Meramec Adventure Learning Ranch

Experiential Learning & Therapy Create Powerful Outcomes

Overview

Meramec Adventure Learning Ranch offers therapeutic adventure and wilderness programs to help the youth and families we serve confront personal challenges, and discover inner courage and a renewed passion for life.

Adventure experiences aren’t an escape from life’s challenges, but rather an opportunity to:

  • Break down walls and defense mechanisms created by life’s challenges
  • Discover individual emotional, mental and physical strengths
  • Believe in the ability to grow and change
  • Build positive relationships and connections with others
  • Find purpose in serving others by using our unique gifts

The Ranch’s 1,200 acres in Steelville, Missouri feature one of the most extensive adventure bases in the Midwest, with ropes courses, aquatic adventures, camping, climbing, kayaking, biking, team challenges, and more. In 2017, the Ranch served more than 6,000 participants.

 

Programs for Many Needs

The Ranch provides valuable, lifelong lessons, and serves as a unique form of therapy. Because its primary focus is on helping children and families served through Great Circle programs, there are limited opportunities to accommodate outside groups.

Adventure Programs – Children in Great Circle’s care visit the Ranch periodically during their stay to build personal efficacy, healthy relationships, and purpose through outdoor skill-building (Scouting, team development, sailing, climbing, lifeguarding, primitive skills, etc.).

Summer Camps – Exhilarating and therapeutic activities for the youngsters Great Circle serves that combine adventure and fun to create an environment focused on providing opportunities for growth and healing. Open weeks include:

  • June 21-30 – Adventure Camp for siblings in foster care: Children, ages 6-17 and living in different foster homes, can rebuild sibling bonds while enjoying outdoor activities. Fee is paid through Missouri Children’s Division. Online enrollment begins Jan. 31. Click to register (Choose the “Meramec Adventure Learning Ranch” camp option when prompted). For questions or information about eligibility, call 573-775-5513.
  • July 30-August 3 – Camp for youth on the autism spectrum: Skilled staff support and guide campers, ages 6-18, with an autism spectrum diagnosis through adventure and outdoor activities to inspire growth in social skills, personal efficacy and friendships. Click for more information.

Wilderness Programs – Trained staff lead small groups of youth in Great Circle’s care on intensive off-Ranch trips to some of the country’s most beautiful and rugged areas. It’s an opportunity to focus on personal identity, intentional and sustained growth, and finding their places in a hurting world. Trips include backpacking expeditions, mountain biking treks, primitive skills journeys and paddling voyages.

Youth and School Experiences – Outdoor adventure programs are ideal for schools, athletic teams, community and church groups, scouting programs, and other groups. Programming is tailored to meet the specific needs and goals of each group.

Corporate Retreat and Team Development – The Ranch is a unique location to boost corporate camaraderie and team effectiveness. Programming is tailored to meet the specific needs, interests, and goals of each group.

 

Staffing and Employment

The Ranch’s staff is fully trained to deliver high-quality therapeutic adventure programming in many areas and work with children who are dealing with life’s challenges, struggling with traumatic pasts or who may have an autism or other special education diagnosis.

Current employment opportunity: Summer Adventure Guides. This 10-week opportunity provides a chance of a life-time to develop personal skills while serving some of the most incredible youth! Learn more by going to the Summer employment section at right.

For more information about Meramec Adventure Learning Ranch or any of its programs, call 573-775-5513.

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Aisha

William's mom

"Thank you for making it possible for children with special needs to test themselves, meet challenges, and enjoy life through adventures."

Aisha

Aisha

William's mom

William's mom

"Thank you for making it possible for children with special needs to test themselves, meet challenges, and enjoy life through adventures."

"Thank you for making it possible for children with special needs to test themselves, meet challenges, and enjoy life through adventures."

Cindy

Anthony's mom

Anthony isn't.... well wasn't... an affectionate kid and watching him give everyone high fives and hugs was amazing for me to see.

Cindy

Cindy

Anthony's mom

Anthony's mom

Anthony isn't.... well wasn't... an affectionate kid and watching him give everyone high fives and hugs was amazing for me to see.

Anthony isn't.... well wasn't... an affectionate kid and watching him give everyone high fives and hugs was amazing for me to see.

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Browse Ranch Facilities

Learning Center

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This beautiful, rustic retreat features a two-story stone fireplace and pristine views of the Meramec River Valley. The attached learning center features a 30-bed bunkroom with showers and restroom facilities, plus a commercial kitchen and dining hall seating for up to 40 people. The perfect location for business meetings, seminars, group retreats, weddings, and other special events.

