Caney Mountain Conservation Area is in Ozark County, five miles north of Gainsville.
This 7,899-acre area is characterized by unusual geology, including the roughest parts of a precipitous range of hills. These hills are a remnant of an old elevated plateau that has been dissected by numerous feeder streams. From area roads, visitors can view numerous prominent peaks, including Bear Cave Mountain, High Rock Mountain, Morrison Knob, Long Bald, and Tater Cave Mountain.
The area also includes unique plant communities. Glades, savannas, forest openings, and old growth forest cover the rugged terrain along the small creek bottoms. Several of the state's rare and endangered species are being protected on the area.
Caney Mountain was a stronghold of the eastern wild turkey in Missouri, even when the state population dropped to less than 2,500 birds. The area was acquired as a turkey refuge in 1940, and A. Starker Leopold, son of Aldo Leopold, the pioneer of modern wildlife conservation, prepared the first wildlife management plan.
Prior to its purchase, the land had been repeatedly burned and had been subjected to open range grazing. The Conservation Department released 30 deer captured from what is now the Drury-Mincy Conservation Area here in the fall of 1940. This area then provided both deer and turkeys to restore populations in the rest of the state.