Horseshoe Bend


Big Piney River at Horseshoe Bend Natural Area
Designated as a natural area since
L-A-D Foundation
Missouri Department of Conservation – Ozark Regional Office
Contact Phone

Points of Interest:

  • Try your luck at fishing on the Big Piney River in a scenic setting.
  • Enjoy views of the Big Piney and its river valley from the trail along the hogback ridge.

Natural Features Description:

This hairpin turn in the Big Piney River has carved down through the Roubidoux formation sandstone on the ridges down into the Gasconade formation dolomite below. The Big Piney River supports a good fishery of smallmouth bass and other game fish. In addition to these fish species this river is also home to two unique darters, the bluestripe darter and Missouri saddled darter. These darters are found just in north flowing streams of the Missouri Ozarks and nowhere else. Along the river corridor keep your eyes peeled for a glimpse of the belted kingfisher. During the spring and summer a number of migratory and resident songbirds can be seen and heard.

This natural area is owned by the L-A-D Foundation (, 314-621-0230), which is dedicated to sustainable forest management and protection of exemplary natural and cultural areas in Missouri. Leo Drey, one of Missouri’s outstanding conservationists, began the Foundation in 1962. The Foundation’s properties also include Pioneer Forest, where sustainable forestry is practiced on more than 150,000 acres in the Missouri Ozarks. Missouri’s Natural Areas Program owes much to the pioneering work of Leo Drey and the L-A-D Foundation.

Access Info

From the Texas Co. courthouse in Houston go north on Grand Ave. 0.4 mile and continue north on Mineral Drive. After a mile turn left (west) on to Horseshoe Drive. Follow this for 1.5 miles to the dead end and parking area. A short 0.5 mile hiking trail follows an old road down to the river. Hunting and fishing are permitted.