Rocky Creek Conservation Area

Driving Directions

The Rocky Creek Conservation Area contains over 38,000 acres in the south and east parts of Shannon County. Major tracts can be accessed from Highway 19, Routes H, and E going south off of Highway 106. Additional tracts are located north and south of Highway 106 starting five miles east of Eminence, continuing to the Reynolds County line. Tracts vary in size from over 6,000 acres to 80 acres. Access to areas varies from paved roads to unimproved woods roads, to areas that are only accessible by foot. Detailed ownership maps are available from the Eminence District Office.


With almost 40,000 acres of public land, the Rocky Creek Conservation Area provides for a wide range of outdoor activities. These include nature viewing, bird watching, hiking, dispersed primitive camping, and, of course, many hunting and fishing opportunities.

Rocky Creek provides access to the Current River just south of the Highway 106 bridge near Powdermill and Owls Bend east of Eminence.

The conservation area is also home to a auto driving tour that explores a 1,300 acre pine oak woodland restoration project.

About This Area

The Rocky Creek Conservation Area is located in the Ozark Highland Section and the Current River Hills Subsection. The majority of the conservation area is in the Oak - Pine Woodland / Forest Hills Land Type Association (LTA). The remaining area is in the Eminence Igneous Glade / Oak Forest Hills LTA that includes Coot, Peter Mooney, Mill, Barnett, and Vance mountains.

The area is managed with a sustainable ecological approach to multiple-use management. RCCA is a forested landscape resulting from The Great Cutover around the turn of the century. Today woodlands are covered by mostly even age black oak, scarlet oak, white oak, hickory and some shortleaf pine. Although the conservation area is in the native shortleaf pine range, many pine sites have been invaded by other hardwoods species that are now past or reaching maturity.

The area also contains many springs, caves, and karst features that contain some of the rarest plants and animals in the state. The RCCA is the focus of ongoing natural community restoration projects in forest, woodlands, and glades. These projects are designed to improve the systems overall health and vigor and provide for a diverse range of wildlife habitat.

Management techniques include prescribed fire, exotic species control, planting, forest thinning and regeneration projects. Other areas are set aside for old growth type habitat where man will not have any influence over time.

General Information




Owned by MDC

  • All caves on this and other Conservation Areas are currently closed or restricted to public access. The fungus that causes White-nose Syndrome in bats was found in Missouri in 2010, resulting in the Missouri Department of Conservation’s White-nose Syndrome Action Plan that limits public access to protect bats. WNS can be spread from cave to cave by bats or possibly on the gear of explorers. Privately owned caves are not affected by this Plan.

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bird Watching  Rocky Creek is home to many forest interior species as well as seasonal neo-tropical migrants. Opportunities abound for quality bird watching outings on many interior forest roads and trails that traverse through different ecological land types. Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List.  
Camping - Individual Campsites  Camping in Blue Springs Fields Camping Area. No amenities are provided. 
Camping - Primitive Area  Camping is also allowed along trails, unless otherwise posted. No amenities provided. 
Camping - Walk-in/Float-in/Backpack  Allowed all year. 
Fishing - Bass Good population. Smallmouth Bass in Current River 
Fishing - Goggle-eye Fair population. In the Current River 
Fishing - Other Good population. Suckers in Current River 
Hiking  Parts of the Current River Section of the Ozark Trail are in east side of the Rocky Creek Conservation Area. Endless hiking opportunities exist throughout the area on forest roads and interior trails, as well as cross country for the more adventurous types. For a map see Ozark Trail.  
Hunting-Deer Good population. Excellent hunting opportunities exist over most of the conservation area. No permanent stands are allowed. Deer regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Hunting-Dove Fair population. Small acreages managed for doves including sunflower and millet plantings in the Blue Spring fields.  
Hunting-Quail Fair population. Quail populations are increasing in forest regeneration areas and other areas of early successional habitat. Rough terrain and thick cover make finding birds difficult.  
Hunting-Rabbit Fair population. Rabbits are found in areas similar to quail and the same challenges exist for both species.  
Hunting-Squirrel Good population. Both gray and fox squirrels are abundant over most of the conservation area. Forest interior roads and trails provide access for excellent hunting opportunities. 
Hunting-Turkey Good population. Next to deer hunting, turkey is the most popular game animal pursued on the conservation area. Depending on the brood hatch, turkey populations vary, but many opportunites exist for the dedicated hunter. Turkey regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Spring Turkey or Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Nature Viewing  Many forest roads and trails traverse the conservation area that provide opportunities to view deer, turkey, and many other birds and game species. 
Tours  Rocky Creek CA is home to a five mile auto driving tour that highlights forest management practices used in a 1300 acre pine-oak woodland restoration project. Participants can view from an automobile prescriptions including, shelterwoods, pine regeneration, and uneven-age management. Find details on the driving tour.  

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Boat Ramp - Stream - Other Blue Spring Launch  Undeveloped gravel bar boat launch. 
Camping Area - Individual Campsites Blue Spring Fields  Camping area near Current river. No amenities are provided. 
Fire Tower Coot Mountain Fire Tower   

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Designated Natural Area Mill Mountain Natural Area 40.00 acres Another 140 acres of National Park Service land is also part of the natural area. For more information see natural areas.  
Designated Natural Area Powder Mill Cave Natural Area 100.00 acres Area contains spring branch and gated cave in a 100 acre natural area. Unique area with good access. Cave has been mapped for over eight miles, the longest mapped cave in Missouri. For more information see natural areas.  
Fishless Pond  91 30.00 acres Many on the area, considered as wildlife watering holes. Provides habitat for frogs, salamanders, and other amphibians and invertebrates.  
Fishless Ponds Allen Pond 0.25   
Fishless Ponds Church Pond 0.30   
Named Forest Iron Stake 3687.00 acres Local name for part of the Rocky Creek Conservation Area so named for an old drill pipe (Iron Stake) stuck in the ground. 
Named Glade Open Hollow 103.00 acres High quality dolomite glade woodland complex with active prescribed fire regime. 
Named Glade Big Branch 410.00 acres State notable high quality dolomite glade woodland complex with active prescribed fire regime. 
Spring  20500.00 # gallons per day Characteristic of karst topography, many un-named springs can be found throughout the conservation area. Outputs vary, but provide an important source of water for many birds and mammals.  
Stream - Permanent Current River 0.10 miles Current River barely touches the area near Blue Springs Fields Camping Area. 
Stream - Permanent Rocky Creek 3.00 miles High Quality pennerial stream, name sake of the Rocky Creek Conservation Area.  
Stream - Permanent Thorny Creek 1.00 miles  
Stream - Permanent Bloom Creek 0.75 miles  
Stream - Permanent Little Bloom Creek 0.25 miles  
Stream - Permanent Little Indian Creek 0.75 miles  
Stream - Permanent Indian Creek 2.00 miles  

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Forest and Woodland 36148.00  
Old Field 22.00  
Savanna 160.00  
Glade 1907.00  
Total Area Acres:38354.42 

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Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
Ozark Trail (Difficult) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 9.00 

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Shooting Range General Information

This area has no shooting ranges.

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