Big Creek Conservation Area

Driving Directions

From Kirksville, take Business Highway 63 south 0.50 mile, then take Highway 11 west 1.70 miles, then take Route H north 1.70 miles, and take Rainbow Basin Trail west 1 mile.


This area borders Thousand Hills State Park and provides the trailhead for the hiking/biking trail on the park.

About This Area

About 75 percent of this 1,064-acre area is forest, woodland or savanna.  The remaining 25 percent is made up of native grassland, old field habitat and food plots.

The west side of Big Creek is bordered by Thousand Hills State Park, which is managed by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

The Conservation Department manages the forest, fish, and wildlife resources of Big Creek Conservation Area to provide for public recreation and to protect soil and water quality. Management practices, including cropping, timber management and prescribed burning, are used to improve wildlife habitat.

General Information




Owned by MDC

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bicycling  Bicycling is allowed on the designated trail only, to access Thousand Hills State Park trail.  
Bird Watching  Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List. Designated an Important Bird Area by Audubon Missouri.  
Camping - Primitive Area  Camping allowed on or adjacent to area parking lots. No camping along roadways. No amenities provided. 
Camping - Walk-in/Float-in/Backpack  Except during firearms deer and turkey seasons.  
Fishing - Bass Fair population. Ponds 5,6,& 7.  
Fishing - Catfish Fair population. Ponds 5 & 6.  
Fishing - Sunfish Fair population. Bluegill in ponds 5,6 & 7.  
Hiking  Hiking is allowed on the designated trail that connects to the Thousand Hills State Park trail system. Access is from Rainbow Basin Trail parking lot.  
Hunting-Deer Good population. Deer regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Hunting-Rabbit Fair population.  
Hunting-Squirrel Good population.  
Hunting-Turkey Fair population. Turkey regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Spring Turkey or Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  

Go to Top of Page

Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Parking Lot    

Go to Top of Page

Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Fishing Lake or Pond Pond 5 0.50 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond Pond 6 0.50 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond Pond 7 0.50 acres  
Fishless Pond  3.00 acres  
Stream - Intermittent Big Creek 2.50 miles  

Go to Top of Page

Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Crop Land 30.00  
Savanna 270.00 Restoration project. 
Grassland (non-prairie) 225.00  
Lakes/Ponds 1.50  
Forest and Woodland 537.50  
Total Area Acres:1063.98 

Go to Top of Page

Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
Thousand Hills Trail (Moderate) Multi-Use (Hike/Bike) 0.70 

Go to Top of Page

Shooting Range General Information






"Available for Reservation by Law Enforcement Agencies".

Click Shooting Ranges for more information.

Go to Top of Page