Monkey Mountain Conservation Area

Driving Directions

From I-29 Exit 67 north of St. Joseph, take Highway 59 west 4 miles, then Route U south 3.50 miles to the area sign, and County Road 325 east for about 1 mile.


This area has 800 acres of mostly forested bluffs above the Missouri River and 780 acres of Missouri River floodplain. This area also has stream frontage along the Missouri and Nodaway Rivers.

About This Area

Monkey Mountain Conservation Area is in Holt County, northwest of St. Joseph.  The Conservation Department purchased this area in 1978 to provide public land for outdoor activities in northwest Missouri. The United States Army Corps of Engineers has purchased an additional 560 acres adjoining MDC's area, as part of the Missouri River Mitigation Project. The mitigation project has been designed to enhance fish and wildlife habitat along the Missouri River. The area is managed through a cooperative effort between the Corps of Engineers and the Missouri Department of Conservation.

This area was called "Monkey Mountains," because early settlers deemed the river bluffs too steep for even monkeys to climb.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition opened up this portion of the state for settlement, when it passed along the southern portion of the area on July 8, 1804. Settlement began on a large scale in 1836. At that time about 20 percent of the county, primarily the steep slopes, was in upland forest cover, consisting mainly of bur oak, white oak, red oak, black walnut, American elm, hickory and basswood. The remainder of the land, mostly ridge tops and rounded knolls, was either grassland or open timber with an understory of native grass.

Monkey Mountain Conservation Area is managed for a wide range of game and non-game wildlife species. The area is available to the public for a variety of outdoor ativities. Management of the area includes farming, haying and prescribed burning, plus developing wildlife habitat by tree, shrub, and grass plantings and selective harvesting of timber.

General Information




Owned by MDC,Leased

  • Leased land is owned by the COE.

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bird Watching  Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List.  
Camping - Boat-in along Missouri River  Persons traveling the Missouri River by boat may camp on any suitable site within one hundred (100) yards of the river and moor overnight adjacent to camp but outside the navigation channel between April 1 and September 30  
Camping - Individual Campsites  Three camping areas. No amenities provided.  
Canoeing  On the Nodaway River (difficult access).  
Fishing - Catfish Good population. On Nodaway River 
Fishing - Other Fair population. Buffalo, Carp on Nodaway River 
Hiking  No designated trails 
Hunting-Deer Good population. Deer regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Hunting-Dove Fair population.  
Hunting-Pheasant Fair population.  
Hunting-Rabbit Fair population.  
Hunting-Squirrel Good population.  
Hunting-Turkey Good population. Turkey regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Spring Turkey or Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Camping Area - Individual Campsites    
Parking Lot    

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Fishless Pond  7.00 acres  
Stream - Permanent Missouri River 2.00 miles Walk in access 
Stream - Permanent Nodaway River 0.75 miles Walk in access. 

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Old Field 300.00  
Other 3.00  
Grassland (non-prairie) 274.00  
Savanna 40.00  
Forest and Woodland 500.00  
Crop Land 420.00  
Other 45.20 Roads and parking lots. 
Total Area Acres:1581.51 

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Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
No Designated Trails

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Shooting Range General Information

This area has no shooting ranges.

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