Tarkio Prairie Conservation Area

Driving Directions

From Westboro, take Route C east 5 miles, then Y Avenue south 2 miles.


This area contains a 57-acre natural area featuring diverse prairie flora on glacial till soil.

About This Area

The area contains one of the few known high quality prairies remaining in the glaciated plains of north Missouri. It features a very diverse prairie flora on loess and glacial till soils.

Vast prairies once stretched across Missouri, dominating the landscapes of the five northwestern counties in the state. Atchison County was 83 percent prairie.

The French were the first to visit these extensive grasslands and call them prairies, their word for European meadow.

The Conservation Department, which is committed to protecting the state's remaining prairie heritage, purchased a 160-acre tract in 1985, added 400 acres to the area in 1995, and added another 80 acres to the area in 2003.

The area is available to the public for a variety of outdoor activities compatible with resource management. A portion of the area has been classified as a Missouri Natural Area.

General Information




Owned by MDC

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bird Watching  Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List.  
Camping - Primitive Area   
Demonstrations  Currently 10 acres of Remnant Prairie. Prairie restoration on majority of area through combination of selecitve cutting to remove woody invasion and control burning with additional prairie grass plantings using seed stock native to area. 
Fishing - Bass Fair population.  
Fishing - Catfish Fair population. Stocked channel catfish 
Fishing - Sunfish Fair population.  
Hunting-Deer Good population. Deer regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Hunting-Pheasant Fair population.  
Hunting-Quail Fair population.  
Hunting-Rabbit 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
Designated Natural Area Tarkio Prairie Natural Area 57.00 acres Contains one of few examples of dry-mesic prairie remaining in NW MO. For more information, visit natural areas.  
Fishing Lake or Pond  2.00 acres  

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Grassland (non-prairie) 300.00  
Old Field 120.00  
Savanna 40.00  
Lakes/Ponds 2.00 Ponds 2, 3 & 5 are fishing ponds. Ponds 1 and 4 are fishless.  
Crop Land 40.00  
Forest and Woodland 110.00  
Native Prairie 10.00 Remnant prairie 
Other 18.00 Levees, roads and parking lots 
Total Area Acres:640.00 

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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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