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Learning Center

Learning Center

Learning Center

Learning Center

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This uniquely effective team course features a series of telephone poles laid across the ground to form different obstacles. Your team must traverse the course while working together to evacuate an “injured climber.”

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Alpine Rescue Course

Alpine Rescue Course

Alpine Rescue Course

Learning Center

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Our full-size covered basketball court is perfect for basketball, volleyball, dodge ball and other activities. The pavilion also features seven different climbing elements, providing a perfect place for games and challenge, regardless of the weather.

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Alpine Rescue Course

Basketball Pavilion with Covered Challenge Course

Basketball Pavilion with Covered Challenge Course

Learning Center

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Our camping sites provide an open outdoor experience perfect for any group. A hand pump well and toilet facilities are close by. Tents and camping equipment are available or groups may bring their own. Each campsite has a fire ring and picnic table, and the site also includes an authentic 24’ tee-pee.

A stone bonfire ring is located adjacent to the learning center and a large council fire ring with bench seating is located near the campsites, perfect for gatherings, camp bonfires, and ceremonies.

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Camping Facilities

Camping Facilities

Camping Facilities

Learning Center

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Multiple climbing walls and natural areas allow for various opportunities to get on “rock” – for fun and exhilaration, to do some intensive individual or family work, or learn sport, trad, and vertical rescue skills. Each outing is tailored to the experience level of the group/person, making it achievable and challenging for anyone from beginners to experts. All equipment and instruction is provided by experienced guides.

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Climbing and Rappelling

Climbing and Rappelling

Climbing and Rappelling

Learning Center

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Grab a hiking stick and start off through the woods on one of the ranch’s hiking trails. Listen to the crunching of leaves beneath your feet, smell the clean fresh air, and feel a cool breeze across your face, as you hike along and enjoy a beautiful outdoors experience.

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Hiking Trails

Hiking Trails

Hiking Trails

Learning Center

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Check out one of the most exhilarating adrenaline rushes at the ranch. After harnessing into two cables forming a huge swing, your team pulls you up to the top of a 35-foot pole. You take a breath, count down, and pull the rip-cord, dropping in a free-fall before you swing out over the river valley 300 feet below.

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Giant Swing

Giant Swing

Giant Swing

Learning Center

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With 28 different elements, our High Challenge Course is one of the most extensive in the Midwest. Each element offers different mental and physical challenges. After conquering the course, the experience culminates in an exhilarating slide down one of our dual 800-foot zip lines, reaching speeds up to 40 miles per hour. The course also features individual challenges such a power pole climbing tower with a trapeze bar jump.

All courses are built and inspected by professional vendor members of the Association of Challenge Course Technology. Expertly trained facilitators, redundant safety systems, regular inspections and state-of-the-art equipment all combine to give participants the most exciting and safe experience available.

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High Challenge Course

High Challenge Course

High Challenge Course

Learning Center

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Come out for a day of instruction and riding to learn how to care for, groom, and saddle a horse. After your horse is saddled, enjoy an exciting ride around one of the trails on the ranch.

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Alpine Rescue Course

Horseback Riding Instruction and Trail Rides

Horseback Riding Instruction and Trail Rides

Learning Center

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Learn how to read and use a topographical map, find your pace count, and use a compass to navigate through the woods all across the length and breadth of the ranch on one of our many challenging land navigation courses.

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Land Navigation Courses

Land Navigation Courses

Land Navigation Courses

Learning Center

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Grab one of the ranch’s mountain bikes and hit the trail. There is a trail perfect for everyone. Hone your skills on miles of exciting singletrack, or take on the ultimate challenge of screaming down one of the most exciting and challenging flow trails and pump tracks in the Midwest. Both BMX and Mountain Bikes are available for use. Helmets and gloves are required and provided for all biking activities.

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Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking

Learning Center

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Grow as individuals and as a team as you splash, slip, slide, and slither your way through the ultimate series of mud and water obstacles built specifically for teams. Your group starts the adventure with an assortment of materials with which they must build a raft that is capable of floating the entire team across a lake. Then, after sliding down a hill, the team negotiates 250 meters of mud pits and team obstacles designed to challenge and thrill. Finally, after dumping out of the mud course into a river, the team races to the finish line a whole lot dirtier and a whole lot closer as a group.

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Mud Obstacle Course

Mud Obstacle Course

Mud Obstacle Course

Learning Center

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Learn primitive and survival skills from our expert teachers. You can choose topics such as shelter construction, water procurement and purification, useful plants, trapping, primitive fires, tools and weapons, cordage, and much more.

