Places To Go

Trail Guide

Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area

  • Trails: Two multi-use trail systems totaling 18 miles
  • Unique features: Shooting range, glade plants and wildlife
  • Contact by phone: (417) 882-6880
  • Detailed information: visit our online atlas, keyword "Busiek"

Hikers, bikers and trail riders find plenty of room to get away from civilization on this 2,500-acre area 18 miles south of Springfield. Start at one of two parking lots near where Highway 65 passes through the center of the area. These give access to the 10-mile East Trail System. Its network of primitive trails offers at least a dozen different possible loops of 10 miles of moderate difficulty through forest, woodlands, glades and along an intermittent stream. A parking lot at the east side of the area increases possibilities. The 8-mile West Trail System has moderate and difficult sections, with some switchbacks along a steep, gladey ridge near the center of the area. An unstaffed shooting range is just west of Highway 65. The most popular attraction is the creek near the central parking lots. Primitive camping is allowed by permit only. You might also want to take pictures of wildlife or the spare but beautiful glade landscape.

Find Fishing Hotspots Online

Use GPS technology to home in on fish.

For years, the Conservation Department has been creating fish-attractor structures in lakes. Until recently, anglers had to motor around to find these fishing hot spots. Now, maps online allow you to zoom in and access GPS coordinates for dozens of fish-attractor structures on southwest Missouri lakes. Map coordinates are available for fish attractors at Lake of the Ozarks and Thomas Hill Reservoir, too. For this and other fishing information, visit and click on the desired region at the bottom of the page.

Natural Areas Turn 30

These areas harbor nature’s diversity.

On May 9, Gov. Matt Blunt proclaimed 2007 Natural Areas year in Missouri. In three decades Missouri has set aside more than 180 areas to save the best examples of the state’s natural communities. Those areas, encompassing more than 60,000 acres in 74 counties, are a tremendous recreational resource. If you haven’t visited at least a few of these you are missing the best that outdoor Missouri has to offer. The departments of Conservation and Natural Resources cooperated to create the system and continue working together to preserve the state’s natural diversity. Other partners include the USDA Forest Service, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, Pioneer Forest and other corporations, nongovernmental organizations and individuals. Natural areas are excellent places to see wildflowers, birds and natural features such as waterfalls. For more information, see the links listed below.