Hiking

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A man in a hat walks with boys along a gravel path next to a body of water.
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Take a hike! Our conservation areas have miles of hiking and multiuse trails. Go to your favorite area and explore.

Some trails are multiuse, which means there may also be cyclists, horseback riders, dog walkers, bird watchers, photographers, and others on the trail. Being mindful of others can make outdoor recreation a great experience for everyone.

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Guidelines for hiking on MDC areas

Know your right of way

Generally, hikers yield to horseback riders only, but check the signage on each trail for special cases. When it comes to other hikers, yield to groups, uphill hikers, and hikers moving at a faster pace.

Stay on the trail

Straying from the trail may cause a disturbance in the natural landscape that many plants and animals call home.

Maintain a respectful volume

There’s no need to whisper, but yelling or listening to loud music can be disturbing to wildlife or other people using the trail.

Before You Go

Check Places to Go to see if the conservation area you want to visit has hiking trails. You can search for trails using the Advanced Search feature.

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Leave no trace

Do not leave any trash or personal belongings out on the trails or the surrounding areas. This includes organic waste such as chicken bones, banana peels, and apple cores, which can be dangerous for the wildlife and obstruct the natural beauty of the environment.

Be prepared

Being prepared can make or break your hiking experience, so make sure you set yourself up to enjoy it.

  • Always pack water — staying hydrated is important when you are engaging in strenuous activities.
  • Check the weather before you go hiking, and dress accordingly. If the temperature will change significantly during your hike, wear layered clothing using items that are easy to change and light enough to carry.
  • Wear comfortable and supportive shoes or boots that you are not afraid to get dirty.
  • Prevent discomfort from the elements with bug spray and sunscreen.

Be aware of your surroundings

Paying attention to your surroundings can help keep you and others safe and keep you from getting lost. Being aware can also prevent injuries, accidents, and negative encounters with wildlife.

Respect wildlife

If you encounter wildlife on a trail, please give the animal space. It is likely just passing by and will cause no harm if left alone. However, as black bears make a comeback in southern Missouri, as a hiker, you must be "bear aware"  and know what to do if you encounter a bear while hiking.

Check the dates

Trails may be closed at various times during the year, especially during firearms deer, spring turkey, and/or waterfowl hunting seasons. Check if hunting is allowed on the area, and avoid hiking during busy times.

Great Places For Hiking

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Prairie at Bonanza CA
Caldwell
The Conservation Department created this area in 1968 with the purchase of 1,024 acres from sev
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Creek surrounded by tress on Angeline Conservation Area
Shannon
The Angeline Conservation Area lies north of the Jacks Fork and west of the Current River.
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Glade at Hughes Mountain NA
Washington
Hughes Mountain entices explorers with some of the most unique geological features in the Show-

Events

Find events near you.
Registration period: July 1 - July 20
Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2022 8:00 am - Wednesday, July 20, 2022 5:00 pm
Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center
Grab your hiking stick and join a guided hike at Graham Cave State Park (Montgomery County); 4 miles-easy/moderate. Meet at the Runge Nature Center or the trailhead. Some transportation is provided but carpooling may be necessary. Hike leaders will contact participants before the hike to give directions if needed. Wear sturdy shoes, dress for the weather, bring a water bottle, and pack a lunch/snack. Registration required. Ages 18+
Registration period: June 1 - July 26
Date: Tuesday, July 26, 2022 6:00 pm - Tuesday, July 26, 2022 7:30 pm
Location: Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center
Registration required (adults) Come along as we explore neighborhoods within the 49-63 Neighborhood Coalition just south of the Discovery Center. Covering roughly 2.5 miles, this moderately paced and hilly hike will utilize sidewalks to explore nature in these neighborhoods. During the hike we will discuss native and invasive plants, wildlife ID, hiking safety and other great urban hikes. The instructor will e-mail the exact meeting location to the participants the week prior to the hike. If accommodations are needed, please e-mail the instructor after registering and at least one week prior to the program.
Registration period: July 1 - July 30
Date: Saturday, July 30, 2022 8:00 am - Saturday, July 30, 2022 5:00 pm
Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center
Put on your hiking shoes and join us for a guided hike of Deer Run Trail at Onondaga State Park (Crawford County); 2.5 miles – moderate plus approximately one-half mile cave tour. Bring jacket or light coat for the cave tour. Meet at the Runge Nature Center or the trailhead. Some transportation is provided, but carpooling may be necessary. Hike leaders will contact participants before the hike to give directions if needed. Wear sturdy shoes, dress for the weather, bring a water bottle, and pack a lunch/snack. Registration required. Ages 18+
Registration period: July 15 - August 3
Date: Wednesday, August 3, 2022 7:00 pm - Wednesday, August 3, 2022 8:30 pm
Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center
Hiking at dusk can transform even a familiar Runge trail into a new adventure. Join a naturalist to explore the world that comes alive when we are typically getting ready for bed! Please wear comfortable walking shoes. Registration required. All ages
Registration period: June 6 - August 7
Date: Monday, August 15, 2022 1:00 pm - Monday, August 15, 2022 3:00 pm
Location: Warrenton Pool Park

Backpacking is an excellent way to exercise and enjoy nature!

Join us for Backpacking Basics to learn what and how to pack for a hiking adventure as well as what features to look for in a backpack, fun places to explore in Missouri and important planning procedures.

Registration period: August 1 - August 17
Date: Wednesday, August 17, 2022 8:00 am - Wednesday, August 17, 2022 5:00 pm
Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center
Grab your hiking stick and join a guided hike at Clifty Creek and Painted Rock Conservation Areas (Maries and Osage Counties); 4 miles-easy/moderate. Meet at the Runge Nature Center or the trailhead. Some transportation is provided but carpooling may be necessary. Hike leaders will contact participants before the hike to give directions if needed. Wear sturdy shoes, dress for the weather, bring a water bottle, and pack a lunch/snack. Registration required. Ages 18+
Registration period: July 1 - August 14
Date: Saturday, August 20, 2022 2:00 pm - Saturday, August 20, 2022 4:00 pm
Location: Shaw Nature Reserve

Backpacking is an excellent way to exercise and enjoy nature!

Join us to learn what and how to pack for a hiking adventure as well as what features to look for in a backpack, fun places to explore in Missouri and important planning procedures.

Registration period: June 1 - August 23
Date: Tuesday, August 23, 2022 6:00 pm - Tuesday, August 23, 2022 7:30 pm
Location: Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center
Registration required (adults) Grab your walking shoes and get ready for a leisurely stroll through the tree lined streets of Calvary, Forest Hill and Rose Hill cemeteries. Covering roughly two miles, this slow-paced hike will utilize cemetery roads and some sidewalks as we discover the beautiful trees of the area. During the hike we will discuss native and non-native trees and the threats to them, wildlife that rely on trees, hiking safety and other great urban hikes. The instructor will e-mail the exact meeting location to the participants the week prior to the hike. If accommodations are needed, please e-mail the instructor after registering and at least one week prior to the program.
Registration period: August 1 - August 27
Date: Saturday, August 27, 2022 8:00 am - Saturday, August 27, 2022 5:00 pm
Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center
Put on your hiking shoes and join us for a guided hike of Deer Run Trail at Rock Bridge State Park (Boone County); 3.5 miles – easy. Meet at the Runge Nature Center or the trailhead. Some transportation is provided, but carpooling may be necessary. Hike leaders will contact participants before the hike to give directions if needed. Wear sturdy shoes, dress for the weather, bring a water bottle, and pack a lunch/snack. Registration required. Ages 18+
Registration period: August 1 - September 27
Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2022 6:00 pm - Tuesday, September 27, 2022 7:30 pm
Location: Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center
Registration required (adults) Fall is here! Grab your walking shoes and get outside with our urban hike through historic NE Kansas City. Covering roughly 2.5 miles, this moderately paced hike will utilize sidewalks to explore nature in this older neighborhood. During the hike we will discuss native and invasive plants, wildlife ID, hiking safety and other great urban hikes in KC. The instructor will e-mail the exact meeting location to the participants the week prior to the hike. If accommodations are needed, please e-mail the instructor after registering and at least one week prior to the program.
Registration period: August 1 - October 22
Date: Saturday, October 22, 2022 9:00 am - Saturday, October 22, 2022 3:00 pm
Location: Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center
Registration required (adults) Fall is the perfect time to explore the city by foot. Our day-long thru hike will cover roughly seven miles from the Discovery Center through the Brookside and Waldo neighborhoods. This moderately paced hike will utilize sidewalks to explore nature in these older neighborhoods. During the hike we will discuss native and invasive plants, wildlife ID, hiking safety and other great urban hikes in KC. The instructor will e-mail the exact hike details to the participants the week prior to the hike. Lunch will be on your own at one of the area restaurants along our hike. If accommodations are needed, please e-mail the instructor after registering and at least one week prior to the program.