Area Name: Bluffwoods CA
Trails: Prairie, Meadow, Bluff, Loess Hills, Lone Pine, Maple Falls & Turkey Ridge – 6.7 miles total
Unique features: Wild orchids, wet-weather waterfalls, lush forest
For more information: Call (816) 271-3100 or visit our online atlas, keyword "Bluffwoods".
Ninety percent of this 2,344-acre area is covered by forest, with towering sugar maples, black walnut and red oak trees. It also harbors Adam-and-Eve and showy orchids and more than 100 species of wildlife. Audubon Missouri has designated this as an Important Bird Area. It offers a wide range of outdoor recreation opportunities, from birdwatching to hunting. Wheelchair users will like the handicap-accessible Prairie (.2 mi.) and Meadow (.3 mi.) trails. Adventurous hikers can choose the demanding Maple Falls Trail (1.5 mi.), which traverses steep terrain and crosses several streams. The even more rugged Lone Pines Trail (1.5 mi.) has a bluff-top overlook with a view of the Missouri River flood plain. Another overlook is located on the Turkey Ridge Trail (2 mi.). There is a pavilion, two picnic areas and handicap-accessible privies.
Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center has something for everyone this month, with both indoor and outdoor programs. Visit a local prairie to see short-eared owls at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 11, or learn about predator hunting at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 21. Deer hunters can express their desires at a public meeting on deer-hunting regulations at 7 p.m. Jan. 9.
Wildcat Glades is located at 201 W. Riviera Drive, Joplin. For more information about these and other programs, contact Kevin Badgley at (417) 629-3423, Kevin.Badgley@mdc.mo.gov.
Winter transforms float streams into austere wonderlands. The upper Bourbeuse River in Gasconade and Franklin counties is a great place for winter floating. Canoe access is easy from Mill Rock Access downstream. There usually is enough water for canoeing downstream from Peters Ford. Above that, you need a kayak and still might have to drag it in places. The upper Bourbeuse has good smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass fishing, with largemouths up to 4 pounds. Jigs with plastic grubs or pork rind work well for bass. Of course, there are rock bass and various sunfish, too. If wildlife watching is your thing, watch for eagles, minks, deer and turkeys. The water is very cold, even on warm winter days, so wear hip waders to keep your feet dry. For water level information, visit online. For canoe rental, call Devil’s Back Floats (573) 484-3231.
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