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Missouri can be a difficult state in which to backpack. Although there are many hiking options, it seems good backpacking trails can are hard to come by. That can hamper beginners from getting outside and having the kind of backpacking experience that will keep them coming back for more. Beginners often look for shorter trails and try to keep their outings to a single night in the backcountry. Following is a list of nine short Missouri trails that can be used for backpacking. Next time you’re out with a beginner or need a short trip to dial in your gear, check out one of these beginner backpacking trails in Missouri.

Wilderness Trail

A nice trail with a rather obvious name, the Wilderness Trail is in Meramec State Park. The park is located not far down Interstate 44 from the St. Louis area. It’s close proximity make it a good choice for those that can’t escape the city until later in the afternoon. The 8.5-mile trail traverses old growth forest in the hills above the Meramec River. Backpackers are required to stay in one of eight designated campsites along the trail, most of which are set back from the trail a bit. Once the camps are full you’ll have to hike out, so check the registration box at the trailhead to see how busy the trail is before you get started. Water may be hard to find along the trail so pack it in. Elevation changes are not dramatic, and as is the case with many state park trails, there is a connector trail which can be used to shorted your hike to about 4 miles if needed. Get started here: Meramec State Park.

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