Hiking

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A man in a hat walks with boys along a gravel path next to a body of water.
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Take a hike! Our conservation areas have miles of hiking and multi-use trails. Go to your favorite area and explore.

Great Places For Hiking

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Knob Lick Towersite
Saint Francois
Knob Lick Towersite is an 80-acre towersite purchased from the U.S.

Events

Find events near you.
Registration period: August 19 - September 24
Date: Friday, September 24, 2021 6:00 pm - Friday, September 24, 2021 7:00 pm
Location: Online only
As cooler weather makes the great outdoors more enjoyable, you may find yourself looking into exploring a new trail or conservation area. Before you go, join us to learn tips and tricks about the hiking basics that will make your next nature walk or hiking trip a success. Please register with a valid email to receive a link to join the program. All ages, best for 5 and above.
Registration period: September 1 - September 25
Date: Saturday, September 25, 2021 8:00 am - Saturday, September 25, 2021 5:00 pm
Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center
Join us in a guided hike at Prairie Home Conservation Area in Cooper County. 5 miles-moderate. Meet at the Runge Nature Center or the trailhead. 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 and up.
Registration period: August 15 - September 24
Date: Saturday, September 25, 2021 10:00 am - Saturday, September 25, 2021 12:00 pm
Location: Rockwoods Reservation

This program is designed for beginning hikers who want to start hiking this fall. Topics will include the basics, such as the difference between walking and hiking, clothes and equipment needed, hiking with children, and more. A 1.5-mile easy hike will conclude the program.

MDC asks all participants to observe current local social distancing and masking guidelines. Bringing and wearing face coverings is encouraged when appropriate.
Registration period: September 10 - October 1
Date: Saturday, October 2, 2021 6:15 am - Saturday, October 2, 2021 8:00 am
Location: Columbia Bottom Conservation Area

Take a leisurely stroll to the Confluence in the morning twilight. Enjoy a cup of coffee and a doughnut as we watch the sun rise over the Confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Don’t forget your camera for this Golden Hour.

Bring sunglasses, insect repellant, a water bottle, and a walking stick if you have one, Dress for the weather, including boots or shoes that can get wet or muddy.

Meet at the Columbia Bottom front entrance.

MDC asks all participants to observe current local social distancing and masking guidelines. Bringing and wearing face coverings is encouraged when appropriate.
Registration period: July 8 - August 11
Date: Saturday, October 2, 2021 8:00 am - Sunday, October 3, 2021 5:00 pm
Location: Carr's Canoe Rental

Join MDC Staff for our Introduction to Backpacking Program where we will hike the Current River Challenge from the Round Spring located in Ozark National Scenic Riverways to Echo Bluff State Park (4.5 miles) with an overnight at Echo Bluff. The next day we will hike to Current River State Park (4.5 miles) and kayak back down to our starting point at the Upper Round Spring take-out along the very beautiful spring-fed Current River (4 miles).

Expect the Ozark Hills terrain of steeper climbs (roughly 1,190 foot elevation gain) to beautiful overlooks as well as hikes along ridge tops and down into valleys. We will be camping at the group campsite in Echo Bluff where you will have access to restrooms and shower facilities.

Since this is an Introductory Backpacking Program, all gear and equipment can be provided for participants. We will conduct a virtual check-in one month prior to the trip in the evening to introduce the group and discuss trip preparation and logistics. A supply list will be emailed to you if you need any backpacking equipment or gear. All family or friend groupings will be responsible for carrying their own gear, including water filter, stove, tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad. You are responsible for packing your own food - this will be discussed in our virtual check-in - and you will be shown how to hang a bear-bag. In adhering to COVID guidelines, please do not share any materials between family or friend groupings to limit exposure. We will be outside for the entirety of this program.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email the instructor.

Thank you and our hope and goal is for each of you to be more inspired to explore the trails around you - whether that is through practicing your backpacking skills during this trip or taking longer day hikes. We want you to know that you can have access in many ways to our beautiful natural resources!

For details on how to register or to be put on the waiting list, contact Kayla Rosen (kayla.rosen@mdc.mo.gov).

Registration period: August 27 - October 8
Date: Saturday, October 9, 2021 9:00 am - Saturday, October 9, 2021 4:30 pm
Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center
Hike the 7.7-mile Natural Tunnel Trail at Bennett Spring State Park with Volunteer Naturalist Mike Mihalik. Bring a sack lunch and water and wear comfortable hiking shoes. Hike is rated moderate to difficult. Meet at the Natural Tunnel Trail head parking lot. Ages 18-adult.
Registration period: September 10 - October 13
Date: Thursday, October 14, 2021 10:00 am - Thursday, October 14, 2021 1:00 pm
Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

Join us on a hike at Valley View Glades Natural Area (in Jefferson County off of Hwy B) to see the bright fall colors on display and learn about why trees change color, among the many other changes we experience in autumn. This program will be outside, and we will be hiking in intermediate terrain for over an hour; the trail is approximately 2.6 miles. Please wear appropriate clothing and bring water and sunscreen.

Registration is required and current COVID-19 guidance will be followed. Ages 10 and up.
Registration period: September 29 - October 13
Date: Thursday, October 14, 2021 1:00 pm - Thursday, October 14, 2021 3:00 pm
Location: Rockwoods Reservation
Come spend a delightful fall afternoon hiking in Rockwoods Reservation. We will discuss why tree leaves change color. Hopefully we will be able to see and identify many beautiful trees as they show their fall colors. You will also see how “Wise Use” over the past 83 years has transformed Rockwoods into an amazingly beautiful place. Participants should be able to do a 1 ½ mile hike with a 200-foot elevation gain. This program is geared towards homeschoolers, but all can attend. MDC asks all participants to observe current local social distancing and masking guidelines. Bringing and wearing face coverings is encouraged when appropriate.
Registration period: August 30 - October 16
Date: Saturday, October 16, 2021 8:00 am - Saturday, October 16, 2021 11:00 am
Location: Little Prairie CA
Welcome to the first Little Prairie Nature Trail Run / Hike! The 3.6 mile unpaved nature trail that surrounds Towell Lake travels through different management regions of this 342 acre conservation area. Signage is provided along the nature trail that describes management practices designed to enhance diversity and health of the Missouri native plants and animals living here. Participants can register in advance or on-site between 8-9 am, with run / hike starting at 9am. The first 100 finishers will receive a MDC water bottle. Come explore the nature trail at Little Prairie Conservation Area in Phelps county on October 16, 2021!
Date: Tuesday, October 19, 2021 5:30 pm - Tuesday, October 19, 2021 7:00 pm
Location: Maple Woods Natural Area
We know autumn colors are a fleeting experience, and now is the time to pause and take in its beauty. In the Northland, there is a local gem called Maple Woods. It offers a quick escape from suburbia and concrete. Maple Woods is a mature maple and oak forest with an understory of paw paws. Join a Conservation Educator to become familiar this 1 mile moderately strenuous loop trail to discuss fall happenings and to pause to connect to this exceptional place.
Registration period: October 1 - October 20
Date: Wednesday, October 20, 2021 8:00 am - Wednesday, October 20, 2021 5:00 pm
Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center
Grab your hiking stick and join a guided hike at Arrow Rock State Park in Saline County. 3 miles-moderate. Meet at the Runge Nature Center or the trailhead. 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 and up.
Registration period: October 4 - October 20
Date: Thursday, October 21, 2021 1:00 pm - Thursday, October 21, 2021 3:00 pm
Location: Rockwoods Reservation
Come spend a delightful fall afternoon hiking in Rockwoods Reservation. We will discuss why tree leaves change color. Hopefully we will be able to see and identify many beautiful trees as they show their fall colors. You will also see how “Wise Use” over the past 83 years has transformed Rockwoods into an amazingly beautiful place. Participants should be able to do a 1 ½ mile hike with a 200-foot elevation gain. This program is geared towards homeschoolers, but all can attend. MDC asks all participants to observe current local social distancing and masking guidelines. Bringing and wearing face coverings is encouraged when appropriate.
Registration period: September 10 - October 20
Date: Thursday, October 21, 2021 4:00 pm - Thursday, October 21, 2021 5:30 pm
Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

Join us on a hike at Powder Valley to see some of the many spiders that are common in Missouri and learn about why spiders are important and unique creatures. This program will be outside, and we will be hiking in intermediate terrain for just under an hour: please wear appropriate clothing and bring water and sunscreen.

Registration is required and current COVID-19 guidance will be followed.
Registration period: September 14 - October 22
Date: Saturday, October 23, 2021 10:00 am - Saturday, October 23, 2021 11:30 am
Location: Forest Park Hatchery

For adults and children with disabilities and family/ support

Bring your camera and/or a friend or two and join us for an enjoyable autumn walk in Forest Park, taking pictures of nature. Stroll or roll on the accessible trail while we look for great places to photograph, talk, share ideas, and have fun. Any kind of camera will do. If you’re not interested in taking pictures, just join us for a pleasant day. Please meet at the Forest Park Hatchery Lakes. Directions will be sent prior to the program.

Registration period: September 22 - October 22
Date: Saturday, October 23, 2021 6:00 pm - Saturday, October 23, 2021 8:30 pm
Location: Columbia Bottom Conservation Area

Watch the sun go down from the highest point at Columbia Bottom. Then walk by flashlight or lantern light to the confluence on a closed road and trails to watch the nearly full Hunters Moon cast a silvery glow across the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Listen for the calls of 3 species of owls as they prowl the night and watch creatures of the night as they scurry away from our dancing light beams. We will walk quietly, listening for the sounds of nature all around us. Who knows what we will find on the moonlit trail ahead?

Dress for the weather; wear boots or shoes that can get muddy. Bring a flashlight or lantern, walking stick, if you have one, insect repellant and a water bottle. Meet at lot “K”, about 4 ½ miles from the front entrance.

MDC asks all participants to observe current local social distancing and masking guidelines. Bringing and wearing of face coverings is encourage when appropriate.
Registration period: October 1 - October 30
Date: Saturday, October 30, 2021 8:00 am - Saturday, October 30, 2021 5:00 pm
Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center
Put on your hiking shoes and join us for a guided hike at Bennett Springs State Park in Laclede County to explore the Natural Tunnel Trail. 7.5 miles-moderate. Meet at the Runge Nature Center or the trailhead. 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 and up.
Registration period: November 1 - October 31
Date: Saturday, November 13, 2021 1:00 pm - Saturday, November 13, 2021 3:00 pm
Location: Rockwoods Reservation
Join us for an invigorating mid-November hike of the Turkey Ridge Trail. As we progress along the trail we will talk about the habitat, food, habits and calls of wild turkeys. If we are really lucky, we may even see or hear some wild turkeys. The hike is moderate effort; 2.0 miles with two hills. Participants meet at the Turkey Ridge Trailhead parking lot in the northeast corner of the intersection of Woods Ave and Hwy 109. MDC asks all participants to observe current local social distancing and masking guidelines. Bringing and wearing face coverings is encouraged when appropriate.
Registration period: November 3 - November 17
Date: Thursday, November 18, 2021 1:00 pm - Thursday, November 18, 2021 3:00 pm
Location: Rockwoods Reservation
Join us for an invigorating mid-November hike of the Turkey Ridge Trail. As we progress along the trail we will talk about the habitat, food, habits and calls of wild turkeys. If we are really lucky, we may even see or hear some wild turkeys. The hike is moderate effort; 2.0 miles with two hills. This program is geared towards homeschoolers, but all can attend. Participants meet at the Turkey Ridge Trailhead parking lot in the northeast corner of the intersection of Woods Ave and Hwy 109. MDC asks all participants to observe current local social distancing and masking guidelines. Bringing and wearing face coverings is encouraged when appropriate.
Registration period: September 3 - November 18
Date: Thursday, November 18, 2021 6:00 pm - Thursday, November 18, 2021 7:30 pm
Location: Online only

Backpacking is an excellent way to exercise and enjoy nature!

Join us November 18th for Backpacking Basics to learn what and how to pack for a hiking adventure as well as what features to look for in a backpack, fun places to explore in Missouri and important planning procedures.