Park Trails

at Meramec State Park

Bluff View Trail

  • Hiking

Length: 1.5 Miles View map

Bluff View Trail is a popular trail that provides superb views from the edge of two bluffs along the Meramec River.  Between the bluffs, the trail descends to the bank of the river. An octagonal stone trail shelter is located on the southern bluff, where the picnic area trailhead joins the main trail. Originally laid out as a smaller trail by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, it was improved and expanded and has access points near picnic shelter #3, the dining lodge area and at the trail shelter on River Trail. White connector 1 allows access to other park trails.

You may experience:

  • Natural surface, dirt, mud, gravel, shifting rocks, slippery surface, etc.
  • Rocks, roots and/or downed vegetation on trail        
  • Steep grades and inclines more than 10 percent
  • Bluffs or drop-offs next to trail
  • Bridges and/or structural crossings
Find the trailhead on the park map
Missouri State Parks Trail Rules and Etiquette
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
1.5 Miles 1 hour, 10 minutes Loop Blue 1) Two trailheads at the dining lodge parking area; 2) At picnic shelter #3

Deer Hollow Trail

  • Hiking

Length: 1.25 Miles View map

Deer Hollow Trail was one of the first trails built in the park by the Civilian Conservations Corps in the early 1930s and leads from the dining lodge area to Fisher Cave. True to its name, this trail traverses an area of the park where deer are commonly seen. The entire trail is surrounded by mature woodland. Dogwood trees bloom in abundance along this trail in late April, and in early October, it is ablaze in fall color.

You may experience:

  • Natural surface, dirt, mud, gravel, shifting rocks, slippery surface, etc.
  • Rocks, roots and/or downed vegetation on trail        
Find the trailhead on the park map
Missouri State Parks Trail Rules and Etiquette
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
1.25 Miles 1 hour, one way Linear Red 1) Across the main park road by the dining lodge; 2) West of the campground’s check station

Hamilton Iron Works Trail

  • Hiking

Length: .20 Mile View map

Interpretive stations along Hamilton Iron Works Trail explain the historic remains of a once bustling blast furnace that operated around the clock, seven days a week. Wildflowers adorn the forest floor in the spring but the best time of the year to see the remains is in the late fall and winter when leaves have fallen. The trail was built by Sullivan Boy Scouts.

You may experience:

  • Natural surface, dirt, mud, gravel, shifting rocks, slippery surface, etc.
  • Rocks, roots and/or downed vegetation on trail        
Find the trailhead on the park map
Missouri State Parks Trail Rules and Etiquette
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
.20 Mile 15 minutes Loop Green At the Hamilton Hollow parking area west of the kiosk

River Trail

  • Hiking

Length: .75 Mile View map

River Trail is a natural surface trail and one of the easiest trails in the park to hike. Part of the trail winds along a slough of the Meramec River where herons frequently feed and kingfishers often nest. In late April, bluebells bloom in profusion along much of the trail. At its mid-point, the trail passes through a Civilian Conservation Corps-built trail shelter where hikers can gain access to the scenic Bluff View Trail via white connector 1.

You may experience:

  • Natural surface, dirt, mud, gravel, shifting rocks, slippery surface, etc.
  • Rocks, roots and/or downed vegetation on trail        
  • Bridges and/or structural crossings
Find the trailhead on the park map
Missouri State Parks Trail Rules and Etiquette
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
.75 Mile 35 minutes Loop Yellow

Southern end of the campground near showerhouse 3

Natural Wonders Trail

  • Hiking

Length: 1.25 Miles View map

Caves, glades, mature trees, a spring-fed creek and old beaver meadows are a few of the reasons there is always something exciting to discover along Natural Wonders Trail. The natural surface trail winds through part of the Meramec Mosaic Natural Area and few trails this length have as much diversity of plant and animal life. Birds like the ovenbird and wood thrush dwell along much of this trail from mid-spring through late summer. A cool refreshing step into Elm Spring Creek may cause flashes of color by many fish. In late fall, deer rubs can be seen on small saplings along with frost flowers bursting from stalks in an old beaver meadow.

You may experience:

  • Natural surface, dirt, mud, gravel, shifting rocks, slippery surface, etc.
  • Rocks, roots and/or downed vegetation on trail        
  • Wood or stone steps
  • Bridges and/or structural crossings
Find the trailhead on the park map
Missouri State Parks Trail Rules and Etiquette
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
1.25 Miles 1 hour Loop Brown

Near the visitor center

Walking Fern Trail

  • Hiking

Length: .50 Mile View map

Walking Fern Trail is a natural surface trail that begins and ends at the entrance to Fisher Cave, which is a nice cool place to visit after a summer hike. The trail’s namesake is a large boulder located near the midpoint that is covered with walking ferns. Although the trail is one of the shortest in the park, it is also one of the most interesting. The lower part of the trail clings to the base of several bluffs, one of which contains the intriguing entrance to Indian Cave. The woodland along this portion of the trail is very lush. The upper part contains a diversity of plants adapted to dry rocky soils, largely due to the trail’s sharp change in elevation. In this area, the trail may have steep slopes along its side.

You may experience:

  • Natural surface, dirt, mud, gravel, shifting rocks, slippery surface, etc.
  • Rocks, roots and/or downed vegetation on trail   
  • Wood or stone steps    
  • Steep grades and inclines more than 10 percent
  • Bluffs or drop-offs next to trail
  • Bridges and/or structural crossings
Find the trailhead on the park map
Missouri State Parks Trail Rules and Etiquette
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
.50 Mile 30 minutes Loop Green

At the entrance of Fisher Cave

Wilderness Trail

  • Backpacking
  • Hiking

Length: 8.5 Miles View map

Wilderness Trail, the longest trail in the park, gives users an opportunity to experience great geological and natural features.  The trail has a rich history of construction starting with sections built by the Civilian Conservation Corps for horse trails in the early 1930s, to Boy Scouts from the St. Louis area in the 1970s, and Ozark Trail volunteers.

The north section of this trail meanders through the heart of the Meramec Upland Forest Natural Area, which is the most rugged and remote area of the park. Forests are rich and majestic with tall, dense and diverse communities and cherty woodlands in other areas.  Views of the river can be seen from a high vantage point especially after the leaves have dropped. Woodlands with rocky glades will appear on sun-drenched slopes and at the peaks of ridge tops. 

The natural surface trail is considered moderately difficult but due to its length should not be attempted by beginning hikers unless accompanied by someone more experienced. To shorten one’s hike, the .70 mile white connector 2 can be used. Eight backpacking camps are provided along the way with each camp having a connecting spur off of the main trail. The camps are primitive and contain only a fire grill and a cleared area for several tents.  They are first-come, first-served with a maximum of 14 people. Overnight backpackers must register at the registration box 200 yards from the trailhead.

You may experience:

  • Natural surface, dirt, mud, gravel, shifting rocks, slippery surface, etc.
  • Rocks, roots and/or downed vegetation on trail        
  • Low hanging vegetation
  • Steep grades and inclines more than 10 percent
  • Water/stream crossings without bridges
  • Road/highway crossing
Find the trailhead on the park map
Missouri State Parks Trail Rules and Etiquette
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
8.5 Miles 8 hours, 30 minutes Loop Orange Near cabins 1-8 in the picnic area