Early April in St Louis

I am coming to St Louis from the Pacific Ocean for a few days in early April. Can I get a recommendation for a one day, say 5 hour, canoe trip down a river within 2 hour drive of the city? Also a recommendation of an outfitter to deliver and pick up the canoe at the end of the day?

Is the first week in April too early in the season?

Really only 3
Courtois (coat-away), Huzzah (hooz-ow) and lower or upper Meramec (recommended) will fit the bill. Lots of outfitters.

2.5 to 3 hours get you much nicer options.

April is spring, should be a good time for water, maybe too much.

Temps: could be cold, could be hot. The mornings will be chilly if not cold.

I always enjoyed Huzzah and Meramec streams especially around Onondaga Cave State Park. I guess I can say I’ve enjoyed any section of the Meramec.



Those are your choices…
Lots of possibilities on the Meramec. Stay above Meramec State Park. Most scenic section is from Onondaga Cave State Park to Blue Springs Creek access, 10 miles, and there’s a canoe outfitter at Blue Springs Creek. If you like to float at a slower pace, there’s an intermediate access at Campbell Bridge, 5 miles above Blue Springs Creek.

Almost as scenic is Blue Springs Creek to Meramec State Park, 10 miles, intermediate access at Sappington Bridge halfway. There’s an outfitter at Meramec State Park, though personally I’ve never liked using them.

Just about as scenic is the float from The Bluffs, the private access used by Ozark Outdoors canoe livery at Onondaga, down to Onondaga, seven miles, and it’s a little faster water. Or they will also put you in up on Courtois Creek about 1.5 miles above its confluence with the Huzzah, then you’ll go a mile down the Huzzah and 3.5 miles down the Meramec, so you get to float three streams in one trip.

Those are my favorite Meramec floats. If you want smaller, faster, and clearer water, then Huzzah and Courtois are your choices. There’s a couple of six mile floats on Huzzah, one above and one below Huzzah Valley canoe livery, and similar floats on Courtois above and below Bass canoe livery.

If the water conditions are good and the weather is nice, all those floats can get crowded on April weekends. The experience is much better during the week. You’ll also encounter jetboats on the Meramec on pretty weekends. if you’re looking for a lot more solitude and a little more adventure, you can actually go a lot farther up the Huzzah and Courtois with good water. Huzzah Valley, for instance, seldom puts in canoes above Harper’s low water bridge 6 miles above their place, but there are about 20 miles of floatable water upstream from there. If you make arrangements in advance and can go during the week when they aren’t as busy, they may agree to put you in farther upstream.