573-468-6072; reservations, 573-468-6519.

Getting There
From St. Louis: Take Interstate-44 west to MO 185, and go south on MO 185 three miles to the park.

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