Rockwoods Reservation is in western St. Louis County. It was established in 1938 by a group of St. Louis businessmen headed by A.P. Greensfelder. Other gifts and purchases have increased the area to its present size of 1,880 acres.
Today, Rockwoods Reservation is operated as an area for conservation education, hiking, wildlife viewing, and other outdoor recreation. We encourage day-use by the general public, school groups, and organizations.
Rockwoods Reservation harbors a rich diversity of plant and animal life as well as springs, caves, and rock formations. Cool, moist, north facing ravines and lush creek bottoms contrast with the nearby arid, rocky ridge tops, and south slopes. The terrain is reminiscent of the Ozark hills and, indeed, many plants and animals found in hill country are also found here. Although located near metropolitan St. Louis, raccoons, opossums, turkeys, deer, fox, songbirds, chipmunks, and snakes are common here.
Projects to control invasive exotic plants and other management practices are used to maintain and increase the wildlife population on the area.
Rockwoods Reservation has a fascinating cultural history dating back to the late 1700s, when trappers passed through the valley on their way to sell furs in the new settlement of St. Louis. In 1800, Ninian Hamilton received a Spanish land grant and started a small farm here with his family. Hamilton Creek, which flows through Rockwoods, is named after him. Observant visitors will be able to find remnants of extensive limestone, clay and gravel quarrying.
Developers once attempted to subdivide the land for home sites, but the project failed because of the inadequate road system.
The Conservation Education Center contains exhibits and information about the forest, fish, and wildlife resources of Missouri. Programs are available by advance registration for school field trips and other organized groups. The area also includes about 13 miles of foot trails of varying length and difficulty.