Hickory Canyons Natural Area

Driving Directions

From Farmington, take Highway 32 east, then Route C north 3 miles, and Sprott Road west 1.50 miles.

About This Area

Hickory Canyons Natural Area is in Ste. Genevieve County, northeast of Farmington. Owned by the L-A-D Foundation, this 280-acre area is managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Defined by its box canyons and sandstone cliffs, Hickory Canyons NA harbors a number of unique plant communities, especially on the cool, moist cliff faces. These features support concentrations of partridge berry, various fern species and club mosses. In the bottoms grow spicebush, pawpaw, deciduous holly and numerous sedges.

The bottoms are defined by mesic sandstone forest, an uncommon natural community in Missouri. This forest is dominated by northern red oak, white oak, and sugar maple. There is also dry mesic sandstone forest along the upper slopes and around the trailhead. There, and also on the dry sandstone cliffs, are shortleaf pine, white oak, black oak, blackjack oak, scarlet oak, post oak, and mockernut hickory. Understory trees and shrubs on the dry sites include azalea, flowering dogwood, farkleberry, and ironwood.

Two short hiking trails offer good views of the area's distinctive bluffs and canyons. A one-quarter mile trail from the parking area leads to a steep-walled box canyon. Across the road from the parking area is a more strenuous, one mile trail that traverses the steep terrain through the sandstone forest. It also crosses a scenic creek in a few locations.

General Information


Sainte Genevieve



  • GPS Coordinates  N37*52.332', W090*18.136'

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bird Watching  Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List. Designated an Important Bird Area by Audubon Missouri.  

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Parking Lot    

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Designated Natural Area Hickory Canyons NA 980.00 acres For more information, visit natural areas.  
Other  0.00 count Largest known sandstone canyons in the State of Missouri 

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Forest and Woodland 280.00  
Total Area Acres:1094.34 

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Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
Hiking trail (Moderate) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 0.20 
Hiking trail (Moderate) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 1.00 

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Shooting Range General Information

This area has no shooting ranges.

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