Caney Mountain Conservation Area


The Refuge (fenced portion of the area) will be closed 4/7 - 8 (all day), 4/16 - 5/6 (until 1:00 p.m. each day), 10/20 - 21, and 12/8 - 9.

Driving Directions

From Gainesville, take Highway 181 north 5 miles, then gravel entrance road west 0.50 mile to the area.


This area contains high quality forest, woodland, glades, and browse plots.  Facilities/features: firearms and archery ranges, Caney Mountain Natural Area (1,330 acres). Interpretive nature programs are held at various times during the year.

About This Area

Caney Mountain Conservation Area is in Ozark County, five miles north of Gainsville.

This 7,899-acre area is characterized by unusual geology, including the roughest parts of a precipitous range of hills. These hills are a remnant of an old elevated plateau that has been dissected by numerous feeder streams. From area roads, visitors can view numerous prominent peaks, including Bear Cave Mountain, High Rock Mountain, Morrison Knob, Long Bald, and Tater Cave Mountain.

The area also includes unique plant communities. Glades, savannas, forest openings, and old growth forest cover the rugged terrain along the small creek bottoms. Several of the state's rare and endangered species are being protected on the area.

Caney Mountain was a stronghold of the eastern wild turkey in Missouri, even when the state population dropped to less than 2,500 birds. The area was acquired as a turkey refuge in 1940, and A. Starker Leopold, son of Aldo Leopold, the pioneer of modern wildlife conservation, prepared the first wildlife management plan.

Prior to its purchase, the land had been repeatedly burned and had been subjected to open range grazing. The Conservation Department released 30 deer captured from what is now the Drury-Mincy Conservation Area here in the fall of 1940. This area then provided both deer and turkeys to restore populations in the rest of the state.

General Information




Owned by MDC

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bicycling  Numerous gravel roads and trails through the area also provide mountain biking opportunities. Bicycling allowed only on gravel roads and trails open to vehicle traffic. 
Bird Watching  Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List. Designated an Important Bird Area by Audubon Missouri.  
Camping - Individual Campsites  Zones 1, 2, and 3 have privies, fire rings, and picnic tables.   
Demonstrations  Glade and woodland restoration areas. 
Hiking  Two designated hiking trails in the Natural Area. Numerous gravel roads and trails through the area also provide nice hiking opportunities. 
Hunting-Deer Good population. Deer regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations. Please check for available managed hunts.  
Hunting-Squirrel Good population. Zone 2 and 3 are open to statewide regulations. Squirrel hunting in Zone 1 is permitted EXCEPT from September 1 thru November 30.  
Hunting-Turkey Good population. Zone 2 and 3 are open to statewide regulations. Zone 1 offers 4 Managed Turkey Hunts.Turkey regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Spring Turkey or Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations. All portions of the Area are open to statewide regulations for fall turkey hunting.  
Other  Field archery range in Zone 1. Black Powder range in Zone 1. 100 yard rifle range in Zone 2. 
Tours  With over 20 miles of roads that are open to the public, the Area offers excellent spring and fall foliage and wildlife viewing opportunities.  

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Camping Area - Individual Campsites   Camping areas include privies, fire rings, and picnic tables.   
Parking Lotaccessible  2 Gravel Parking Lots with a concrete pad. 
Viewing Blindaccessible   

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Designated Natural Area Caney Mountain Natural Area 1330.00 acres For more information, visit natural areas.  
Fishless Pond  40 77.00 acres  
Spring  17 17.00 # gallons per day Spout Spring-<30 GPS 
Stream - Intermittent  112 3.00 miles Caney Creek-3 miles  

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Crop Land 136.00  
Glade 1410.00  
Forest and Woodland 6153.00  
Old Field 200.00  
Total Area Acres:7898.87 

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Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
Long Bald Nature Trail (Moderate) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 0.50 
Spout Spring Trail (Easy) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 1.50 
Multi-use trail (Moderate) Multi-Use (Hike/Bike/Horse) 6.50 

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Shooting Range General Information


36*58' 56.8"N




1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset, unless posted otherwise.

Click Shooting Ranges for more information.

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