Hiking Into Spring

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Published on: May. 2, 1996

Last revision: Oct. 21, 2010


Rudolf Bennitt, Forest 44 and Bois D'Arc conservation areas are just a sample of the many Conservation Department lands offering hiking trails.

Rudolf Bennitt Conservation Area, south of Moberly, features the Moniteau Wilderness Trail, and numerous other trails winding through its 3,444 acres. The area is primarily forest with a smattering of uplands. Hikers and backpackers are welcome to explore this vast area, named for an early pioneer in conservation.

Forest 44 Conservation Area doesn't provide any camping, but folks wanting to stretch their legs will find this 958-acre area to their liking. Forest 44 is located west of St. Louis on Interstate 44. The area is predominantly forest, and hikers can expect a good workout from the rugged terrain.

Bois D' Arc Conservation Area is another great day-hike opportunity located north of Springfield. A combination of Ozark upland and arid glade gives visitors a taste of diversity as they traverse the newly completed foot trails.

Finally, for the hardy outdoors person who doesn't give a second thought to several days on the trail, the Ozark Trail might be just the ticket. This unique trace transects state, federal and private land in the southeastern Ozarks. Although still in the formative stages, detailed maps of completed trail sections and specific information concerning the Ozark Trail may be obtained by writing: State Forester, Missouri Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City 65102-0180.

Some Conservation Department property is acquired, developed and/or funded in part through the wildlife and sport fish restoration act administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

National Trails Day

Hikers, bikers and trail riders will celebrate Trails Day (June 1) with a variety of activities in Missouri.

  • In Springfield, Ozark Greenways is planning a horse and wagon trail ride on the Frisco Highline Trail in Willard. A trail along the South Creek/Wilson's Creek Greenway will be dedicated with a ceremony, nature walks and music. A trail run and a bike ride are also planned. Bicycle fans are planning both a trail ride and family street ride. For more information, call (417) 864-2014.
  • In St. Charles, Trails Day will be celebrated with an annual rally at Frontier Park. The Greenway Network, Inc. is coordinating the event to increase awareness of the need to protect and develop trails of all kinds. For more information, call (314) 947-0772.
  • The City of Chesterfield and the Missouri Trails and Streams Association, together with Babler State Park and Faust Park, are sponsoring four walks - a history walk, a fitness walk, a nature walk and a recreation walk. Each walk will have a guide and printed information. Each hiker will be given a packet containing hiking information, a t-shirt and a coupon for a light breakfast snack. For more information, call (314) 537-4000 after May 1st.
  • In Joplin, the Joplin Trails Coalition is sponsoring a 5K run/walk. For additional information call (417) 281-1664.
  • In DeSoto trail enthusiasts are planning an outing on the Ozark Trail. The hike will start at Berryman campground in Mark Twain National Forest, about 17 miles west of Potosi. For additional information, call (314) 337-1308, or (314) 337-6798.

National Trails Day is a nationwide day of events to promote community trail planning, increase public awareness of trails, promote trail conservation and celebrate the values and benefits America's treasured trails provide. Trails promote fitness, provide an alternative to auto transportation and its attendant pollution, provide outdoor classrooms for nature study, and a look at our past as marked by historic journeys. The day also gives trail side communities an economic boost. For additional information, contact The American Hiking Society, PO Box 20160, Washington D.C. 20041-2160.


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