Meramec River

Missouri’s Meramec River

Fed by Maramec Spring and many smaller springs, the Meramec is floated most of the year. The most floated sections are those between Maramec Spring and Meramec State Park, although there is still much reasonably attractive river down to St. Clair or even Pacific. Beyond that point, however, real estate developments, railroads, and industry may make the river unattractive to some paddlers. For those who do not mind these distractions, the river is floatable right down to the Mississippi. Floats above Maramec Spring are recommended only for high-water periods.

Difficulty: I, seldom II.
Gradients: general (to Palisades) – 3.4; Hwy. 19 to Hwy. M – 7.8; to Hwy. 8 – 5.3; to Hwy. 19 north of Steelville – 4.2; to Onondaga Cave – 3.2; to Moselle – 2.6; to Palisades – 1.6
Counties: Dent, Crawford, Phelps, Franklin, Jefferson, St. Louis.

Meramec River

0.0 Low-water bridge at Short Bend, just off Hwy 19.
0.8 Hwy. 19 Bridge.
0.9 Short Bend Access. Good access for canoes/kayaks.
6.3 Low-water bridge access on extension of Hwy M.
8.7 Low-water bridge access at Cook Station.
10.1 Hwy M bridge.
13.4 Low dam. Portage.
13.7 Low-water bridge access at Wesco.
16.7 Low-water bridge access on road between Wesco and Hwy. U.
18.7 Low-water bridge access. Hwy. U 1.3 miles north.
20.7 Benton Creek on left.
26.1 State Hwy. 8 Bridge.
26.2 MDC Woodson K. Woods Wildlife Area Access on right. Reached from Hwy. 8. Usually the highest practical put-in.
28.1 Maramec Spring branch, on left, is 0.7 mile long and is managed for trout fishing by MDC. The spring, with average daily flows of more than 90 million gallons is sixth or seventh largest in the state. The beautiful park in the area of the spring and branch is maintained by The James Foundation.
28.8 Dry Fork enters on the left. Although this creek has a drainage as large as the upper Meramec, much of its water is thought to drain into the Maramec Spring system. Consequently, it is seldom floatable. Its gradient for the lower 23 miles (from Hwy. F) is 5.2.
32.8 Richart Spring on left. Not open to the public.
35.1 Scotts Ford Access area on northwest side of bridge. Private campground nearby.
41.0 Indian Spring and Lodge on right.
41.0 Indian Spring and private lodge on right.
42.3 Riverview Public Access. Off Hwy. O.
43.4 Channel divides. Right may be shallow.
43.9 Pine Branch on left. McIntosh Spring is one of the springs feeding this branch. It has a flow of under a million gallons but once operated a water wheel.
44.4 Private cottages on left.
46.8 Fishing Spring Road access.
47.0 Many private campgrounds in this area.
47.9 State Hwy. 19 Bridge.
50.0 Bird’s Nest access (Crawford County) on right. St. Louis-San Francisco R.R. and county bridges. Good rift in river here. City and private campground.
50.5 Whittenburg Creek on right.
55.3 Private campground.
58.3 Lick Creek on left.
59.1 Saranac Spring branch on left and private campground.
62.0 Spring branch on left.
65.9 Huzzah Creek enters on right. Section just above Huzzah Creek often has log obstructions. The Huzzah and its companion creek, the Courtois, are floatable and are described separately. Huzzah Wildlife Management Area extends along right bank for next 1.5 miles.
66.2 Huzzah Conservation Area and access, off Hwy E.
68.4 Onondaga State Park, Hwy. H bridge. Public access upstream from bridge on west. Onondaga Cave, about one mile up road to left, is one of the outstanding commercial caves in the state. East side of low-water bridge private with camping.
70.4 Opossum Hollow Creek on left.
73.7 Campbell Bridge Access.
78.0 Private access canoe rental and campground.
78.6 Blue Springs Creek Conservation Area and access on Thickety Ford Road. Low-water bridge removed, but pilings still present. No ramp. Must carry canoe/kayak to river.

