When 14-year-old Edward Roberts moved to this area of Missouri in 1831, he found a great place to build a life. When modern-day RVers come to Robertsville State Park, they find a fun and relaxing wilderness area that also has some nice amenities.
The confluence of Calvey Creek and the Meramec River form a very nice river bottom area where trees flourish and life is abundant. Scenic bluffs tower above the gently-flowing rivers, adding to the area’s natural beauty. There are lots of outdoor activities at Robertsville State Park as well. Enjoy boating and other watersports, explore the area on a hiking trail, or relax by the river. There is a bit of history here as well. Some of the early settlers are buried in the local cemetery, and many of the original farmland clearings are still visible today.
A motorhome is definitely the best way to experience Robertsville State Park. More than two dozen RV sites are open 365 days a year. The campground has lots of room and lots of amenities.
Robertsville State Park is about 40 miles west of downtown St. Louis, just off Interstate 44. This part of Greater St. Louis is not as densely populated as the area north of the Missouri River (St. Charles, St. Peters, and so on). So, the traffic is usually not too bad, the route is a little more scenic, and the road has just enough curves to keep things interesting. There are only one or two elbow-like curves, so even if you drive an extremely big rig, you should be fine.
Other people take Interstate 44 from Oklahoma, or Interstate 70 from Kansas City. Interstate 70 is a little clearer and straighter, but the Oklahoma route is not terribly difficult.
There is lots of parking in the Robertsville State Park RV campground, which is also close to the major trail heads. Parking is also available near the boat launch and the sheltered picnic area.
The loop campground has 25 sites. 13 of them have electrical hookups. They are all back-in sites, and they all have lots of room. This campground also has four large parking areas. Reservations are available from April 1 through October 31. Other than that, it’s first-come, first-served. Campground amenities include an RV dump station, frost-free drinking water spigots, a restroom/shower area that’s open between April 1 and October 31, a special-use camping area, and a wood lot.
Don't forget to pack those binoculars in your campervan or rig. Where there are lots of trees, there are also lots of birds, especially during the spring and fall migratory seasons. There are over 100 different bird species in Robertsville State Park. To see ducks, geese, and other waterfowl, check out the northern part of the park near the Meramec River. These birds love these marshes. For songbirds, the more densley-forested central part of the park is the place to be. Keep a sharp eye on the trees, and have your checklist handy, as you explore the hiking trails. High overhead, watch for large birds of prey, like eagles, hawks, and vultures.
If you look past the high-tension electric wires overhead, the cemetery is a little corner of history. A Victorian-style wrought iron fence surrounds most of the gravestones. Pretty much the entire Roberts family, which greatly influenced development in this area for many years, is buried here. Other local luminaries are here as well. Altogether, this place is a nice, quiet oasis where people can stop and reflect. However, we wouldn’t suggest that you go at night.
The Spicebush Trail is a 0.9-mile loop trail that’s very flat and ideal for beginners. There are no signs, but it’s well-worn and easy to follow. Highlights include a very picturesque footbridge. The Lost Hill Trail is a little longer at 2.8 miles and also a bit more challenging. Hikers will go up and down lots of rolling hills. Parts of this trail are a bit swampy, but it’s a river bottom, so what do you expect? On both these trails, the wildflowers are pretty in the early spring and the mid-fall color changes are very nice as well.
Picnicking is one of the most relaxing activities you can enjoy on an RV vacation to this state park. Two large picnic shelters are located side-by-side, and they are quite nice. Each shelter is electrified, has a large grill, can accommodate up to 75 people, and has its own drinking water spigot. Reservations are available for a small fee, or if no one is there, make yourself at home. There are also a number of open picnic areas in Robertsville State Park. Most of them are near the softly babbling Meramec River, so outdoor dining becomes a very serene experience.
Smallmouth bass fishing is excellent here. There are lots of these fish, and they are big. About a third of these fish exceed the 12-inch limit. Try the faster-moving waters near the beginning or ending of water pools. Where there are submerged obstacles, like rocks or trees, there are usually catfish. Many of these catfish are 20 inches and longer. Use set lines or limb lines to reel them in. There are many drums and suckers in the off-season. And, there are many sunfish all year long. Although they are usually small (three to five inches), they are lots of fun to catch.
The Meramec River is an excellent canoeing waterway if you've towed a boat on kayak on your trailer. It is relatively wide and deep. It’s also very scenic. Be prepared to share the waterway, however, as there is usually a lot of boat traffic. Powered craft are welcome here but watch your speed. This river has lots of twists and turns, and not all of them are on the map.