Explore Missouri's Original Landscapes
Missouri's natural areas represent some of the best—and last—examples of the state’s original natural landscape, each offering a shining example of Missouri’s outstanding biological and geological features. Hiking through a natural area, you can observe rare plants and animals that would have been familiar sights to native Americans or explorers, such as Lewis and Clark. Natural areas are defined as natural communities or geologic features that represent the natural character, diversity and ecological processes of Missouri’s native landscapes. Natural communities are groups of plants and animals and the landscapes, such as forests or prairies, that they inhabit—and that occur repeatedly throughout the state.
Use the information in this section to plan a visit to a natural area. Whether your interest is in nature study, birding, hiking, fishing, hunting or photography, you'll find a designated Missouri natural area to explore and enjoy your favorite low-impact outdoor recreational activity.