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Top 5 Fall Hikes

Sep 25, 2017

Fall is a great time to take a hike.  The weather is cooler, the colors are changing and our conservation areas offer many choices.  Missouri has been recognized as a Best Trails State.  Here's our top five picks for fall hiking this year:

Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area near Kansas City has six hiking trails including disabled accessible.  The Bethany Falls Trail winds through forest, limestone rocks and a glade. It was voted the number one hiking trail in the Kansas City area.  The area is a prime destination for birdwatching and picnics.  Visit the nature center to begin your experience here.

Near St. Louis, Rockwoods Reservation offers seven trails covering 13 miles ranging from easy, disabled accessible to moderate, difficult and multi-use.  The Limestone Kiln trail is a favorite that winds along a rocky ridgetop and features an old limestone kiln.  The area is great for fall color and wildlife watching including deer, turkeys, fox, songbirds, chipmonks and more.

Caney Mountain Conservation Area in the southern part of the state offers the most expansive views in Missouri over Ozark mountains and balds.  Two trails wind through the area and offer fall color, a creek, and rare wildlife like the collared lizard and Bachman’s sparrow.  The area’s 20 miles of roads have many scenic overlooks for viewing Ozark vistas.

In mid-Missouri, the Osage Bluff Scenic Trail at Painted Rock Conservation Area offers breathtaking views of the Osage River and winds past a native American burial cairn.  The 1.6 mile single loop trail winds through forest with interpretive signs and two boardwalk vistas.  The area also features a glade, savannah and lake.  This is a great spot for fall color and eagle watching.

Near the bootheel, you can immerse yourself in a swamp experience with tupelo and 500 year old bald cypress trees at Allred Lake Natural Area.  The trail is an easy quarter mile but ends at a boardwalk that offers a variety of photo-ops.  You might see wood ducks, herons and owls.  The cypress trees with baldy knees growing out of the water show peak fall color the end of October.

Conservation trails range from disabled access and easy walks to moderate and longer hikes.  Find more information on places to hike and special events in our hiking section.

Discover and explore the Ozark Trail in the video below.

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Pickle Springs Conservation Area overlook
Pickle Springs Conservation Area
View from the Trail through Time

Finding Wild Missouri: Hiking in the Ozarks

Explore the Ozark Trail in this video from MDC and Orr Street Productions
Explore the Ozark Trail in this video from MDC and Orr Street Productions

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Caney Mountain Conservation Area
View from Caney Mountain


bald cypress trees at Allred Lake Natural Area
Allred Lake Natural Area
View from the trail at Allred Lake Natural Area

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fall on the trail at Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area
Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area
Fall on the trail at Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area

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Kids on the trail at Painted Rock Conservation Area
Painted Rock Conservation Area
View from the overlook at Painted Rock Conservation Area


Mom and Baby on the trail
Hiking in Missouri
Happy Hikers

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Rockwoods Reservation
Rockwoods Reservation
On the trail at Rockwoods Reservation near St. Louis

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