What to do in Meramec State Park

This information is provided by www.mostatepark.com

The beauty of the Meramec River and its surrounding bluffs, caves and forests have pleased visitors since the park opened in 1927. In 1933, the craftsmen of the Civilian Conservation Corps began blending a variety of visitor facilities into the park's rugged landscape.

This popular 6,896-acre park offers year-round access to camping, picnicking and trails. Guided tours of Fisher Cave, one of more than 40 caves in the park, are provided on a seasonal basis for a nominal fee. Water enthusiasts will enjoy swimming, fishing, rafting and canoeing in the Meramec River. Weekdays offer substantially more solitude than weekends.

Additional facilities include a park store that offers raft and canoe rentals, campsites (including three group sites), rental cabins, motel rooms and a conference center. The park's rustic dining lodge offers good food and one of the best views in the park. Some services and facilities are only available on a seasonal basis.

Meramec State Park's visitor center offers a mix of educational exhibits including large aquariums that display the amazing variety of aquatic life found in the river. Here, guests can orient themselves to the park's many permanent and seasonal attractions and facilities before venturing out into the park.

Meramec State Park Campground InformationMeramec State Park offers basic, electric and sewer/electric/water campsites. Services include reservable sites, a dump station, showers, water and laundry.

Campsites 1-180 are open year-round (in Sections 1, 2 and 3). Campsites 181-188 (in Section 3) are open daily April through September and on weekends only during October. Campsites 189-210 (in Section 3) are open daily April 1 through Sept. 14 and on weekends only Sept. 15 through Oct. 31.

For reservations, there is a required two-night minimum stay for weekends and major holidays from May 15 through Sept. 15.

Group Tent AreasMeramec State Park offers three group tent areas (A, B and C) in addition to their regular campsites. Each tent area contains a paved parking lot for approximately 16 vehicles, eight picnic tables, two fire grills and two lantern posts. The minimum group size per area is 15 persons and the maximum size is 50 persons. A showerhouse is conveniently located in the area.

The group areas are open daily April 1 through Sept. 14 and on weekends only Sept. 15 through Oct. 31. The three group tent areas can be reserved using the centralized reservation system. Reservations for these areas are no longer be accepted by calling the park office.

The rate for each group tent area is $50 per night, with an additional $8.50 fee if being reserved. Payment in full is required at the time of reservation. Changing a reservation will incur an additional $10 charge.

Cancellation of a reservation seven or more days in advance of arrival will result in the refund of all camping fees less a $10 cancellation fee. Cancellation of a reservation between six to two days in advance of arrival will result in the refund of camping fees less one night's fee and a $10 cancellation fee. Cancellation of a reservation less than two days in advance of arrival will result in a $10 cancellation fee and the loss of at least two nights' fees.

Picnic Area/PlaygroundThere are three picnic shelters available for use and can be reserved for $35 per day. If not reserved, the shelters are available at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis. All three shelters are located in the picnic area. Occupancy is, on average, 75 people per shelter.

There are two playgrounds located in the park. One is located in the picnic area near Shelter 3, while the other is located in the campground near showerhouse #1.

Lodging

Lodging in the park's many rental cabins and motel rooms is available April through October. Rental is coordinated at the park store. Following are rates for 2005.

Cabins 1-8one bedroom$85 per night for up to four people

Cabin 9two bedrooms$100 per night for up to six people; add $10 for each additional person

Cabins 10/11 and 18/19five-bedroom duplexes$180 per night for up to 12 people; add $10 for each additional person

Cabins 12-17two-bedroom duplexes$100 per night for up to six people; add $10 for each additional person

Cabin 20four bedrooms$160 per night for up to nine people; add $10 for each additional person

Hickory Ridge Motel$60 for two people$70 for three people$80 for four people$90 for loft room

Recreation
Canoe Rental

Canoeing and rafting are very popular park activities. Canoes and rafts can be rented at the park. Rental prices include shuttle, transportation, paddles and life jackets. Weekday floats typically offer substantially more solitude than weekends.

Cave Tours

Fisher Cave is truly one of the park's most spectacular natural wonders. Naturalist-led tours, offered on a seasonal basis, provide an interesting adventure for park visitors. From the low, narrow streamside passages to the huge rooms filled with calcite deposits, Fisher Cave offers one outstanding cave scene after another. Inside these rooms and passages are well-preserved bear claw marks, cave wildlife and a vast array of calcite deposits ranging from intricate hellectites to massive columns 30 feet tall.Tours

* April 16-30 and May: 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday through Monday * June through August: 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. daily * September and October: 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday through Monday * Oct. 16 through April 15: cave is closed

Fishing

The Meramec River is one of the most diversified rivers in North America. More than half of the fish in Missouri are found in the Meramec River. All three of the black bass can be fished, along with catfish and panfish.

Trails

Meramec State Park trails are designated for hiking use only, except for the Wilderness Trail, which may also be used for overnight backpacking. These trails will lead you to glades laced with gorgeous wildflowers, lush forests carpeted with ferns, red and gold hillsides ablaze with fall color, and places of quiet solitude where the beauty of nature can permeate the soul.

Bluff View Trail – 1.5 milesThis trail is a moderately difficult loop trail with access points near picnic shelter #3, the dining lodge area and at the trail shelter on River Trail.

Deer Hollow Trail – 1.8 milesThis trail is a point-to-point trail that connects the dining lodge area to Fisher Cave. Deer are commonly seen along this trail.

Natural Wonders Trail – 1.3 milesCaves, glades, mature forest and overgrown beaver meadows are a few of the reasons why there is always something exciting to discover along this loop trail.

River Trail – .8 mileThis is a loop trail that begins at the southern end of the campground near showerhouse #3. Part of this trail winds along a slough of the Meramec River, where herons frequently feed and kingfishers often nest.

Walking Fern Trail – .5 mileThis trail's namesake is a large boulder located near the midpoint that is covered with walking ferns.

Wilderness Trail – 10 milesThis trail is comprised of a six-mile southern loop and a four-mile northern loop. This trail is of moderate difficulty, but due to its length should not be attempted by beginning hikers unless accompanied by someone more experienced.Safety Considerations:

* Please ensure your knowledge of the Missouri outdoors is adequate to explore this park in safety. Remember, you must be prepared to meet nature on its own terms. * When hiking into remote areas of the park, inform someone of your intended route and anticipated time of return. * If it becomes necessary to drink water from streams or springs, it should always be purified by boiling or chemical treatment. * Children should only hike with adult supervision. * Ticks and chiggers are common April through October.

If you have any questions concerning the trails, call the park office at (573) 468-6072. To receive a trail brochure, e-mail your mailing address.

Location
115 Meramec Park DriveSullivan, MO 63080

Climate
Missouri experiences four distinct seasons with an average yearly temperature of 54 degrees F. Summer temperatures reach 90 degrees F often and are plagued with high humidity levels. Nighttime lows during the summer dip slightly near 70 degrees. September brings cooler fall weather with less humidity. By October nights begin to cool significantly and the fall foliage changes to brilliant hues of orange, red and yellow. Winter months bring an average of 24 inches of snow and normal temperatures average between 20 and 45 degrees F. Spring is characterized by wet weather with temperatures reaching between 32 and 60 degrees F.

Address
115 Meramec Park Drive
Sullivan, MO 63080

Phone: 573-468-6072

Email: moparks@dnr.mo.gov
  • Meramec State Park Travel Q&A

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