Hickory Canyons Natural Area, Ste. Genevieve County, 280 acres
Cool, moist sandstone box canyons include cliff faces, overhangs, and waterfalls. Growing in this environment are plants which were once more widespread but now relicts in these shaded moist hollows. Some of the plants include partridge berry, club mosses, and ferns. Along the bottoms grows a mesic sandstone forest of northern red oak and white oak, and including spicebush, pawpaw, deciduous holly and numerous sedges. Further up the drier slopes are shortleaf pine, white oak, black oak, and blackjack oak with flowering dogwood, farkleberry, ironwood, and the occasional azalea underneath.
The public parking area provides access to two short hiking trails. The shortest is an easy one-quarter mile walk leading to a steep-walled box canyon and returning the same way. Opposite the parking area is a more strenuous one mile loop trail following more rugged terrain through the sandstone forest, down the hillside and along the scenic upper reaches of Hickory Creek before returning to the parking area.
This is a designated Missouri Natural Area. The site is owned by the L-A-D Foundation and leased to the Missouri Department of Conservation for management.
Hickory Canyons Natural Area is between Farmington and Ste. Genevieve. From Farmington go east on Highway 32 to Route C, turn left (north), then go about 3 miles to Sprott Road and turn left (west). Continue down Sprott Road about 1.5 miles to the parking area on the left.
For more information click http://mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/applications/moatlas/AreaSummaryPage.aspx?txtAreaID=7310