Location: Meramec State Park - Sullivan, Missouri - 573-468-6072 (65 miles west of St. Louis On I-44 and 5 miles south on Hwy 185).
Distance: 10 Miles Roundtrip
Water: Water is available near the mid-point of the trail at the Copper Hollow spring. Be sure and filter/treat it and don't drink it straight !
Parking: Overnight parking is available in the picnic grounds of the park. Pick up a map at the visitor center on entering the park plus the maps are available at the sign-in box 200 yards into the trail.
Comments: This trail was recently opened in late '95 or early '96. An earlier trail had existed into this area but had not been maintained for years. I have personally been hiking into this area, Copper Hollow since I was 14. The spring is beautiful year-around and is only about 5 minutes from the nearest backcountry campsite. There are about 6 backcountry campsites along the trail but unless you camp at the sites closer to the spring there may not be water available as the streams are intermittent and would only provide water after a recent rainfall. There is also a major sinkhole (collapsed cavern) to see up and over the hill behind the spring. There is a cave at the spring and at the south end of the sinkhole. Park permission is needed to enter the caves. You will also pass another 'conical' sinkhole along the trail on the east side of the trail just north of the blacktop road crossing. The entire trail is very woodsey and very pleasant walking with 'short' grades. I have seen deer, turkey, groundhogs, etc. along the trail. Special note: there have been reported sightings of black bears in the park but I have not been one of the sightees as yet - hopefully someday ! The trail is currently set out in a figure eight so there are variations as to how you can hike it. The southern 6 mile loop existed first as just a hiking trail until the more recent 4 mile loop was added to the north into Copper Hollow. If you hike the 10 mile outer loop either clockwise or counter clockwise then you will miss the 1-2 mile cutoff in-between. It is all pretty so come back and hike it more than once and try all the trails. The campsites are nice but the trail is also great for a long or short dayhike depending on the time that you have. I have hiked the 10-mile loop in 2 hrs, 50 minutes just for the exercise.
Maps: Trail maps available at the park visitor center or the check-in box on the trail. Quad sheet: Meramec State Park, MO, 7-1/2 minute USGS 1:24000 Quadrangle.
Cautions: Summertime ticks and heat, bring plenty of water. After a heavy rain portions of the trail could be flooded or impassable.