Places to Go

By |
From Missouri Conservationist: February 2017

Columbia Bottoms Conservation Area

Located at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers in north St. Louis County, this 4,318-acre area provides a stopover location for a variety of migrating birds each winter.

The next time you are looking for an excursion to take your mind off the winter blues, consider a trip to Columbia Bottom Conservation Area. February is a good time to catch a glimpse of migrating waterfowl and other wildlife. Of particular interest are bald eagles that may be circling the area looking for their next meal or simply perched in a cottonwood tree along the bank of the river. You may also see deer, coyotes, or trumpeter swans as you take a leisurely drive through the area. The visitor center provides programs, interpretive displays, and activities for the whole family.

Columbia Bottom is located at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and is managed to provide a variety of floodplain habitats, including shallow wetlands, bottomland forests, prairie, and cropland habitat for resident and migrating wildlife. The area provides public recreational activities such as fishing, boating, hunting, hiking, bicycling, and bird and wildlife watching.

The Missouri and Mississippi rivers provide ample fishing opportunities with 6.5 miles of river frontage and numerous riverbank access points, such as the confluence viewing area and the canoe/kayak access area. The boat ramp on the Missouri River also provides a boat launch, restrooms, disabled-accessible parking, and an ADA-accessible fishing platform.

Hunting activities on the area include managed archery and shotgun deer hunts, a managed dove hunt with hunting opportunities allocated through a preseason application and drawing, a managed youth spring turkey hunt, and waterfowl hunting. The area offers 10 wade-and-shoot waterfowl hunting units and one ADA-accessible waterfowl hunting blind. The waterfowl hunting is allocated through the managed waterfowl drawing process.

Area interpretive staff and volunteers provide public recreational and educational opportunities, such as moonlit walks to listen to sounds of the night or Dutch oven cooking demonstrations. Using the Department’s Discover Nature School curriculum, staff works with area schools and home-school groups to provide field trips to explore the plants and insects living in the area’s prairie or moist soil wetland.

—Andy Tappmeyer, area manager

Columbia Bottoms Conservation Area

  • Recreation Opportunities: Hunting for waterfowl, deer, and dove; fishing, birdwatching, hiking, bicycling, wildlife viewing
  • Unique Features: Viewing platform of the Missouri and Mississippi River confluence, Missouri River boat ramp with ADA fishing platform, visitor center, seven managed wetland pools for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds
  • For More Information: Call 314-877-6014 or visit

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Art Director - Cliff White
Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler