Des Moines River Ravines

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Maidenhair Fern
Designated as a natural area since
09/25/1978
Acreage
40
County
Clark
Owner
MO Department of Natural Resources
Contact
Battle of Athens State Historic Site
Contact Phone
660-877-3871

Points of Interest:

  • Look for a wealth of spring wildflowers along the Snow Trillium Trail, including the rare snow trillium, the namesake of the hiking trail.
  • Being along the Des Moines River and not too far from the Mississippi River, a number of migratory warblers can often be spotted here.
  • Try your hand at identifying 30 different kinds of trees and shrubs.

Natural Features Description:

This is the only designated natural area in the Wyaconda River Dissected Till Plains ecoregion and protects a good example of upland forests developed on loess and till soils along the river hills paralleling the Des Moines River. These rich soils support a number of uncommon plants characteristic of rich forests - blue cohosh, spikenard, and white baneberry – along with more common mesic forest plants including wild ginger, bellwort, bloodroot, and Virginia waterleaf. Today the woods are much more silent than they would have been on the morning of August 5, 1861, when a Civil War battle occurred in the vicinity of the town of Athens, just downhill from the natural area.

Access Info

This natural area is within the Battle of Athens State Historic Site. From Kahoka, travel north on Highway 81 turning right (east) on to Highway CC. Follow Highway CC east until it enters the State Historic Site. Then head north on the park road to where it dead ends at the playground and picnic area. The Snow Trillium Trail can be accessed from here. Inquire at the park office for details.