biking in the woods

Cyclists now have more places to ride on Missouri’s conservation lands. Bicycles and some electric bicycles (e-bikes) are now allowed on roads open to public vehicles, multiuse bike trails, and most service roads. MDC has approximately 1,100 conservation areas, so check Places to Gothe online conservation atlas, to discover which areas allow bicycle use. Also check for road closures on the days you want to ride as some roads and trails are closed during hunting seasons.


Guidelines for Cycling on MDC Areas

Share the Space

Multiuse bicycle trails are shared-use trails that are maintained as bike trails but are also used by hikers and sometimes horseback riders. The trails are typically a combination of single- and double-track paths through woodlands and grasslands.

Know Where You Can Ride

Service roads are pathways used by MDC vehicles for maintenance purposes. Sometimes they are graveled, but they also could be infrequently mowed paths. Bike riding is allowed on most service roads, but road conditions may vary greatly between areas. Bicycle use is not permitted on service roads on department lands associated with nature and education centers, fish hatcheries, staffed ranges, offices, and designated natural areas.

Check the Dates

Trails and service roads may be closed at various times during the year, especially during the firearms portions of deer hunting season, waterfowl hunting seasons, and shooting hours of the spring turkey hunting season. Check Places to Go for regulations for the area you plan to visit, and if hunting is allowed on the area, avoid cycling during busy times.

Get a Group Permit

Groups of more than 10 people using bicycles on conservation areas must obtain a special use permit.

Missouri map icon
Before You Go

Check Places to Go to see if the conservation area you want to visit allows bicycles or has any road closures on the day you want to ride.

You can search for bike trails and service roads using the Advanced Search feature.


Trail Etiquette

Trail courtesy order
Source: U.S. Forest Service
Right to Use

All cyclists are responsible for maintaining a safe speed and sharing the trail with others. Remember:

  • Don’t ride when wet. Try to stay off wet trails to help reduce erosion and maintain service roads and trails.
  • Share the trail. Always maintain a safe speed, and follow these rules for yielding:
    1. Downhill users yield to uphill users,
    2. Bikers yield to hikers and horse riders, and
    3. Faster users yield to slower users.
  • Respect wildlife. Stay on trails and service roads. Riding off trail can intrude on important wildlife habitat, especially for ground nesting birds. Do not feed wildlife or leave food scraps on trails.

The following areas are closed to bicycle use during all portions of the firearms deer hunting season in November, December, and January, and shooting hours of the spring turkey hunting season in April and May:

  • Apple Creek Conservation Area
  • Bonanza Conservation Area
  • Bunch Hollow Conservation Area
  • Bushwhacker Lake Conservation Area
  • Canaan Conservation Area
  • Caney Mountain Conservation Area
  • Castor River Conservation Area
  • Compton Hollow Conservation Area
  • Charlie Heath Memorial Conservation Area
  • Daniel Boone Conservation Area
  • Deer Ridge Conservation Area
  • Fort Crowder Conservation Area
  • Gist Ranch Conservation Area
  • Henry Sever Lake Conservation Area
  • Holly Ridge Conservation Area
  • Honey Creek Conservation Area
  • Lead Mine Conservation Area
  • Little Indian Creek Conservation Area
  • Little Lost Creek Conservation Area
  • Long Ridge Conservation Area
  • Meramec Conservation Area
  • Pleasant Hope Conservation Area
  • Poosey Conservation Area
  • Riverbreaks Conservation Area
  • Scrivner Road Conservation Area
  • Sugar Creek Conservation Area
  • Robert E. Talbot Conservation Area
  • Rudolf Bennitt Conservation Area
  • University Forest Conservation Area

E-bikes are defined by MDC as two- or three-wheeled devices with fully operable pedals, a saddle or seat for the rider, and an electric motor up to 750 watts. To ride on conservation areas, the e-bike must also be in one of these classes:

  1. Class — motor assists only when the rider is pedaling and ceases to assist when the bicycle speed reaches 20 mph;
  2. Class — motor may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle and is not capable of assisting when the bicycle speed reaches 20 mph; or
  3. Class — motor assists only when the rider is pedaling and ceases to assist when the bicycle speed reaches 28 mph.

Great Places For Bicycling


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