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Primitive Skills Instruction

Primitive Skills Instruction

Primitive Skills Instruction

Learning Center

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Bring your team and be ready to work towards the goals and objectives of your group. These 30+ elements provide the perfect setting to allow teams to come together and overcome incredible, and sometimes seemingly impossible, challenges.

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Team Development Courses

Team Development Courses

Team Development Courses

Learning Center

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A trebuchet is a catapult-like device that uses a long wooden arm, counterweight, and sling to launch items. Come and enjoy learning about the history and the physics behind this 35-foot tall machine. Once you learn about the Trebuchet, enjoy watching it launch a watermelon 500 feet through the sky.

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Trebuchet

Trebuchet

Trebuchet

Learning Center

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Tadpole Lake, an eight-acre recreational lake is the center of activity during warm weather. Lake activities include a rolling log spin, a giant floating foam mat and a huge floating waterslide and play area. The adventure platform features a 150-foot zip line, rope swings, trapeze ring, the Blob – a 40-foot long inflatable – and more. Expertly trained lifeguards are on duty at all times during water experiences and personal flotation devices are required outside of the shallow swim area for all participants.

Enjoy a relaxing day paddling in the lake or on the river, learn to sail in 14-foot sailboats, overcome some intensive team challenges in 10-man rafts, or learn whitewater kayaking skills. Nationally certified and ranch-trained lifeguards must be on duty at all times during any water experience, and personal flotation devices are required to be worn by all participants while in boats.

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Water Activities

Water Activities

Water Activities

Learning Center

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Climb a pole ladder or climbing wall onto a 40 foot high platform and race your partner on one of our dual 800-foot zip lines connected to the High Challenge Course. Soar through the sky reaching speeds up to 40 miles per hour.

Imagine standing on a zip line platform in the middle of the woods as the sky darkens, lit only by torches — allowing a glimpse of the deep ravine in front of you. Take a breath and push off the platform on an exhilarating ride through the night sky on a 350-foot zip line. This zip line is also available for daytime use.

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Zip Lines

Zip Lines

Zip Lines

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  • How to get to the Ranch

    If you are interested in any of our services, want to know more, or have any questions, feel free to contact us.
    Meramec Adventure Learning Ranch   |  1203 Meramec Wilderness Lane   |  Steelville, MO 65565
    P: (573) 775-5513   |  F: (573) 775-5523   |  E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    From the West or St Louis

    1. Take I-44 to exit 208 (Cuba)
    2. Turn off the exit ramp onto 19 South
    3. Follow 19 South for approx. 9 miles to the stop sign in Steelville
    4. Go straight thru the stop sign on Hwy 8 East for 1.75 miles to TT
    5. Turn Left on TT (at the top of the hill outside town)
    6. Follow TT for 1 mile to Trails End Road
    7. Turn left on Trails End Rd. for 1.3 miles
    8. At 1.3 miles, you will see the Meramec Adventure Learning Ranch sign. The road makes a 90 degree turn to the left, but go straight through the gate at the turn on Meramec Wilderness Lane
    9. Follow the gravel road straight for 1 mile until it dead ends at the Learning Center.

    From the East

    1. Take I-55 to Missouri exit 150 (St Genevieve/Farmington).
    2. Go left on SR-32 for 24 Miles
    3. Stay straight on 67 north for 3.5 miles
    4. Take ramp right for US-67-Br / MO-32 West toward Leadington / Park Hills for .2 miles
    5. Turn left onto US-67 Bus for 1.6 miles
    6. Take ramp right for US-67-Br / MO-32-Br toward Park Hills for 0.1 mile
    7. Turn right onto US-67 Bus for 0.3 mile
    8. Turn left to stay on US-67 Bus / E Main St for 0.5 mile
    9. Turn right to stay on US-67 Bus / Coffman St for 1.0 mile
    10. Turn left onto SR-8 for 50.3 miles
    11. As you near Steelville, you will pass a lumber mill on your left. Turn right onto SR-TT for 1 mile
    12. Turn left onto Trails End Rd for 1.3 miles
    13. At 1.3 miles, you will see the Meramec Adventure Learning Ranch sign. The road makes a 90 degree turn to the left, but go straight through the gate at the turn on Meramec Wilderness Lane
    14. Follow the gravel road straight for 1 mile until it dead ends at the Learning Center

Accreditations

All activity staff members are trained extensively and regularly to the highest standards,
using state of the art equipment, training and techniques.
Programming staff also have advanced wilderness first aid training and certifications.

Member, American Camp Association
Single Pitch certification, American Mountain Guides Association
Single Pitch Guide certification, Professional Climbing Guides Institute
Courses built, inspected and certified by Association of Challenge Course Technology