Columbia Bottom Conservation Area Trails

Loop • 8 mi • 0 ft

At Columbia Bottom, you can hike to the Confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, just downstream from the site of Lewis and Clark's 1803-4 winter camp. Columbia Bottom Conservation Area, purchased in 1997, is one of Missouri's newest conservation areas. Its 4,318 acres nestle into the elbow at the junction of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. The confluence of these mighty rivers is located just downstream from the site of Lewis and Clark's 1803-4 winter camp near Wood River, where their party rested and made preparations for their historic two-year adventure. One of the Department of Conservation's goals in managing Columbia Bottoms is restoration of the area to resemble its appearance at the time of Lewis and Clark's journey. A variety of habitats are being developed, including wetlands, marshes, sloughs, river-bottom forest, and bottomland prairie. Scenery: Wetland prairies, riverside forest, views of Mississippi River.
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Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Spanish Lake
Length: 8 total miles
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 1 - 3 hours
Season: Year-round, best spring and fall
Other Uses: Pets on leash
Local Maps: USGS Columbia Bottom
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Recent Trail Reviews


For the record, not all trails here are year round. I got halfway around Heron Lake before I saw the sign saying it was not open to the public from October through April 15. It was clearly posted at the start of the trail, but I missed it. Oops. That said, it's an easy flat walk with a whole lot of water birds. More of a mowed area through high grass. I enjoyed it enough to go back, but it's not as much of a "backwoods" feel as I prefer. But quite pretty, with a sort of plainsy feel, and an easy 1.8 mile loop so good for a quick nature walk. Great sky views.

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