Meramec State Park
The beauty of the Meramec River and its surrounding bluffs, caves, and forests have pleased visitors since the park opened in 1927.
In 1928, the dedication of Meramec State Park drew more than 10,000 visitors.
In 1933, the craftsmen of the Civilian Conservation Corps began blending a variety of visitor facilities into the park’s rugged landscape.
Meramec State Park has had a unique history that began long before the area became a park. The Upper Meramec Basin was home to isolated but high-grade mineral deposits that have since been mostly exhausted.
Mining in the area is reported to have started in 1796. Multiple small iron mines operated throughout the upper Meramec Basin. Copper Hollow, in the northern section of the park, was once mined for both copper and lead.
The area was founded in the early 1800s, by Stephen Sullivan who with his wife Dorcas accompanied Daniel Boone on his return trip from Kentucky to secure settlers to populate the wild and unbroken territory around the Meramec River.
Upon entering the area now known as the Meramec State Park, Boone remarked, “Sullivan, this is the region that I was telling you about. In these hills you will find copper, lead, and game in abundance.”
This 6,896-acre park offers year-round access to camping, picnicking, and trails.
There are more than forty caves in the park.
There are also swimming, fishing, rafting and canoeing in the Meramec River, and large aquariums that display the amazing variety of aquatic life found in the river.
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 covered with gorgeous wildflowers, lush forests carpeted with ferns, red and gold hillsides in fall color, and places of quiet solitude.
Naturalist-led tours of Fisher Cave, reputedly the location of an early cave celebration sponsored by Governor Fletcher in 1867, and used by the local people ever since, 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 thirty feet tall.
The 461-acre Meramec Upland Forest Natural Area features glades, caves, sinkholes, and wet meadows.
Rare plants and rare animals can be found in these places.
Nature discovery programs are provided on a regular schedule at the outdoor amphitheater.
See map of the park.
We would like to thank Brian L Wilcox, Interpretive Resource Specialist III, Meramec State Park, for information for this page.
(This page was updated in November 2012.)