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Every week there are new marvels to look for in the outdoors, and Discover Nature highlights these attractions. The Missouri Department of Conservation’s Josh Hartwig brings us the stories of river otters, luna moths, red buds, and other actors as they take center stage in nature’s theater.You can hear Discover Nature, Mondays at 7:42 a.m. and 5:18 p.m.

Discover Nature: Best Places to Hike in Missouri

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MDC Staff
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View from the Trail through Time

Fall is a great time for hiking. The weather is cooler, the colors are changing, and our conservation areas offer many choices. Here are my top picks for fall hiking this year:

Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area near Kansas City has six hiking trails including disabled accessible. The Bethany Falls Trail winds through forest, limestone rocks and a glade. It was voted the number one hiking trail in the Kansas City area. The area is a prime destination for birdwatching and picnics.

Near St. Louis, Rockwoods Reservation offers seven trails covering 13 miles ranging from easy, disabled accessible to moderate, difficult and multi-use. The Limestone Kiln trail is a favorite that winds along a rocky ridgetop and features an old limestone kiln. The area is great for fall color and wildlife watching including deer, turkeys, fox, songbirds, chipmunks and more.

Caney Mountain Conservation Area in the southern part of the state offers the most expansive views in Missouri over Ozark mountains and balds. Two trails wind through the area and offer fall color, a creek, and rare wildlife like the collared lizard and Bachman’s sparrow. The area’s 20 miles of roads have many scenic overlooks for viewing Ozark vistas.

In mid-Missouri, the Osage Bluff Scenic Trail at Painted Rock Conservation Area offers breathtaking views of the Osage River and winds past a native American burial cairn.  The 1.6 mile single loop trail winds through forest with interpretive signs and two boardwalk vistas.  The area also features a glade, savannah, and lake.  This is a great spot for fall color and eagle watching.

Learn more about hiking in Missouri at MissouriConservation.org

Josh Hartwig is the host of Discover Nature and a media specialist for the Missouri Department of Conservation.
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