Places To Go

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From Missouri Conservationist: February 2020

Northeast Region | Sugar Creek Conservation Area

Multi-use trails make for sweet rides.

By Larry Archer

Horses have a well-known love of sugar, so it seems appropriate that an area named Sugar Creek Conservation Area (CA) should have so much to offer horses and their riders.

Located just southwest of Kirksville in Adair County, this 2,603-acre, mostly forested area offers several options for equestrians, bicyclists, and hikers, said Sugar Creek CA Manager Yvette Amerman.

“It has 10 miles of horse trails, or multi-use trails,” Amerman said. “Those are broken up into three sections, each one has a different mileage on it. They can horseback ride or bicycle or, if you wanted to go on a walk, you could do that on any of those.”

Horseback riders wanting to turn their trail ride into a two day event are welcome to participate in overnight camping with their mounts, or “horse camping,” she said.

“If you’re going to horse camp, it needs to be in Parking Lot A, and that’s mainly because it’s big enough to turn a horse trailer around in,” she said. “But everyone needs to know there are no permanent tie-outs and you must pack in your own water.”

Hikers reluctant to share a multi-use trail with riders and bikers can enjoy the area’s 2-mile hiking-only trail.

“It is close to Kirksville, which is always a plus for people who just want to day-use. You’re only about 10 minutes or less from Kirksville.”
—Sugar Creek CA Manager Yvette Amerman
Sugar Creek Conservation Area consists of 2,603 acres in Adair County. From Kirksville, take Highway 11 west 4 miles, then Route N south 0.25 mile to the area. 660-785-2420

What to do When You Visit

  • Birdwatching Included in the National Audubon Society’s Thousand Hills Woodland and Forest Important Bird Area ( Included in the Great Missouri Birding Trail ( The eBird list of birds recorded at Sugar Creek CA is available at
  • Camping Designated campsites available. Open camping (walk-in, backpacking) allowed.
  • Fishing Black bass, catfish, sunfish
  • Hiking 2-mile hiking trail. 10-mile multiuse trail (biking, equestrian, and hiking).
  • 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 Unsupervised shooting range with 25-, 50-, and 100-yard shooting lanes.

What to Look for When You Visit

  • White-tailed deer
  • Bald eagle
  • Squirrel
  • Wild turkey

This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Larry Archer

Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek

Art Director - Cliff White

Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler