Park Trails

at Graham Cave State Park

Fern Ridge Trail

  • Hiking

Length: .30 Mile View map

This trail leads from the lower (south) parking lot near the playground to the intersection with Graham Cave Trail. It passes an overlook at a wet-weather waterfall then leads to the entrance of Graham Cave. The trail passes through Graham Cave Glades Natural Area. Animals that live on the glades include the lichen grasshopper, slender glass lizard and the prairie lizard. The trail descends into a valley that is wooded and contains a rich variety of wildflowers. Surrounding the valley are picturesque sandstone ledges, often covered with lichens, mosses and ferns.

You may experience:

  • Natural surface, dirt, mud, gravel, shifting rocks, slippery surface, etc.
  • Rocks, roots and/or downed vegetation on trail        
  • Wood or stone steps
  • Steep grades and inclines more than 10 percent
  • Bridges and/or structural crossings
  • Occasional water over trail
Find the trailhead on the park map
Missouri State Parks Trail Rules and Etiquette
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
.30 Mile 20 minutes, one way Linear Green

Lower (south) parking lot

Graham Cave Trail

  • Hiking

Length: .30 Mile View map

This trail is on a natural and paved surface that leads to the cave entrance. It passes a shelter with exhibits and an overlook at a wet-weather waterfall. The paved section has inclines and leads directly to the cave. Exhibits are in front of the cave. Graham Cave Trail intersects with Fern Ridge Trail and Indian Glade Trail.

Graham Cave contained significant archaeological evidence to date its use as a shelter up to 10,000 years ago. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and listed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1966.

As you follow the natural surface trail to Graham Cave, you will be hiking along the edge of the Graham Cave Glades Natural Area. As part of the Missouri Natural Area System, this area possesses much of the same character experienced by American Indians when they inhabited the region. As you ascend from the valley, you will view sandstone ledges, often covered with lichens, mosses and ferns. Above the ledges are open, rocky glades. Plants such as prickly pear cactus, rushfoil, pinweed, rose verbena, fame flower, Missouri brown-eyed Susan, hairy lip fern and adder’s tongue fern are well adapted to life in the extremely hot and dry glade environment.

You may experience:

  • Natural surface, dirt, mud, gravel, shifting rocks, slippery surface, etc.
  • Rocks, roots and/or downed vegetation on trail        
  • Wood or stone steps
  • Bridges and/or structural crossings
Find the trailhead on the park map
Missouri State Parks Trail Rules and Etiquette
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
.30 Mile 15 minutes Loop Yellow

Lower (south) parking lot

Indian Glade Trail

  • Hiking

Length: .90 Mile View map

This trail leads to the entrance of Graham Cave. It connects the camping area and lower (south) parking lot and has intersections with Woodland Way Trail, Graham Cave Trail and is near connections to Loutre River Trail. Historically, open oak woodlands dominated the rough terrain along river valleys. Although uniform in appearance, these woodlands can vary considerably depending on bedrock geology (sandstone or limestone), soil type, direction of the slope, and natural disturbances such as fire. As a result, they support many species including a variety of birds. Characteristic woodland birds include the wild turkey, summer tanager and the Kentucky warbler. Fire pink and yellow crownbeard are wildflowers that are part of the diverse ground cover. Indian Glade Trail has many interesting sandstone and limestone geologic features.

Following the eastern section of the trail, there is a spur that leads to the cave roof, where sandstone glades are being restored. Please stay on the trail and back from the cave ledge. Wayside exhibit panels are located at the campground trail access and in front of Graham Cave.

You may experience:

  • Natural surface, dirt, mud, gravel, shifting rocks, slippery surface, etc.
  • Rocks, roots and/or downed vegetation on trail        
  • Wood or stone steps
  • Steep grades and inclines more than 10 percent
  • Bridges and/or structural crossings
  • Bluffs or drop-offs next to trail
  • Road/highway crossing
Find the trailhead on the park map
Missouri State Parks Trail Rules and Etiquette
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
.90 Mile 40 minutes, one way Linear Blue

Campground; or Lower (south) parking lot

Loutre River Trail

  • Hiking

Length: 2.25 Miles View map

This trail travels along the river road, following the Loutre River as it heads to the north camping area. You will find a high quality example of a bottomland forest in the flood plain. Among the characteristic trees of this natural community are bur oaks, with huge acorns that have shaggy-fringed caps, and Kentucky coffeetrees, with pods that contain seeds that pioneers used to make a coffee-like drink. Below the tree canopy is an understory of pawpaws, Ohio buckeyes and spicebush. The trail parallels the river as you head from the boat ramp area to the north camping area. There also is a rich variety of wildflowers that includes the showy blue-eyed Mary and rare false mermaid. Wildlife includes birds like northern parula warblers and butterflies such as the zebra swallowtail. Periodic flooding from the river makes the soil of this bottomland community fertile and productive.

You may experience:

  • Natural surface, dirt, mud, gravel, shifting rocks, slippery surface, etc.
  • Rocks, roots and/or downed vegetation on trail        
  • Steep grades and inclines more than 10 percent
  • Occasional water over trail
  • Road/highway crossing

 

Find the trailhead on the park map
Missouri State Parks Trail Rules and Etiquette
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
2.25 Miles 1 hour, 40 minutes Loop Red

Lower (south) parking lot; Loutre River boat ramp parking area

Woodland Way Trail

  • Hiking

Length: .20 Mile View map

This is a short walk that connects Indian Glade Trail to the upper (north) parking area just south of the park office. Woodland Trail passes through open oak and hickory woodlands. Historically, open oak woodlands dominated the rough terrain along river valleys. Prescribed burns and exotic species control are among management activities used to restore and maintain the oak woodlands at Graham Cave State Park.

You may experience:

  • Natural surface, dirt, mud, gravel, shifting rocks, slippery surface, etc.
  • Rocks, roots and/or downed vegetation on trail        
Find the trailhead on the park map
Missouri State Parks Trail Rules and Etiquette
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
.20 Mile 10 minutes Linear Orange

Upper (north) parking lot