Places To Go
Caney Mountain CA
Missouri has few areas that offer so much variety for so many trail users as Caney Mountain Conservation Area in Ozark County. This incredibly rugged area features a 6.5-mile multi-use trail open to hikers, bikers and equestrian users. This linear trail extends from a parking lot near the area’s northwest corner to another on the southeast with several amazing vistas. In between, it traverses rugged, rocky, sun-drenched glades inhabited by gaily-colored collared lizards (also known as “mountain boomers”), roadrunners, tarantulas and other wildlife adapted to dry landscapes. For hikers, the 1.5-mile Spout Spring Nature Trail traverses the shady depths of Caney Creek Valley in the area’s interior, while the .5-mile Long Bald Nature Trail describes a loop in a glade landscape near the west boundary. Numerous gravel roads and trails through the area also provide mountain biking opportunities. Bicycling is allowed only on gravel roads and trails open to vehicle traffic. More details about Caney Mountain CA and its trails, including a map, are available at www.MissouriConservation.org/a5202.
Great Vacation Side Trip
This state-of-the-art facility draws 30,000 visitors a year.
Vacationers at Lake of the Ozarks and Truman Lake can visit a 12,700-gallon aquarium and take youngsters fishing, all free. The visitor center at Lost Valley Fish Hatchery near Warsaw is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through Labor Day. Fishing tackle and bait are available for visitors younger than age 15 to catch channel catfish, sunfish and more in a stocked pond. Visitors also can stroll around dozens of fish-rearing ponds. Tours can be arranged in advance for groups of 15 or more. For more information, call 660-438-4465.
On the Range
Sight in rifles safely at conservation areas.
Hunting seasons are fast approaching, so it is time to check the alignment of your rifle sights. You could go to one of the Conservation Department’s staffed shooting ranges in the Springfield, Kansas City or St. Louis areas. If you don’t live near any of those, or if you prefer a more independent, solitary experience, you can visit one of the dozens of modest shooting ranges on conservation areas. These are located in 75 of Missouri’s 114 counties, ensuring that hunters across the state have safe, legal places to sight in rifles, pattern shotguns or sharpen wing shooting skills on clay targets. Some also have archery or pistol ranges. The most modest unstaffed ranges consist of little more than earthen berms to provide safe backstops for rifle sighting. Others are fully equipped, handicapaccessible ranges with backstops, covered concrete shooting benches, target holders and pit privies. For more information, visit www.MissouriConservation.org/14114.