Danny's Missouri Backpacking & Hiking Trails Reviews

Placed Here 7 November 1997 - Updated 2 March 2008

Meramec Conservation Area - Missouri Department of Conservation (MODOC)

Location: South from Sullivan (from I-44) on Hwy 185 approximately 7 miles. The Conservation Sign is about one-mile after passing through Meramec State Park and crossing the Meramec River bridge on the left then 1-1/2 miles on a gravel road to the parking area which is also wheelchair accessible.

Distance: There are 8-miles of maintained trails to explore and 1-1/2 miles of paved trail suitable for wheelchairs. There is also a 12-mile separate horse trail.

Water: Drinking water is not available unless it is really wet and you filter it from the streams. All the streams are intermittant.

Parking: Overnight parking and primitive camping on Lone Hill is only available by permit for educational purposes. Camping facilities are available at nearby Meramec State Park.

Wheelchair Accessible Trail: This 1-1/2 mile trail is extremely nice and passes through the river bottom woodlands. Besides the asphalt walkway, there are benches spaced at close intervals, bridges/walkways across the gullies and dry streams, and a bird feeding area to attract birds for viewing. The trail is looped and the river side of the loop could flood at certain times. This trail will be enjoyable to anyone. Privies are available at the trailhead. We met a MODOC employee there today using a leaf blower to clean the asphalt trail. He said that he cleans it off once a week (Fridays).

Trail Report 2 March 2008: I hiked the foot trail on Saturday morning and found that MDC has put up more trail markers and cleaned out the deadfall on the very eastern portion of the trail so that it is much easier to follow now. It could still use some arrows at a few key turning points and they need a map posted at the parking lot/trailhead to get people started. Apparently the horse trail that was running along a portion of the trail was another detour due to another timber sale elsewhere but that has been eliminated and it is all for hiking again. I do suggest that you pick up a map at the MDC office in Sullivan which is open Mon-Fri and is diagonal across Hwy 185 from the Burger King/Phillips 66 station off I-44, exit 226.

Trail Report 8 April 2000: I attempted to hike the foot trail on 8 April 2000. Because of recent logging in the area parts of the hiking trail are closed (you can't actually find it) so be sure to take a map. We hiked part of the horse trail in combo with the hiking trail and parts of the horse trail have been re-routed too because of the logging activities. Overall we ended up hiking at least 10 miles as we wound up going much farther east, following the horse trail, then the original hiking trail goes.

Trail Report 7 November 1997: This trail is almost in my backyard and offers a great day hike for anyone that likes a totally wooded trail. I like to hike it at least once a year. There are old mines and prospector pits along the trail as well as the former location of the Lone Hill Lookout Tower where a pavilion, fireplace and picnic tables now reside. The area comprises 3,879 acres. If you hike the loop trail you will get in about a 7-mile hike. My son and I completed this seven miles in just under two hours today. There are also caves in the area if you like to go spelunking but be prepared with your lights and hardhat. We we passed fairly fresh black bear scat today so I'm still looking for my first black bear sighting. They have been sighted in nearby Meramec State Park which is adjacent and just across the river. Hiking counter-clockwise, the trail follows several ridge tops and crosses the intermittant streams between before circling back to the river and the river bottom. A scenic view of the river looking upstream is a highlight along the trail just before re-entering the river bottom. There is also a great scenic overview of the Meramec River Valley along the gravel road as you drive to the parking lot.

Maps: A map can be obtained from the Meramec Forest District in Sullivan, 573-468-4157. Quad Sheet: Meramec State Park, MO, 7-1/2 minute Quadrangle 1:24000.

Cautions: Ticks, summer heat, and copperheads. The river bottom portion of the trail is right on the river bank and can get flooded out. Hunting is permitted on the west side of the old road that dissects the area. The east side, from the old road to the river, is a game refuge as Meramec State Park and some private lands are adjacent across the river. The last hill down to the parking lot can become treacheous and impassible when ice and snow are on the road. There is a parking area at the top of the hill that you can use if it is not full of horse trailers.

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