Columbia Bottom Conservation Area


The River's Edge Trail is closed due to flood damage.

Columbia Bottom CA is accepting volunteer applications for the 2017 calendar year. Contact Colleen Scott at 314-877-6014 x4241 for more information.

Driving Directions

In North St. Louis County, take the Riverview Drive exit from I-270, then Riverview north about 2.50 miles to the area.


This area contains cropland, forest, wetlands, and old fields. There is a visitor center and office along with hiking and biking trails, interpretive sites and a boat ramp to the Missouri River. The unique feature of this area is the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, which can be seen from a viewing deck.

About This Area

Columbia Bottom Conservation Area is in north St. Louis County at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

The Conservation Department purchased this 4,318-acre area in 1997 to create an urban conservation area. The area includes a view of the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, more than 6.5 miles of river frontage, about 800 acres of bottomland forest and a 110-acre island.

A small town once known as Columbia and later St. Vrain, was located in this river bottom. It was shown on plat maps from the mid 1800s, but was gone by 1870.

A flood protection levee protects most of this bottom from minor floods. The great flood of 1993 overtopped this levee and flooded most of the area, depositing sand, and debris. The area will continue to be prone to occasional flooding.

The Conservation Department is managing Columbia Bottom to create a mosaic of bottomland habitats that includes shallow wetlands, bottomland hardwoods, prairie, and cropland. These habitats attract a wide variety of resident and migratory wildlife for the enjoyment of all of our state's residents and visitors.

There are public access facilities, including a Visitor Center, a series of educational Exploration Stations, roads, trails, a river access and a viewing area at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.

General Information

St. Louis

Saint Louis


Owned by MDC,Agreement

  • NOTE: Visitor Center open Wednesday-Friday 8am-5pm, Saturday and Sunday 8am-4pm.
  • The conservation area is closed to public use from one half hour after sunset until one half hour before sunrise daily except for authorized hunting and fishing and launching and landing boats.

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bicycling  Confluence trail is a 4.75 mile mostly paved hiking and biking trail.  
Bird Watching  Excellent opportunity for waterfowl and shorebirds in seasonal wetlands. Eagle viewing primarily in fall and winter. Designated an Important Bird Area by Audubon Missouri. Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List.  
Canoeing  Canoeing on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.   
Dog Training  Dog training prohibited during managed deer hunts.  
Exhibits/Displays  Series of "Exploration Stations" provide self guided interpretive opportunity. Exhibits and displays also available in visitor center. 
Fishing - Catfish Good population. Several places to access the Missouri and Mississippi rivers including a disabled accessible pier on the Missouri River. 
Fishing - Other Good population. Carp, buffalo, sturgeon and drum. 
Hiking  River's Edge Trail is a 2.75 mile primitive hiking trail and the Confluence trail is a 4.75 mile mostly paved hiking and biking trail.  
Horseback Riding  Equestrian use is permitted on the 7.8 mile designated horse trail (Madison Ferry Trail) from April 1 through August 31.  
Hunting-Deer Good population. Deer hunting is permitted only during managed hunts. Archery and shotgun and slug hunts are offered annually. Application period is July 1 - July 31. Deer regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Hunting-Dove Good population. Managed hunt first 7 days of season (application period July 1-July 31, contact 314-877-6014 starting July 1 each year to get an application card), statewide regulations from September 8 through the end of the prescribed dove season. Daily hunting card and non-toxic shot required.  
Hunting-Other Fair population. Rail and snipe hunting are permitted. Self check-in at visitor center will be required. Additional restrictions may be posted at visitor center. 
Hunting-Squirrel Fair population. For 2018, squirrel hunting is allowed from Jan. 1 to Feb. 15  and from May 26 to August 31 with the following conditions: Daily Hunting Permit required, Shotgun or Archery methods only, Non-toxic shot required, no hunting on or within 100 yards of any trail or road open to vehicular traffic.  
Hunting-Waterfowl – Morning Draw  Teal and early goose hunting will be allowed. Self check-in at visitor center will be required. Additional restrictions may be posted at visitor center.  
Nature Viewing  Nature and wildlife viewing are popular activities along the road system and trails. 

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Boat Ramp - Stream - ConcreteaccessibleMissouri River Access  Double wide concrete ramp on Missouri River near 3 mile marker. Ample parking and privies available at access site. 
Fishing Jetty/PlatformaccessibleDisabled accessible fishing platform   
Hunting Blind - WaterfowlaccessibleADA Blind Pool 3   
OtheraccessibleSlough Boardwalk   
Other Canoe/Kayak Access  Parking and short trail to Mississippi River.  PLEASE REMOVE LITTER FROM THIS PARKING LOT, TRAIL, AND RIVER ACCESS.  
Parking Lotaccessible 24   
Viewing BlindaccessiblePool 6 Boardwalk and Viewing Blind   
Viewing Deck/ToweraccessibleConfluence Viewing Platform   
Viewing Deck/Tower Viewing Platform  Elevated viewing platform that provides panoramic view of the conservation area. 
Visitor CenteraccessibleHoward and Joyce Wood Education and Visitor Center  Visitor Center is closed on Monday and Tuesday. Open Wednesday through Friday 8am to 5pm, and Saturday and Sunday 8am to 4pm.  

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Stream - Permanent Mississippi 2.50 miles  
Stream - Permanent Confluence of Missouri & Mississippi Rivers 6.50 miles  
Stream - Permanent Missouri River 4.00 miles  

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Crop Land 1900.00  
Old Field 100.00  
Forest and Woodland 1000.00  
Other 118.00 Infrastructure 
Wetland 900.00 Seven managed wetland pools and 3 opportunistic wetland pools. 
Grassland (non-prairie) 300.00 Native warm season grass and forb plantings. 
Total Area Acres:4316.25 

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Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
River's Edge Trail (Easy) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 2.75 
Confluence Trail (Easy) Multi-Use (Hike/Bike) 4.75 
Madison Ferry (Horse trail) (Easy) Multi-Use (Hike/Bike/Horse) 7.80 

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Shooting Range General Information

This area has no shooting ranges.

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