Meramec River II

73.7 Campbell Bridge Access.
78.0 Private access canoe rental and campground.
78.6 Blue Springs Creek Conservation Area and access on Thickety Ford Road. Low-water bridge removed, but pilings still present. No ramp. Fair canoe/kayak access.
82.4 Greens Creek on right.
83.2 Sappington Bridge Access.
85.3 Hamilton Creek on right.
85.8 Green Cave and picnic shelter on right in Meramec State Park.
86.2 Stater Creek on left.
88.0 Meramec State Park boat ramp from Hwy. 185 at state park entrance.
88.2 State park picnic ground along left bank, from bridge to Camper’s Spring. Stores for supplies 2.5 miles up road on left or in Sullivan 1.5 miles beyond. Meramec State Park makes an excellent base from which to float the Meramec River and its a fine place to begin or end trips.
88.5 Camper’s Spring on right at base of bluff.
89.5 Panther Cave, in bluff on right, is small but much visited. The “lower” state park campground extends along the left bank in this area.
90.0 Boat ramp – Meramec State Park on left. Watch for rock dike on left.
90.2 Fisher Cave 0.2 mile from river on left is operated as a park concession
91.0 Silver Hollow Creek on right.
92.0 Private canoe park on left.
92.1 Private concrete boat ramp on left.
92.3 Private pavilion on left. Bluff on right.
92.4 Gravel bar on right. State forest – overnight canoe camping authorized.
94.3 Meramec Caverns and La Jolla Springs. Access. This cave is another one of the commercial ones in the state. The management provides a park and picnic area for the public along the left bank, below the cave.
95.4 Sand Ford Access off Hwy. W.
98.0 Twin Springs and private club on left.
98.7 Roaring Spring, on left.
101.7 Pickle Ford (Huff Ford). Poor access on left bank.
104.4 Plum Ford.
112.0 Hwy. K Bridge.
112.2 Indian Creek on right.
112.3 Private access at beach on right.
117.3 State Hwy. 30-47 Bridge. Private access.

Meramec River III

117.3 State Hwy. 30-47 Bridge. Private access.
123.8 Bruns Bridge. Private campground.
126.2 Little Meramec River on right.
127.2 River ‘Round Conservation Area and access, off TT to Mill Hill to Old Cove Road.
131.4 Hillcrest Park private access.
132.4 St. Louis-San Francisco R.R. Bridge. Access.
132.8 Chouteau Claim Access at junction with Bourbeuse River. County road and bridge 0.4 mile up Bourbeuse.
136.0 Robertsville State Park access.
139.4 Calvey Creek on right.
142.7 Catawissa Conservation Area and access on right. Must paddle through lake to get to river.
142.8 St. Louis-San Francisco R.R. Bridge.
145.3 Hwy. F Bridge. Private access.
147.3 Pacific Palisades Conservation Area and access on right, on English Road off Hwy F.
154.2 Allenton Access on left, off I-44, at Allentown-Six Flags Road, go east on Main Street, south on Brown Road to Huntersford.
158.0 Big River on right.
161.0 Hwy. 66 bridges. Times Beach Access on left, at Lewis Road exit off I-44.
169.0 Castlewood State Park off Kiefer Creek Road.
172.5 Valley Park City Access (Valley Park).
173.5 Green Tree Park Access (kirkwood), off Marshall Road.
176.0 Ackerman Access at I-44 Bridge. No ramp.
179.4 Hwy. 30 Bridge.
180.4 Winter County Park with ramps on right, off Corisande Beach Road.
183.6 Hwy. 21 Bridge. No access.
192.0 Flamm City Access on right below Hwy. 231 Bridge. Ramp. Last access above Mississippi River.
193.5 Mississippi River.

This is an electronic reprint of a Missouri Department of Conservation document. More or updated information on this topic can be found at the Missouri Department of Conservation web site located at: Copyright 2003 by the Conservation Commission of the State of Missouri. 
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Under Missouri law, an outfitter is not liable for an injury to or the death of a participant in paddlesport activities resulting from the inherent risks of paddlesport activities pursuant to the Revised Statutes of Missouri. Chapter 537 RSMO revised to 537.327
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