Places to Go

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From Missouri Conservationist: December 2018

Southwest Region | Lead Mine Conservation Area

Getting the winter lead out.

By Larry Archer

Given Missouri’s history as a leading lead producer, any number of conservation areas in the state’s lead belt could make a much more credible claim on the name Lead Mine Conservation Area (CA) than the 7,761 acres in Dallas County that holds the title.

Named for the nearby community of Lead Mine, neither the town nor the conservation area contributed significantly to Missouri’s lead mining past, said Resource Forester Steven Laval, Lead Mine CA manager. “They actually did try to do some surface lead mining there, probably in the late 1800s, early 1900s,” Laval said. “I guess they didn’t find much.”

What the area produces, however, are opportunities for people looking to get the winter lead out. With more than 22 miles of hilly, multiuse trails and a half-mile hiking- only trail, hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers can find plenty of challenge, Laval said.

“There are a couple of designated hiking trails, but most of the use is equestrian,” Laval said.

The area’s access to more than 2 miles of the Niangua River also offers winter floaters and anglers additional opportunity, he said.

What to look for when you visit

  • Dark-eyed junco
  • Coyote
  • Northern flicker
  • Bald eagle

Lead Mine Conservation Area consists of 7,761 acres in Dallas County. From Plad, take Highway 64 west, then Route T north, and Route YY east 0.50 mile. From Lebanon, take Highway 5 north to Route E, which will become Bluff Trail at the end of pavement. Follow Bluff Trail 0.25 mile to area. There is no vehicle access to the west side of area from the east side.

  • N37° 49’ 44.76” | W92° 57’ 12.96”
  • 417-895-6880

What to Do When You Visit

  • Bird-Watching Included in the National Audubon Society’s Niangua River Basin Important Bird Area ( and on the Great Missouri Birding Trail ( The eBird list of birds recorded at Lead Mine CA is available at
  • Boating and Canoeing One river access and one boat ramp providing access to the Niangua River.
  • Camping Individual campsites. No amenities. Group camping by special use permit only.
  • Fishing Black bass, catfish, rock bass, suckers, sunfish
  • Hiking Five moderate to difficult multiuse (hiking/biking/horseback riding) trails totaling more than 22 miles. One half-mile easy, hiking-only trail.
  • Hunting Deer and turkey. Deer and turkey regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Spring Turkey or Fall Deer and Turkey booklets for current regulations. Also quail, rabbit, and squirrel.
  • Shooting Unstaffed rifle and pistol range with 25-, 50-, and 100-yard targets.
  • Trapping Special use permit required.

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