Hiking

Image
Image
A man in a hat walks with boys along a gravel path next to a body of water.
Body

Take a hike! Our conservation areas have miles of hiking and multiuse trails. Go to your favorite area and explore.

Some trails are multiuse, which means there may also be cyclists, horseback riders, dog walkers, bird watchers, photographers, and others on the trail. Being mindful of others can make outdoor recreation a great experience for everyone.

Body

Guidelines for Hiking on MDC Areas

Stay on the Trail

Straying from the trail may disturb the places many plants and animals call home.

Maintain a Respectful Volume

There’s no need to whisper, but yelling or listening to loud music can bother wildlife or other people using the trail.

Leave No Trace

Do not leave any trash or personal belongings out on the trails or the surrounding areas. This includes things such as chicken bones, banana peels, and apple cores. Leaving these items along the trail can be dangerous for wildlife and make nature less beautiful.

Know Your Right of Way

Generally, hikers yield to horseback riders only, but check the signage on each trail for special cases. When it comes to other hikers, yield to groups, uphill hikers, and hikers moving at a faster pace.

Before You Go

Check Places to Go to see if the conservation area you want to visit has hiking trails. You can search for trails using the Advanced Search feature.

Media
Image
Trail courtesy order
Credit
Source: U.S. Forest Service
Right to Use
Body

Be Prepared

Being prepared can make or break your hiking experience, so make sure you set yourself up to enjoy it.

  • Always pack water — staying hydrated is important when you are engaging in strenuous activities.
  • Check the weather before you go hiking, and dress accordingly. If the temperature will change significantly during your hike, wear layered clothing using items that are easy to change and light enough to carry.
  • Wear comfortable and supportive shoes or boots that you are not afraid to get dirty.
  • Prevent discomfort from the elements with bug spray and sunscreen.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Paying attention to your surroundings can help keep you and others safe and keep you from getting lost. Being aware can also prevent injuries, accidents, and negative encounters with wildlife.

Respect Wildlife

If you encounter wildlife on a trail, please give the animal space. It is likely just passing by and will cause no harm if left alone. However, as black bears make a comeback in southern Missouri, as a hiker, you must be "bear aware"  and know what to do if you encounter a bear while hiking.

Events

Find events near you.
Registration period: November 1 - December 7
Date: Wednesday, December 7, 2022 8:00 am - Wednesday, December 7, 2022 5:00 pm
Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center
Grab your hiking stick and join a guided hike at Lake Ozark State Park (Camden County); 5 miles easy/moderate. Meet at the Runge Nature Center or the trailhead. Some transportation is provided but carpooling may be necessary. Hike leaders will contact participants before the hike to give directions if needed. Wear sturdy shoes, dress for the weather, bring a water bottle, and pack a lunch/snack. Registration required. Ages 18+
Registration period: November 2 - December 13
Date: Tuesday, December 13, 2022 6:00 pm - Tuesday, December 13, 2022 7:00 pm
Location: Online only
Discover the best trails in the Ozarks for day hiking during this virtual program. Please include a valid email address when you register so we can send you a virtual program link. All ages.
Registration period: December 1 - December 17
Date: Saturday, December 17, 2022 8:00 am - Saturday, December 17, 2022 5:00 pm
Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center
Put on your hiking shoes and join us for a guided hike of the Pierre A. Fleche ad River Landing Trail at Arrow Rock State Park (Cooper County); 2.5 miles – moderate. After lunch, wander the streets of Arrow Rock or visit the museum. Meet at Runge Nature Center or the trailhead. Some transportation is provided, but carpooling may be necessary. Hike leaders will contact participants before the hike to give directions if needed. Wear sturdy shoes, dress for the weather, bring a water bottle, and pack a lunch/snack. Registration required. Ages 18+
Registration period: August 19 - December 16
Date: Saturday, December 17, 2022 5:30 pm - Saturday, December 17, 2022 8:30 pm
Location: St. Louis Regional Office/Busch Memorial CA

Experience the sounds of the night during a moderate hike at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area. We will hike the Busch Hiking/Biking Trail which is approximately 3 ½ miles in length. We may hear coyotes howling, and also hear 2 or 3 species of owls calling their mates.

Please dress for the weather and bring a small flashlight.
Registration period: November 30 - January 7
Date: Saturday, January 7, 2023 1:30 pm - Saturday, January 7, 2023 3:30 pm
Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center
Help celebrate our 35th anniversary with a hike at the Nature Center! Each month a naturalist will lead a hike to share the beauty of the Nature Center trails with you. Dress for the weather and be prepared to hike 1.5 to 2 miles. The trail is considered easy to moderately difficult with some uneven terrain. Ages 8-adult. Children ages 8-17 must have a registered adult accompanying them.
Registration period: November 18 - January 13
Date: Saturday, January 14, 2023 7:30 am - Saturday, January 14, 2023 5:00 pm
Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Hawn State Park in St. Genevieve County is one of Missouri’s most scenic and special state parks. This naturalist-led hike will cover approximately 8 miles of the Whispering Pines Trail. This section of the trail is hilly, crosses several creeks, and due to its length, requires a moderate to high level of fitness. Sturdy shoes, a water bottle, lunch, and a small backpack are all required. If you’re ready for a rugged adventure, this is the trail for you!

We will meet at the nature center and depart promptly at 7:30am. If you plan to meet the group at Hawn State Park, please contact the instructor to make arrangements.