Forestry Department, University of Missouri-Columbia
Points of Interest:
See a remnant of old-growth forest that would have been a common sight along the river bluffs of the Missouri River at the time of Lewis and Clark’s “Voyage of Discovery.”
Look for a variety of woodpeckers utilizing the abundance of snags and cavity trees.
Enjoy colorful displays of ephemeral spring wildflowers and fall tree leaves.
Natural Features Description:
Located on steep river hills terrain, this forest supports mesophytic tree species such as basswood, sugar maple, northern red oak, and white ash. Pawpaw and spicebush are prevalent even on upper slopes and some ridges due to deep loess soil deposits. Look and listen for the Kentucky warbler, Acadian flycatcher, red-eyed vireo and barred owl here. Ephemeral spring wildflowers such as bloodroot can be abundant. Many of these spring wildflowers have seeds that are dispersed by ants. The seeds of bloodroot for example have fleshy appendages that attract ants to bring them back to their nests for a food source. In the process some bloodroot seeds get “planted” by the ants.
From Columbia take Highway KK to Highway K towards McBaine. Park at the KATY Trail State Park McBaine trailhead parking lot (http://mostateparks.com/park/katy-trail-state-park). Head south and east on the KATY Trail walking or biking. Go for about 1.5 miles from the parking lot on the KATY Trail. At this point look for a stream coming from the hills to your east that crosses under the KATY Trail and empties into Perche Creek on the west. Walk along this stream up through Missouri Department of Conservation land into the natural area. A map and compass are recommended to explore this area.