Have a Nature Adventure on Missouri’s Beautiful Hiking Trails
Missouri's gorgeous scenery and plentiful trails draw hikers from around the nation to enjoy Midwest hiking opportunities. Old-growth oak trees, bubbling streams, striking rock formations, plus vibrant plants and flowers make any Missouri hike a camera worthy experience.
Phenomenal Midwest Hiking
Three Creeks Conservation Area, located midway between Columbia and Ashland, provides great views on its eight-mile, multi-use trail and on its three-mile interpretive hiking trail. Red cedar trees grow tall and the conservation area's namesake creeks (Turkey Creek, Bass Creek and Bonne Femme Creek) course through the landscape. Other notable features include dramatic bluffs and interesting rock formations.
Geologic wonders are in abundant supply at Hughes Mountain Natural Area, south of Potosi. This nature adventure features rocks that have a have serious history. In fact, the 1.5 billion-year-old Precambrian rock outcroppings display some of the oldest exposed rocks in North America. Be sure to hit the hiking trails to the summit of Hughes Mountain, where you'll see the “Devil's Honeycomb,” a stunning rhyolite formation, a fine-grained volcanic rock similar to granite. Elsewhere in this natural wonderland, you encounter native grasses and blooming wildflowers, plus lichen grasshoppers, prairie warblers and collared lizards.
Nature Adventures on Missouri’s Hiking Trails
Clifty Natural Bridge, near Dixon, is a stunning natural formation that is as beautiful as it is functional. Hiking this ares truly is a nature adventure. You access the bridge via a creek bed, over rough rock–a hike taking about one hour each way. The terrain can be rough, so wear sturdy hiking boots.
Hikers looking for supremely pristine landscapes are delighted by Hawn State Park, on Route 32 between Ste. Genevieve and Farmington. This park, situated in eastern Ozark sandstone country, provides the ideal backdrop for a beautiful hike. Consider spending a full-day or a half-day at Hawn, exploring the 10-mile backpacking trail (shorter trails are available). Those hikers making a weekend of it can sleep at the campgrounds and dine in the picnic shelters. Wild azaleas and soaring pine trees add to the beauty of Hawn State Park.
Midwest hiking meets fishing at Big Creek Conservation Area, where angling is allowed with a permit. The 1,064 acres of this Kirksville area park consist of woodlands, savannas and croplands. Pack you rod and real and head out to Big Creek for a relaxing and exhilarating adventure.