Places To Go

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From Missouri Conservationist: April 2020

Central Region | Little Dixie Lake Conservation Area

Casting a line, hiking a trail.

By Larry Archer
Named for the region settled by southerners following in the footsteps of Daniel Boone, the 733-acre Little Dixie Lake Conservation Area (CA) — with its 205-acre lake — draws anglers, hikers, and birders, said Little Dixie Lake CA Manager Craig Williamson.

“This is a prime time to be out fishing, and there’s excellent fishing out there for black bass and crappie,” said Williamson, a wildlife management biologist.

In addition to the lake’s angling opportunities, the area, located in Callaway County a short drive east of Columbia, also boasts more than 10 miles of hiking trails, he said.

“One of the biggest uses of the area is the trails around the place,” he said. “There’s some excellent trails. There’s handicapped trails — some that are paved — and there’s just excellent trails all around it.”

The trails, combined with a variety of habitats, also make Little Dixie Lake CA a popular place for birders, Williamson said.

“There’ll be a pile of songbirds there without a doubt,” he said. “We’ve got an excellent diversity of habitats. We’ve got some prairies, some old field habitat, and we have some excellent woodlands, so there would be absolutely great diversity of songbirds in the area.”

Little Dixie Lake Conservation Area  consists of 733 acres in Callaway County. From Kingdom City, take I-70 west 10 miles to the Route J exit. Take Route J south to Route RA. The main Little Dixie Lake CA parking area is off Route RA at the junction with Route J in Millersburg.

What To Do When You Visit

  • Birdwatching The eBird list of birds recorded at Little Dixie Lake CA is available at
  • Camping Designated campsites available. Open camping (walk-in, backpacking) allowed.
  • Dog Training Special-use permit required.
  • Fishing Black bass, catfish, crappie, sunfish
  • Hiking Boundary Trail (6 miles, hiking and biking allowed); Shoreline Trail (4.5 miles, 22 footbridges, hiking only); Dixie Woods Trail (0.4 miles, ADA accessible asphalt pavement, 1 footbridge).
  • 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
  • Trapping Special-use permit required.
  • Waterfowl Hunting Open hunting. Waterfowl regulations are subject to annual change. Please refer to the Migratory Bird and Waterfowl Hunting Digest 2020-2021 for current regulations.

What to Look For When You Visit

  • Red fox
  • Belted kingfisher
  • Eastern yellow-bellied racer
  • Double-crested cormorant

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 - Shawn Carey
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler