MDC offers backpack camping locations in Central and Northeast Region

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Columbia, Mo. -- Backpack camping is a great way to disconnect from the day-to-day and reconnect with nature. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) allows walk-in camping on over 100 conservation areas around the state. Here are six places to go backpacking in central and northeast Missouri. The following conservation area sites offer hiking trails and beautiful scenery among other things:

Before traveling to a conservation area, here are a few things to remember:

  • Camping on these areas is free and does not require a reservation. Groups bigger than 10 must apply for a special use permit. Go to to learn more about camping on conservation areas.
  • Download the MO Outdoors app. Track locations on conservation areas with this free app. Downloading area maps on this app before exploring an area is a good idea in the event that cell service is lost. This app is available for Android and Apple devices. Learn more about MO Outdoors online at
  • Bring a paper map of the area and a compass as a backup. Paper maps can be found at regional MDC offices and in brochure boxes on MDC areas, and maps for MDC areas can be downloaded by searching at .
  • Share all outdoor plans with other people.
  • Go with a friend or a group to learn the ropes.
  • Many conservation areas are in remote locations. Bring everything needed for the trip, including drinking water.
  • Check the area website to ensure there are no closures. Some of these areas are closed to walk-in camping during firearm deer and turkey seasons.
  • Stays are limited to a period of fourteen (14) consecutive days in any thirty (30) day period.
  • Keep fire contained and attended. Know how to keep from starting a wildfire when camping.
  • Pack out all waste and practice “leave no trace” camping ethics.

Visit MDC’s website at to learn more about camping on conservation areas.