Points of Interest:
- Walk along the banks of a rarity in north Missouri — an unchannelized stream.
- Take a boardwalk hike through remnant bottomland forests.
- See bottomland forest birds including wood duck, prothonotary warbler, and the pileated woodpecker.
This area represents one of the last remnant landform types in northern Missouri of an active meandering river system and its associated oxbow sloughs, swamps, and rich floodplain forest. Principal bottomland forest trees include cottonwood, silver maple, shellbark hickory, bur oak, swamp white oak, pin oak, river birch and pecan. Although not part of the natural area proper, just to the west of the natural area within the state park is Locust Creek Prairie. This wet prairie is one of only a few remnant wet prairies in north Missouri. The observation tower along the hiking trail allows visitors to look across the waving cordgrass prairie. Although this landscape appears flat, small rises and depressions harbor different sets of plants and animals adapted to wetter or drier conditions. In the spring a chorus of toads and frogs can be heard echoing through the woods.
Because Locust Creek is channelized for miles above the natural area, this and land management practices upstream have caused un-natural flooding and sedimentation problems downstream at Pershing State Park and this natural area. Currently Missouri State Park staff and other agencies are working on correcting hydrological problems impacting the park and natural area. However, this natural area is still the best place to get a sense of the natural communities of a north Missouri floodplain.
This natural area is within Pershing State Park. Travel west on Highway 36 west of Brookfield. Almost 2 miles west of the junction of Highway 36 and Highway 139, get off Highway 36 heading south on Highway 130. Follow this road south about 1.5 miles. The park office is on the left (east) side of the road. Inquire at the park office about accessing the natural area.