Meramec State Park is a beautiful park just minutes off Interstate 44 near Sullivan, Missouri. The park is about an hour and 15 minutes southwest of St. Louis and is tucked along the Meramec River.
We first stopped at the Visitor’s Center to grab a park map. The trailhead for the Natural Wonders Trail is located at this parking lot. The trail is about 1.25 miles long and is a lollipop trail type.
A short spur leads to an intersection where the trail creates a loop. We hiked the trail counterclockwise. The trail follow a small creek for a bit before heading upwards into the woods.
On this trail, you can see three caves of the parks nearly 40 caves. All the caves are currently closed due to White Nose Bat Syndrome.
From here, we headed to the Bluff View Trailhead. This trail is blazed in blue and starts near the cabins. The trail gently winds through the rolling hills before paralleling the river.
The trail leads to a shelter where the trail T’s. We stayed to the left to stay on the Bluff View Trail.
This part of the trail can be challenging because you are hiking high above the river on the bluffs. The trail can be very rocky in parts, but the views of the river are impressive.
The trail will connect with the River Trail so we added another .75 miles to our hike by connecting onto this trail.
The trail leads down the bluff and into low land along the river. While you cannot see the river from this trail, it was still an easy walk through the woods.
After connecting back to the Bluff View Trail and hiking back to the parking lot, we headed towards Fischer Cave. For a small fee, you can take a guided tour of the cave. Tours had already ended for the season, but I bet it would be a fun activity.
Just to the right of the entrance to the cave it the trail head for the Walking Fern Trail. The trail is about a half mile long and blazed in green.
After a short distance down the trail, there is a large staircase that takes you to the entrance of Indian Cave.
After heading back down the stairs, the trail hugs the base of several bluffs and then winds back up on top of the bluffs.
I think that the Walking Fern Trail was my favorite trail in the park because it packs a lot of scenery into a short hike. We visited in mid October and the trees were displaying a wide array of colors. It was beautiful!
While driving down Interstate 44, you will see numerous barns and billboard advertising Meramec Caverns. Meramec Caverns is the largest commercial cave in the state of Missouri and is known as Jesse James Hideout. The tours last about an hour and 20 minutes. While the tickets are a little expensive, it is worth it to see the majestic cave at least once. More information can be obtained from their website. There are also a lot of other activities available at Meramec Caverns including a zip line, canoe floats and river boat rides.