Places To Go

Canaan CA

Trail users of all types will enjoy a day at Canaan Conservation Area near Bland.

Pull on your hiking boots or load up your mountain bike or saddle horse. Nearly 10.5 miles of trails await you at Canaan CA in Gasconade County. The Department acquired this 1,435-acre area in 1980. In 2008, it opened the long, diverse multiuse trail, which serves hikers, bicycles and horseback riders, except during firearms deer and spring turkey hunting seasons. This trail has three loops, the last of which was completed just last year.

As you travel the multi-use trail, expect to encounter a great variety of wildlife. Apart from the usual deer and turkey, you’ll see birds and summer wildflowers as well. Look for the common yellowthroat in wetlands and along streamsides. In the area’s woodlands, you’ll see and hear summer tanager, eastern wood pewee, the Carolina wren, eastern towhee, yellow-billed cuckoo and great crested flycatcher. The pileated woodpecker and red-bellied woodpecker haunt the area’s forests, and grassland/shrubby areas are home to the eastern kingbird, field sparrow, American goldfinch, indigo bunting, gray catbird and red-tailed hawk. For a complete checklist of Canaan CA birds, visit mobirds.org.

Wildflowers will be most abundant in the open woodlands and fields. In August, those leaning toward yellow blooms, such as goldenrods, sunflowers, foxglove, sneezeweed, coreopsis, compass plant, prairie dock and black-eyed Susans will dominate. The area also features a scenic north-facing slope adjacent to Sulphur Branch and a glade/woodland complex.

A variety of management practices sustain the area’s rich natural diversity. In addition to establishing food plots for dove, deer and turkey, area managers have thinned some 30 acres in the northeast portion to improve the structure and quality of the dry woodlands there. A portion of the multi-use trail goes along the thinned area, and signs along the way remind viewers that the downed trees are a necessary part of creating the desired woodland condition.

Take note of the food plots and other habitat areas, and plan to return this fall to pursue fair to good populations of deer, dove, rabbit, squirrel and turkey during season.

Those wishing to camp can find campsites and trailer parking areas off Bock Road on the northern boundary.

As always, visit the area’s Web page (listed below) for special notices and to download the map and brochure before your visit.

—Bonnie Chasteen, photo by David Stonner

Recreation Opportunities: Birding, hiking, horseback riding, picnicking, hunting in season and primitive camping
Unique Features: This mostly forested area features primitive camping, two intermittent streams, a multi-use trail and two small ponds.
For More Information Call 573-884-6861 or visit mdc.mo.gov/a8106.