Three Creeks Conservation Area

Notice

At this time, all caves on Three Creeks CA are CLOSED for protection of bats from White Nose Syndrome (WNS) which was confirmed in Missouri in April 2010. No one may enter closed caves without a permit and WNS disinfection. WNS is a wildlife disease that has killed millions of bats and may be spread to new sites by bats and humans.

Driving Directions

From Columbia, take Highway 63 south 5 miles, then Deer Park Road west 1.75 miles.

Highlights

This area is predominantly forest. Many of the old fields containing mainly non-native species are being converted to native warm season grasses and wildflowers. Facilities/features: primitive camping, hiking, bicycle/horse trails, three intermittent streams (Turkey, Bass and Bonne Femme creeks), and Hunters Cave.

About This Area

Three Creeks Conservation Area is in Boone County (halfway between Columbia and Ashland). The area takes its name from the three creeks that run through the area: Turkey Creek, Bass Creek, and Bonne Femme Creek. The rugged forest features scenic bluffs, intermittent streams, geologic formations, and old eastern red cedar trees. Through the years, the area was treated like much of Missouri's land. The timber was grazed and logged and occasional fires swept through the area. Because of these practices, the land has suffered sheet and gully erosion.

Three Creeks Conservation Area was considered for purchase as a result of substantial public input and interest in protecting the general Three Creeks area from further urban development, which would destroy its appearance and natural features.

Moreover, Three Creeks Conservation Area was acquired to maintain and manage representative plant and animal communities and to provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities in an urbanizing region of central Missouri.

Much of the land in the general area was purchased by freed slaves following the Civil War. Generally, the tracts were small (usually 40 or 80 acre parcels). Land which could be seeded to pasture for grazing or plowed with a horse was farmed into the 1930's when many families could no longer support themselves on the small tracts of land. Many had to sell their property due to the economic conditions during the Depression. The reduction in the number of landowners has continued up to the present time. Seven identifiable house sites have been located on the initial 685 acres.

The forest was harvested heavily after the turn of the century and harvesting has continued on an occasional basis until the time of purchase by the Department. Frequent fires and grazing of the area were common practices until the last few decades.

General Information

Central

Boone

573-815-7900

Owned by MDC

 

  • At this time, all caves on Three Creeks CA are CLOSED for protection of bats from White Nose Syndrome (WNS) which was confirmed in Missouri in April 2010. No one may enter closed caves without a permit and WNS disinfection. WNS is a wildlife disease that has killed millions of bats and may be spread to new sites by bats and humans.

Activities
Activity
(Activity Explanations)
Comments
(Population Definition)
Bicycling  Multiple Use Trail will be muddy and susceptible to damage during wet periods. Please refrain from using bicycles and horses on the trails at these times. Near by, Rockbridge State Park has a trail hotline (573) 442-2249 to check when their trails are closed due to wet conditions. If conditions are too wet at Rockbridge State Parks to ride, it will also be too wet to ride on Three Creeks responsibly. 
Bird Watching  Good area for riparian and woodland birding. Designated an Important Bird Area by Audubon Missouri. Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List.  
Camping - Primitive Area  Camping along roads and parking lots permitted only during modern firearms deer hunting by deer hunters. No amenities provided.  
Camping - Walk-in/Float-in/Backpack  Walk in primitive camping year round except during modern firearms deer season.  
Fishing - Bass Fair population.  
Fishing - Sunfish Fair population.  
Hiking  Turkey Creek Interpretive Trail was upgraded in 2006. Interpretive trail brochures are available. Good hiking opportunities on both the Turkey Creek Interpretive Nature Trail and the Multiple Use Trail. 
Horseback Riding  Multiple Use Trail will be muddy and susceptible to damage during wet periods. Please refrain from using bicycles and horses on the trails at these times. Nearby Rockbridge State Park has a trail hotline (573) 442-2249 to check when their trails are closed due to wet conditions. If conditions are too wet at Rockbridge State Parks to ride, it will also be too wet to ride on Three Creeks responsibly. 
Hunting-Deer Fair population. During the November portion of the firearms deer season, trails are closed to ALL other uses except deer hunting. Deer regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Hunting-Dove Fair population.  
Hunting-Other  Special hunting provisions provided for the mobility impaired. Contact area manager or regional office for further information.  
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.  
Nature Viewing  Dramatic views of valleys of Bonne Femme, Turkey and Bass Creeks. Good spring wildflowers and spotty glades. Rocky streams.  

Go to Top of Page

Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Parking Lot    

Go to Top of Page

Features
Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Fishless Pond  1.00 acres  
Stream - Permanent Bonne Femme 3.00 miles  
Stream - Permanent Turkey Creek 5.00 miles  
Stream - Permanent Bass 1.00 miles  

Go to Top of Page

Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Glade 10.00  
Grassland (non-prairie) 180.00  
Forest and Woodland 1219.00  
Old Field 70.00  
Total Area Acres:1500.48 

Go to Top of Page

Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
Turkey Creek Nature Trail (Moderate) Hiking (Interpretive) 3.00 
Three Creeks Trail (Moderate) Multi-Use (Hike/Bike/Horse) 8.00 

Go to Top of Page

Shooting Range General Information

This area has no shooting ranges.

Go to Top of Page