Castlewood State Park

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Castlewood State Park
Bluff view in Castlewood State Park
Map showing the location of Castlewood State Park
Map showing the location of Castlewood State Park
Location in Missouri
Map showing the location of Castlewood State Park
Map showing the location of Castlewood State Park
Castlewood State Park (the United States)
LocationSt. Louis, Missouri, United States
Coordinates38°32′50″N 90°32′38″W / 38.54722°N 90.54389°W / 38.54722; -90.54389Coordinates: 38°32′50″N 90°32′38″W / 38.54722°N 90.54389°W / 38.54722; -90.54389[1]
Area1,818.77 acres (7.3603 km2)[2]
Elevation417 ft (127 m)[1]
Governing bodyMissouri Department of Natural Resources
WebsiteCastlewood State Park

The Castlewood State Park is a public recreation area occupying 1,818 acres (736 ha) that straddle the Meramec River in St. Louis County, Missouri. The most visited section of the state park lies on the north side of the Meramec; the park acreage on the south side of the river is accessed from Lone Elk County Park and includes the World Bird Sanctuary.[4]


The park was established in 1974. It occupies land that was once the site of resort hotels and Lincoln Beach, a swimming hole popular during the first half of the 20th century.[5]

The park has a history of fatalities due to the Meramac River. Since June 30th, 2004, there has been a total of 12 deaths along the river within the park[7]. Of the 12 drowning deaths, only one was the resultant of intoxication[8]. The most deadly of incidents occurred on July 9th, 2006. Five children died in a horrific mishap along the river during a church outing. Joseph Miller, 16, lost his footing on one of the rivers unexpected drop offs and was swept away by an undertow. Damon Johnson, 17, attempted to rescue Miller, but was also swept away. Damon's siblings, Dana Johnson (13), Ryan Mason (14) and Bryant Barnes (10) tried to rescue him. Deandre Sherman (16) also waded in to try and save their friends. All of the children, with the exception of Joseph Miller, drowned[9].

Retired hydrologist for the Army Corps Of Engineers, Gary Dyhouse, remarked that the slope of the Meramac River is steeper than all other rivers in the area. According to Metro West Fire Chief, Mike Krause, these sudden drop offs, combined with the rivers swift currents, is what causes swimmers to drown[8].

Activities and amenities[edit]

The park offers fishing and boating on the Meramec River and more than 26 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and equestrian use.

View of the Meramec River valley from Castlwood's bluffs
Park trails[6]
Trail Length Uses Notes
Al Foster Trail 4.7 miles (7.6 km) Hiking, biking Abandoned railroad bed following the river from Glencoe to Sherman Beach County Park.
Castlewood Loop 2.75 miles (4.4 km) Hiking, biking, equestrian Floodplain trail skirting Lincoln Beach.
Cedar Bluff Loop 2.25 miles (3.6 km) Hiking, biking Accessed from Al Foster Trail; climbs to highest point in the park.
Chubb Trail 6.5 miles (10.5 km) Hiking, biking, equestrian Runs from Lone Elk County Park to West Tyson County Park.
Grotpeter Trail 3.75 miles (6.0 km) Hiking, biking, equestrian Challenging terrain with numerous elevation changes.
Lone Wolf Trail 1.5 miles (2.4 km) Hiking, biking Rugged trail named for a former area roadhouse.
River Scene Trail 3.25 miles (5.2 km) Hiking, biking Passes former resort sites; only hiking is allowed on the section atop the bluffs; hiking and biking on the bottomland section.
Stinging Nettle Trail 2.5 miles (4.0 km) Hiking, biking Follows river from Sherman Beach County Park to a junction with Al Foster Trail.


  1. ^ a b "Castlewood State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  2. ^ "Castlewood State Park: Data Sheet" (PDF). Missouri Department of Natural Resources. November 2017. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  3. ^ "State Park Land Acquisition Summary". Missouri State Parks. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  4. ^ "Castlewood State Park". Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  5. ^ "Castlewood State Park: General Information". Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  6. ^ "Castlewood State Park: Trails". Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved April 17, 2018.

External links[edit]