Places To Go

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From Missouri Conservationist: January 2019

Ozark Region: Indian Trail Conservation Area

History and nature cross paths in Dent County

by Larry Archer

From atop the lookout tower near the center of Indian Trail Conservation Area (CA), visitors can see as far north as Rolla and as far south as Salem, but it’s from the base of the tower where visitors can see into the area’s sad past.

That’s where a plaque describes how one portion of the historic Trail of Tears cuts through the 13,005-acre conservation area, located in Dent County between Salem and Steelville. The Trail of Tears is the collective name given to the routes used in the 1830s during the forced relocation of southeastern Native American tribes to present day Oklahoma.

While the Trail of Tears route is not a designated hiking trail, several of the area’s gravel roads, identified on area maps, run parallel to the trail, said Indian Trail CA Manager Preston Chapman. In addition to this historic route, Indian Trail CA has other opportunities to take in the area’s forests and glades, Chapman said.

“Most of the access trails that are good for hiking are up on ridgetops,” he said. “They’re flat, they’re easy hiking. Yet there are some areas where you can go and find some strenuous hills if you are a more avid hiker or backpacker.”

What to Do When You Visit

  • Bird-Watching Included in the National Audubon Society’s Current/Jack’s Fork Watershed Important Bird Area (short. and the Great Missouri Birding Trail ( The eBird list of birds recorded at Indian Trail CA is available at
  • Camping Primitive camping (no facilities provided) is allowed in designated areas.
  • Fishing Black bass; sunfish; white bass
  • Hiking No designated trails, but extensive hiking opportunities along interior roads and service areas.
  • 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 squirrel.
  • Shooting Range Firearms range with 25-, 50-, 100- and 200-yard targets.

Indian Trail Conservation Area consists of 13,503 acres in northeast Dent County.
From Salem, take Highway 19 northeast 12 miles.

  • 573-729-3182

What to look for when you visit Indian Trail Conservation Area

  • Bobcat
  • White-tailed deer
  • Dark-eyed junco
  • Belted kingfisher

Also In This Issue

Serving Nature and You: Fiscal Year July 1, 2017–June 30, 2018.

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