Engelmann Woods Natural Area

Driving Directions

From Highway 100/Route T (St. Albans Road) junction in Wildwood, take Route T west approximately 6 miles. (St. Albans Road will go north off of Route T about 4 miles from Highway 100. Be sure to stay on Route T.)


This is a forest area. Facilities/features: old-growth forest with striking fall colors and spring wildflowers.

About This Area

For decades, Engelmann Woods has been preserved as one of the last examples of the old-growth forests that once covered the uplands adjacent to the Missouri River. The area's earliest protection began with private landowners, mainly Mrs. Oscar Johnson, who donated the forest to the Missouri Botanical Garden in 1942.

The Missouri Department of Conservation purchased Engelmann Woods in the early 1980s. It was designated as a natural area in 1983.

Historic features at Englemann Woods include the remnants of an old road and a cellar that marks the location of an early water reservoir used to refill steam engines traveling on the nearby railroad. The reservoir was rumored to be the first such facility west of St. Louis.

The richer forest communities of the natural area occur on north and east facing slopes where loess deposits are several feet thick. Dominant trees include red oak, white oak, white ash, basswood, and sugar maple. Some of the larger trees are three feet in diameter, 100 feet tall, and approach an age of 200 years. Pawpaw and spicebush are common understory shrubs of the bottomland forest communities. Interesting herbaceous (non-woody) plants include celandine poppy, maidenhair fern, puttyroot orchid, and white trillium. The drier west and south facing slopes are dominated by chinquapin oak and sugar maple at the canopy level with flowering dogwood and young maples in the understory. There are several American beech trees growing near the parking lot that were planted and are not native to this part of Missouri.

The drier sites historically consisted of more open woodland (more open space  between trees) due to the common occurance of wildfire. Some of these sites are in the process of being restored to historic conditions by thinning trees and conducting controlled burning. These activities will encourage many sensitive plants and animals to return to the site.

Wildlife found on the area include southern red-backed salamanders, white-tailed deer, pileated woodpeckers, migrating warblers and eastern chipmunks.

General Information

St. Louis



Owned by MDC

  • No hunting permitted.

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bird Watching  Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List.  
Hiking  The 1.50 mile Engelmann Woods Nature Trail winds through the area.  

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
Designated Natural Area Engelmann Woods 145.00 acres Outstanding examples of old-growth mesic and dry-mesic forest. Spring wildflower displays, dolomite cliffs, and fall colors enhance the area. For more information, visit natural areas.  

Go to Top of Page

Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Forest and Woodland 147.85 Old-growth forest and dry woodland 
Total Area Acres:147.85 

Go to Top of Page

Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
Hiking trail (Difficult) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 1.50 

Go to Top of Page

Shooting Range General Information

This area has no shooting ranges.

Go to Top of Page