Tucker Prairie


Prairie Blazing Star
Designated as a natural area since
University of Missouri Columbia
Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia
Contact Phone

Points of Interest:

  • See the last sizeable remnant of Missouri’s “Grand Prairie” that once covered large areas of 10 counties in northeast and central Missouri.
  • Marvel at over 200 native plant species.
  • Look and listen for grassland birds including the dickcissel, Henslow’s sparrow, field sparrow, northern bobwhite, blue grosbeak, eastern kingbird, and eastern meadowlark.

Natural Features Description:

This prairie contains hardpan soil that means it contains a claypan that restricts drainage. During the winter and spring months the water table is often perched just a foot below ground on the flattest portion of the prairie. In the summer and fall this soil can become quite dry. Characteristic prairie plants found here include big bluestem, rattlesnake master, downy gentian, downy sunflower and prairie blazing star. The hardpan soil with its seasonal saturation supports populations of grassland crayfish whose burrows are used by northern crawfish frogs.

Access Info

Get off Interstate 70 at Exit 144 (Highway M). Head south on County Road 223 for 1.5 miles. Then head left (east) on County Road 220 for one mile. Then head left (north) on County Road 215 for 1.5 miles. The entrance is on the left side (west) of the road. Walk west into the prairie. A map and compass are recommended to explore this area.

Tucker Prairie sunset

Tucker Prairie sunset
Tucker Prairie sunset
Sunset at Tucker Prairie Natural Area

Indian Paintbrush at Tucker Prairie

Indian Paintbrush with a cloudy, storm-threatening sky in the background.
Indian Paintbrush at Tucker Prairie