Places To Go

Trail Guide: Happy Trails in Buchanan County

  • Area Name: Mark Youngdahl Urban CA
  • Trails: Ridge Trail, .8 mile; Pond Trail, .6 mile; Marsh Trail, .7 mile
  • Unique features: Glade and prairie plants, 75 tree species
  • For more information: Call (816) 271-3100 or visit our online atlas, keyword "Happy".

Mark Youngdahl Urban Conservation Area is small compared to many other CAs, but this area in the heart of St. Joseph packs a lot into 85 acres. The area occupies one of the highest spots in St. Joseph and offers a commanding view of the surrounding cityscape. The Marsh and Ridge trails connect to form a 1.4-mile loop that passes through prairie and savanna plantings that are awash in color in the spring and early summer. They also meander through 20,000 planted trees representing 75 species. The Pond Trail circles a small wildlife watering pond. Wildlife you might glimpse include ducks, hawks, deer, foxes, raccoons, rabbits and a wide variety of songbirds. The Marsh Trail is covered with gravel. The Ridge Trail and the Pond Trail are asphalt-covered to make them wheelchair accessible. The area also has two pavilions with charcoal grills, picnic tables, a drinking fountain and men’s and women’s restrooms.

Fox Valley Range

Hone archery and rifle skills at this Clark County range.

Northeast Missouri residents can sight in firearms or hone archery skills on two Conservation Department ranges at Fox Valley Conservation Area in Clark County. This area off Highway NN northwest of K ahoka has a walk-through type archery range with two loops, one with targets provided. The rifle/pistol range has shooting benches facing earthen berms at 25, 50 and 100 yards. The ranges are in the central tract of Fox Valley’s three parcels. Neither range is staffed, and range use is free. For more information, visit our online atlas, keyword "Fox" or call (660) 785-2420.

Painted Rock CA

Made to order for photographers.

Photographers and history buffs find fuel for their passions at Painted Rock Conservation Area, 7 miles southwest of Westphalia on Highway 133. This wooded, 1,490-acre area is perched on limestone bluffs overlooking the Osage River. Wooden viewing platforms on the 1.6-mile Osage Scenic Bluff Trail offer panoramic views, including Bloody Island, where Spanish conquistadores are rumored to have buried golden treasure. Indian burial cairns date back as much as 1,500 years. Look for bald eagles, hawks or vultures soaring over the craggy bluffs where gnarled, thousand-year-old red cedars cling to life. Microhabitats ranging from spring-soaked valleys to baking glades host an array of animals and plants from lush green mosses carpeting stone outcrops to ghostly Indian pipes sprouting mushroom-like from decaying plant matter. Fishing, hunting and primitive camping in designated areas all are available on this area. For more information, call (573) 884-6861 or visit our online atlas, keyword "Painted".