Visit MDC’s historic Red Rock Landing CA for scenic views unlike any other

News from the region
Published Date

PERRY COUNTY, Mo. – If the Chester River gauge is sitting at 20 feet or below, visit one of Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) most tranquil historical destinations: Red Rock Landing Conservation Area (CA) in Perry County.

When not inaccessible by road, the area contains quite a feast for the eyes – seven ponds, 60 acres of unprotected bottomland fields, and 70 acres of upland fields. MDC purchased this 419-acre timbered property in 1994, chiefly using it as a public fishing access.

“Red Rock has some of the best remaining riparian habitat in this reach of the Mississippi River,” said MDC Wildlife Management Biologist Keith Cordell. “It provides excellent bank fishing for catfish, and other big river species.”

And one of best things about the area is the ridgetop, he said, which offers several trails for the hiking enthusiast. Once you get on the top, prepare yourself for an instant panoramic view.

Cordell said the area is like most other forested river hills areas within southeast Missouri, except it has giant, steep river hills. And the proximity to the river is justifiably why fishing is one of the main reasons to visit.

“It’s also a good bird-watching area,” Cordell said. “The Mississippi River is a huge corridor for migrating birds. The healthy, riparian forest against the river attracts a lot of neotropical migrants for sure, and all kinds of waterfowl you won’t see further inland.”

Plenty of hunting opportunities are also there according to Cordell, including deer, turkey, and some small game such as rabbit and quail. And you’ll even find a camping area with three defined campsites, complete with fire rings, picnic tables, BBQ grills, and gravel pads.

For the hiking novice, the habitat is like that of Trail of Tears State Park, but that’s no complaint. It’s stunningly steep and rugged and is must-see.

If you’re feeling adventurous, Cordell said you can take your bicycle on one of many service roads, but “it’d be a steep bike ride.”

Directions to Red Rock Landing: At the end of PCR 350, approximately ten miles east of Perryville.

Learn more about Red Rock Landing Conservation Area online at