Relieve Thanksgiving stress through time in nature with MDC

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Find some relief from the holiday hustle-and-bustle by spending time in nature this Thanksgiving season with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Connect easily with the outdoors through free MDC programs, at MDC nature centers around the state, and nearly 1,000 conservation areas with outdoor recreation opportunities.


  • Hiking:Walk Off the Turkey and Pumpkin Hike at Columbia Bottom Conservation Area Friday, Nov. 26 from 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Take a leisurely stroll (or, if you prefer, a brisk walk) between the fields and prairies of Columbia Bottom. The fresh air and lack of crowds will be a welcome change from the hubbub that often fills our lives in this time of year. Meet at the Cropland Overlook (Lot K) about 4.5 miles from the front gate. Dress for the weather and brig some water. Registration is required at
  • Hiking: #OptOutside Naturalist Walk at Cape Girardeau Nature Center Friday, Nov. 26 from 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Stuffed with holiday food, weary of noisy guests, and then expected to go shopping at dawn and fight for holiday deals? If this sounds like a real headache to you, why not #OptOutside with us at the nature center! The trails hold the secret to peace and serenity, if you just take the time to explore their beautiful hills. This 1.5-mile hike is open to all ages, but the trails are hilly! Your guide will keep a slow pace as they stop to show you just how special a Missouri forest can be. Discover nature and join us for a gift you can really be thankful for! Registration is not required. Learn more at
  • The Hikers: Lake of the Ozarks State Park Saturday, Nov. 27 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Put on your hiking shoes and join us for a guided hike at Lake of the Ozarks State Park in Camden County to explore the six-mile Honey Run Trail. Meet at Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City or at the trailhead. Hike leaders will contact participants before the hike to give directions if needed. Wear sturdy shoes, dress for the weather, bring water, and pack a lunch. Registration is required at
  • Hiking: Walk Off the Turkey at Lake Taneycomo Saturday, Nov. 27 from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. Feel the need to walk off that turkey dinner? Join us for a mile-long hike along Lake Taneycomo! This naturalist-led hike will dish up some fun facts about wild turkeys. Wear hiking shoes, bring water, and dress for the weather. Participants will meet outside of the Shepherd of the Hills Conservation Center in Branson. Registration is required at

Find more information about upcoming MDC events at


Explore conservation areas anytime with help from MDC’s MO Outdoors app. The free mobile app offers information on nearby conservation areas, accesses, offices, and more. Users can view what features and activities are available at each location, download maps, and view hours of operations. MO Outdoors is available for download through the App Store for Apple devices and through Google Play for Android devices. Learn more about the app at


Interested in exploring the outdoors, but unsure where to start? It’s as easy as stepping out your door! Join Jill Pritchard as she explores everything nature has to offer in MDC’s free Nature Boost podcast. Learn about the health benefits of nature, Missouri’s native wildlife, outdoor recreation opportunities, and incredible conservation stories. Subscribe and get your own Nature Boost! Listen to episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, PodcastOne, or online at