which can be found on MDC Online at mdc.mo.gov/node/9825. In addition to providing a map of the project area, the guide will explain each marker along the driving tour.
Little Dixie Lake—if you head to this conservation area early enough in the season, you can rent a boat for $5/day. Only the boat and oars are provided, so be sure to bring a life vest for everyone. You’ll also want to remember your tackle box and fishing poles. We had the best luck with crappie on our visit, but that could have been due to lack of patience! Consider hiking around the perimeter of the lake to look for the perfect picnic spot while you’re there.
Roads Not Taken
There are a myriad of things to do with your family to enjoy Missouri’s breathtaking autumn season. By following the fall color updates on MDC Online, you can plan your adventures to follow the best color. Here are a few activities and places my family didn’t make it to that we hope to try next year:
Fall mushroom hunting in the Missouri Ozarks—There are more edible mushrooms in autumn than any other season. Beyond the popular morel, you may find hen of the woods, blewits, lobsters, chanterelles, chicken of the woods, black trumpets or oysters. These wonderful mushrooms fruit earlier in the season, but can also fruit in the fall. To learn more about mushroom hunting safety and recipes, check out Fall for Wild Mushrooms at mdc.mo.gov/node/9821 and Safe Mushroom Hunting at mdc.mo.gov/node/4221. You can also purchase a copy of Missouri’s Wild Mushrooms at mdcnatureshop.com.
Hiking in Northwest Missouri—I realized when I wrote this article that I’ve been all over south and central Missouri, and it’s about time I explored the northern portions of the state. I can’t think of a better way to do that than getting out and walking the trails of one of the many Conservation Areas located throughout the region. By using the Conservation Area Atlas located online, I can find the perfect spot to explore.
Horseback Riding at the Canaan Conservation Area in Gasconade County—This mostly wooded Conservation Area has approximately nine miles of multi-use trails, along with several creeks and springs. Fall will be a great time to get my family out of the riding arena and onto a trail.
Exploring Fall Color
Learn more about Missouri’s fall foliage and forests, and where to find the best examples and driving tours, on the Department’s website at mdc.mo.gov/node/4548.