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Meramec River, Missouri
Report by Marc W. McCord

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SOAR Inflatable Canoes - Somewhere On A River

Rising near Salem, Dent County, in southeastern Missouri the Meramec River flows 207 miles to the confluence of the Mighty Mississippi River about 20 miles below St. Louis. Along the way it cuts through the limestone Meramec Caverns and Meramec State Park and the counties of Dent, Crawford, Phelps (briefly), Franklin, Jefferson and St. Louis. Its headwaters form above Short Bend in Dent County, and the river gains considerable flow from Maramec Spring and numerous other springs that feed the river on its journey to the confluence of the Bourbeuse before finally reaching its mouth at the Mississippi. It is a Class I-II whitewater river that can be paddled almost year-round. The most commonly paddled section lies between Maramec Spring and Meramec State Park, sometimes as far as St. Clair or Pacific, though industrial, commercial and residential development beyond Pacific are moving in and may make the river unattractive to many paddlers who cherish the solitude and isolation usually found on rivers. While the Meramec can be paddled above Maramec Spring that is only recommended during periods of above normal water flow.

Most of the river is beautiful and very interesting. The water is clearer than that of the Bourbeuse to the north, and there is more whitewater excitement to be found. The Mark Twain National Forest, through which the river flows, is another attraction for paddlers with a bug for shooting photographs. This Ozark Mountains stream is excellent for fishing, and is close to other great paddling and fishing streams including its tributaries, the Big River, Bourbeuse River, Courtois Creek and Huzzah Creek. It is also relatively close to the Black River, Current River and Jacks Fork River. Meramec River State Park has more than 40 caves to explore and every other outdoor recreation activity imaginable. It is a great place to spend some time off the river.

Click the links below for information regarding the section of the Meramec River and its tributaries where you want to paddle.

[ Meramec River ] [ Big River ] [ Bourbeuse River ] [ Courtois Creek ] [ Huzzah Creek ]

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Last updated June 2, 2021

Copyright © 1998-2021, Marc W. McCord dba CobraGraphics. All rights reserved. Southwest Paddler, CobraGraphics and Canoeman River Guide Services are trademarks of Marc W. McCord dba CobraGraphics. The textual, graphic, audio, and audio/visual material in this site is protected by United States copyright law and international treaties. You may not copy, distribute, or use these materials except for your personal, non-commercial use. Any trademarks are the property of their respective owners. All original photographs on this web site are the exclusive property of Marc W. McCord or other designated photographers and may not be copied, duplicated, reproduced, distributed or used in any manner without prior written permission under penalty of US and International laws and treaties.