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Park Trails

at Onondaga Cave State Park

Blue Heron Trail

  • Bicycling/Mountain Biking
  • Hiking

Length: .50 Mile View map

Blue Heron Trail is a wide, level, graveled trail that leads from the park visitor center along the north edge of the Spring Lake to the park campground. Along the trail, hikers will pass over a “waterfall,” which is really an old mill raceway that was powered by water from Onondaga Spring. A dam and millrace constructed in 1886 detains the water before it spills into the Spring Lake. Possible wildlife sightings include beaver, river otter, muskrat and perhaps the trail’s namesake, great blue heron.

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
.50 Mile 25 minutes, one way Linear Blue 1.) At the visitor center; 2.) At the spur left of the shelterhouse; 3.) At the road near the campground

Deer Run Trail

  • Hiking

Length: 2.25 Miles View map

Deer Run Trail is a hilly, natural trail with steps and bluff heights of 100-plus feet along the Meramec River. It passes through dolomite woodland and a south-facing glade that is under restoration to eliminate invasive red cedar trees. At one point, the trail passes a concrete building that is the man-made entrance of Cathedral Cave, another significant cave in the park. The .80-mile white connector 1 provides access to Oak Ridge Trail for a longer hike.

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
2.25 Miles 1 hour, 40 minutes Loop Green

At the campground restroom

Oak Ridge Trail

  • Hiking

Length: 3 Miles View map

Oak Ridge Trail is a hilly, natural trail with a wet-weather stream crossing and some trailside drop offs. Wet-weather waterfalls in a ravine on the north end of the loop are a bonus for those not intimidated by rainy weather. A large, south-facing dolomite glade is an interesting change from the shaded wooded trail. Chinquapin oak, fragrant sumac, buckthorn, bluestem and switch grasses are present. Yellow coneflower, orange puccoon and Indian paint brush add splashes of color.  A.80-mile white connector 1 provides access to Deer Run Trail to extend the hike.

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
3 Miles 2 hours, 15 minutes Loop Red

At the north end of the campground amphitheater parking area at campsite #18

Amphitheater Trail

  • Hiking

Length: .06 Mile View map

Amphitheater Trail is a gravel trail leading from the amphitheater/showerhouse parking area to the amphitheater. Lights along the trail make it easy to access the amphitheater for evening programs. The trail bisects Deer Run trailhead.

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
.06 Mile 5 minutes, one way Linear Yellow

In the campground next to campsite 66 near the restroom

Vilander Bluff Trail

  • Hiking

Length: 1.25 miles View map

Vilander Bluff Trail is named for Vilander Bluff, the highest bluff along the Meramec River. The natural surface trail provides trail access to Vilander Bluff Natural Area, a 206-acre natural area known for its ancient eastern red cedars. Some of these cedars, from 300 to 500 years old, grow out of the rocks along the bluff. The trail features an outstanding example of a dry cliff community that contains two very rare species of lichens. The trail also takes hikers through a dry chert woodland and chert savanna before returning to the parking lot.

The trail was built and is maintained by the Miramiguoa Chapter of the Missouri Master Naturalists from Franklin County. In an effort to protect the rare species and the area’s natural features, the trail is limited to hiking only and was constructed without major ground disturbance. 


Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
1.25 miles 55 minutes Loop Orange

East of Hwy. N, south of the Meramec River's Campbell Bridge crossing on Thickety Ford Road