Places To Go


Central Region | Cooper Hill Conservation Area

Hunting, fishing, birding, and scenic views on the Gasconade River.

By Bonnie Chasteen

November is a good time for history buffs, hunters, anglers, and birders to visit this little-known area near the Osage County village of Cooper Hill.

Situated at the confluence of Third Creek and the Gasconade River, the 214-acre Cooper Hill Conservation Area (CA) is the site of the former Leach Steam Saw and Grist Mill. It was constructed in 1858 and operated continuously, producing cordwood, until 1924. Although the old mill is gone, you’ll find the Leach-Baker Cemetery, which has headstones dating from the 1800s, up the hill from the parking lot.

November hunters will find decent populations of deer, dove, turkey, and squirrels. Anglers can try their luck for bass, catfish, crappie, suckers, and sunfish in the Gasconade River.

Floaters can access the Gasconade River from the parking lot and from gravel road C.R. 821, where it is possible to hand-launch canoes or small boats, but there is no access for trailered boats.

It’s also possible to hike along the north side of the area, where bluffs afford scenic views of the Gasconade River. Birders can expect to see a variety of species, including red-bellied woodpecker, golden-crowned kinglet, white-throated sparrow, and white-breasted nuthatch in the forest and woodland areas.

Cooper Hill Conservation Are consists of 214 acres in Osage County. From Mt. Sterling, take Route A south 2.5 miles, then Route D west 2.75 miles to the village of Cooper Hill. 573-897-3797

What to Do When You Visit

  • Birdwatching The eBird list of birds recorded at Cooper Hill CA is available at
  • Camping Open camping — walk-in/ float-in/backpack
  • Fishing Black bass, catfish, crappie, sunfish, white bass
  • Hiking No designated hiking trails, but service roads are open to 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 dove and squirrel
  • Trapping Special use permit required.

What to Look For When You Visit

  • Bald eagle
  • Wild turkey
  • Fox sparrow
  • White-tailed deer

Also In This Issue

And More...

This Issue's Staff