Weldon Spring Conservation Area

Driving Directions

Accessible from several parking areas along Highway 94, south of Interstate 64.

Highlights

This is a mostly forested area with pasture, cropland, and some wetlands and glades.

Facilities/features: boat ramp (on the river), hiking trails, fishable lakes and ponds (51 acres total), and a permanent stream (Missouri River).

Weldon Spring Hollow Natural Area features 385 acres of upland and bottomland forest, and rugged riverbreaks topography. Other features include limestone cliffs and bluff escarpments.

Katy Trail State Park, a hiking and bicycle trail, passes through the area. There is also Hamburg Trail, which links the Katy Trail to the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area. 

About This Area

Weldon Spring Conservation Area is in St. Charles County, near the town of Weldon Spring. The area is named after John Weldon, who came to this region in 1796 with a Spanish Land Grant for 425 acres. This acreage included the spring after which Weldon Spring is named.

During World War II, the federal government acquired almost 17,000 acres in the area for the construction of a munitions plant. In 1948, all of the property, except the munitions plant, was given to the University of Missouri for an agricultural experiment station. The original purchase by the Conservation Department from the University of Missouri was in 1978 for 7,230 acres. The current acreage for Weldon Spring Conservation Area is 8,398.

The acreage is divided into a very diverse array of habitats and natural features. The floods of 1993 and 1995 deposited sand over almost 1,000 acres of agricultural fields. This unique habitat provides almost 1,000 acres of valuable breeding, foraging, and nesting habitat for a variety of birds as well as habitat for other wildlife and invertebrate species.

The Weldon Spring Hollow Natural Area is 385 acres of upland and bottomland forest and rugged river breaks topography. Natural features include limestone cliffs and bluff escarpments. Another notable resource which is accessible from the Weldon Spring Conservation Area is the Katy Trail State Park. It passes through Weldon Spring Conservation Area and parallels the Missouri River for 5.3 miles.

Portions of the Weldon Spring Conservation Area were used by the Department of Army in the 1940's for TNT and DNT production and by the Atomic Energy Commission in the 1960's for uranium ore processing. The affected portions were all part of a federal environmental cleanup project and required to meet certain environmental health and safety standards. The area is now considered safe for all recreational pursuits allowed on the area, as well as the wildlife found within the area.

To find out more about the history of these activities on the area, you can visit the Weldon Spring Site Interpretive Center located at 7295 Highway 94 South, St. Charles, MO, 63304. 

General Information

St. Louis

Saint Charles

636-441-4554

Owned by MDC,Agreement

  • The Weldon Spring Conservation Area Darst Bottom Tract is isolated from the main portion of the Weldon Spring Conservation Area. Access to this area is by river only. Scroll down to the second page on the map link for details.
  • A portion of the Katy Trail State Park runs through the Weldon Spring Conservation Area.

Activities
Activity
(Activity Explanations)
Comments
(Population Definition)
Bicycling  On Lost Valley, Katy, Busch Greenway, and Hamburg Trails only. Katy Trail can be accessed near boat ramp.  
Bird Watching  Excellent songbird viewing for forest and shrub-scrub species. Designated an Important Bird Area by Audubon Missouri. Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List.  
Camping - Boat-in along Missouri River  Camping is allowed by Missouri River boat travellers within 100 yards of the river between April 1 and Sept. 30.  
Fishing - Bass Good population.  
Fishing - Catfish Good population.  
Fishing - Crappie Fair population.  
Fishing - Other Good population. Missouri River and Femme Osage Slough fishing opportunities for carp, sturgeon, and drum. 
Fishing - Sunfish Fair population.  
Hiking  Excellent views of the Missouri River valley from the Clark and Lewis trails. 
Hunting-Deer Good population. Managed hunt. Deer regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Hunting-Dove Good population.  
Hunting-Rabbit Fair population.  
Hunting-Squirrel Good population.  
Hunting-Turkey Good population. Managed hunt in spring, apply in February. Fall turkey hunting is permitted under statewide regulations. Turkey regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Spring Turkey or Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Hunting-Waterfowl-Open Hunting Fair population.  
Trapping with Special Use Permit  By Special Use Permit only, contact area manager.  

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Boat Ramp - Stream - Concrete Weldon Spring Boat Ramp  Missouri River  
Parking Lot Prairie Lake Parking Lot   
Parking Lot   Parking lots located along Highway 94.  
Parking Lot Weldon Spring Boat Ramp Parking Lot   

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Features
Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Designated Natural Area Weldon Spring Hollow Natural Area 385.00 acres For more information, visit natural areas.  
Fishing Lake or Pond Square Pond 4.10 acres Fishing is prohibited during the area's prescribed waterfowl hunting season.  
Fishing Lake or Pond Fire Lake 4.00 acres Fishing is prohibited during the area's prescribed waterfowl hunting season.  
Fishing Lake or Pond Prairie Lake 24.00 acres Fishing is prohibited during the area's prescribed waterfowl hunting season.  
Fishless Pond  12 3.00 acres  
Other Femme Osage Slough 15.70 count Water surface area available for fishing and fish species are dependent on rainfall and river levels. 
Spring  2.00 # gallons per day  
Stream - Intermittent  3.00 miles  
Stream - Permanent Missouri River 2.80 miles Missouri River adjacent to Darst Bottom tract.  
Stream - Permanent Missouri River 6.00 miles Missouri River adjacent to main Weldon Spring tract.  
Stream - Permanent Femme Osage Creek 1.40 miles  
Stream - Permanent Little Femme Osage Creek 5.00 miles  
Stream - Permanent Fisher Creek 0.30 miles Darst Bottom tract  

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Forest and Woodland 6752.50  
Wetland 16.00  
Glade 20.00  
Lakes/Ponds 66.00  
Crop Land 744.00  
Other 500.00 Sparsley vegetated sand flats. 
Grassland (non-prairie) 300.00  
Total Area Acres:8397.79 

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Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
Lewis Trail (Difficult) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 8.20 
Clark Trail (Difficult) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 5.30 
Lost Valley Trail (Difficult) Multi-Use (Hike/Bike) 11.00 
Hamburg Trail (Easy) Multi-Use (Hike/Bike) 6.00 

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Shooting Range General Information

This area has no shooting ranges.

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