Places to Go

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From Missouri Conservationist: February 2018

Northeast Region: Ranacker Conservation Area

Shake off winter with a walk in the woods.

By Larry Archer

February has a reputation for unpredictable weather.

Whether the cold is hanging on or letting go, the trails at Ranacker Conservation Area (CA) provide Missourians the opportunity to get out and shake off any rust that may have set in over the winter. Ranacker’s main trail, technically a field road, runs the length of the area, with several spurs allowing access to much of its mostly wooded 1,831- acres. Parking lots off county roads on both the north and south ends provide several points of entry from which to start a day of hiking or offroad biking. Depending on weather, one might even come across a mounted visitor or two, according to Ranacker’s Manager Michael Flaspohler.

“We have a pretty large number of special use permits that we write for groups that want to go horseback riding,” Flaspohler said. “That’s a really popular thing starting this time of year, especially with the nicer days and warmer weather we sometimes have.”

Whether hiking the trails, shooting at the range, or spending the night camping, Ranacker CA offers a variety of ways to say goodbye to winter and get a jump-start on spring.

Ranacker Conservation Area consists of 1,831 acres in Pike County. From Frankford, take Highway 61 south 3 miles, then Route RA west.

N39° 27’ 54.4248” | W91° 17’ 24.576” 573-248-2530

What to do when you visit

  • Bicycling Field road open to bicycling. Also open to hikers and horseback riders. Bird Watching The eBird list of birds recorded at Ranacker CA is available at
  • Camping Allowed on and adjacent to all area parking lots except for the shooting range parking lot, but no amenities are provided. Walk-in camping allowed year-round except during deer and turkey firearms season.
  • Fishing Bass (fair), catfish (fair), sunfish (good), suckers (fair).
  • Hiking No designated trails, but much of the area is accessible via field roads. Horseback Riding Contact the area office for special use permit information.


Deer (good) and turkey (good). Deer and turkey regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Spring Turkey or Fall Deer and Turkey booklets for current regulations.

  • Dove (good).
  • Quail (fair).
  • Rabbit (fair).
  • Squirrel (good).

Shooting Range available for rifles and handguns. Target distances from 25 yards to 100 yards.

What to look for when you visit

  • Coyote
  • Wild turkey
  • Eastern gray squirrel
  • White-breasted nuthatch

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen

Staff Writer - Larry Archer
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek

Creative Director - Stephanie Thurber

Art Director - Cliff White

Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler