Visitors Guide to
Cuivre River State Park
678 State Route 147
Troy, MO
636-528-7247


View of Missouri's farm country from atop Frenchman's Bluff

Accessible Parking Accessible Picnic Facilities Accessible Interpretive Exhibits Hiking Trails Scenic Views Wildlife Viewing Horseback Riding Trails Fishing Boat Ramp Accessible Camping Swimming Accessible Restrooms

About 500,000 years ago during a stage of the Pleistocene Ice Age, a continental glacier of depths ranging from 1 to 2 miles thick covered most of northern Missouri. The great pressures caused by the glacier created the gentle rolling hills predominate north of the Missouri River. The Lincoln Hills of northeastern Missouri were not as affected as much leaving a rugged landscape with forested hills that more closely resembles the Ozarks. Located at the southern end of the Lincoln Hills near Troy in Lincoln County is Cuivre (pronounced "quiver") River State Park. The park is one of Missouri's largest and most rugged parks with 6,394 acres of upland woods, riparian forests, limestone glades, tall grass prairie, savannas, and bluffs. These diverse habitats allow the park to support a vast array of native plant and animal life.  

Land in the Cuivre River area was acquired in the early 1930s for use as a federal recreation demonstration area. Local businessmen and civic leaders who wanted to bring a conservation project and jobs to the area convinced the National Park Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps to work on projects on the property. From 1936 to 1942 members of CCC Co. 3771 began building roads, small bridges, a rock picnic shelter, and several group camps. Many of these structures are still in use and have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1946 the property was transferred to Missouri's state park system.

Cuivre River State Park offers its visitors a wide range of activities. A staffed Visitor Center is located at the entrance to the park and includes interactive exhibits (photo left) on the area's geology, wildlife, and how the park was formed. Cuivre River State Park offers basic, electric and electric, water and sewer campsites, an equestrian campground, and a special-use camping area. Three group camps constructed during the CCC era are available for group rental and include cabins, a dining lodge and recreation areas. Lake Lincoln, a 55-acre reservoir built in 1965 (photo right,) is located near the campground and features a swimming beach and a boat ramp for non-motorized boats. The 55-acre lake is stocked with largemouth bass, sunfish, and channel catfish. Three picnic areas, including a historic CCC rock picnic shelter, are located throughout the park. From May through September park naturalists conduct nature hikes, a variety of interpretive programs, and evening programs at the campground amphitheater.

The park has two wild areas and three natural areas that provide hiking, backpacking, photography, and wildlife observation opportunities. Habitats in these areas feature native prairie (photo left,) sinkhole ponds, and woodlands. Big Sugar Creek is one of the finest undisturbed streams left in northeastern Missouri. This creek, which resembles an Ozark streams, runs through a bottomland forest of sycamore, bur oak, black walnut and hackberry and is home to several species of fish rarely found in northern Missouri. Cuivre River State Park has an extensive trail system, consisting of 18 miles of trails open to equestrian use and 20 miles of hiking-only trails.
The Missouri Audubon Society maintains a checklist for birds that can be seen at the park.
     
Visiting Cuivre River State Park
Visiting Hours:
          Day-use areas are open daily from 6 am to 10 pm, beach closes at 8 pm.
          Visitor center and park office hours vary depending on season and day of week.
               Check the official site for details.
There is no charge to visit Cuivre River State Park.


Directions: Cuivre River State Park is located off of MO-47 3 miles east of Troy off of US 61 or 10 1/2 miles west of Winfield Missouri off of MO-79 (the Great River Road.)

Learn more about the Troy, Moscow Mills, and Elsberry areas.


www.mostateparks.com - Official site of the Cuivre River State Park provided by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
 
Hiking at Cuivre River State Park
Big Sugar Creek Trail
3.75 miles
This trail is rated Moderately Strenuous  This trail traverses the northern part of the Big Sugar Creek Wild Area and the Lincoln Hills Natural Area, crossing two small tributary valleys of Big Sugar Creek. From “keyhole bluff’ along the southwest portion of the trail, you can look down on a section of the Ozark-like Big Sugar Creek. The northern part of the trail goes through open woodland, which is being restored to its original character by the use of prescribed burns.
 
Lakeside Trail
3.5 Miles
This trail is rated Moderate This moderate natural surface loop trail 3.5 mile follows the entire shoreline of Lincoln Lake. During the summer, a good display of wildflowers can be found along the trail, especially the western and northeastern portions. A connecting spur from the Lake Shelter also allows access to this trail. Three sets of stairs also connect this trail to the campground.
Blackhawk Point Trail
5.75 miles
This trail is rated Moderately Strenuous  The 5.75 mile loop trail begins and ends at the CCC stone shelter. The trail leads hikers to the top of Frenchman’s Bluff and Blackhawk Point. This point offers a remote and spectacular view of the Cuivre River Valley. The trail follows Frenchman’s Bluff for about three miles, offering scenic views along the route. This section of trail shares about three miles of Cuivre River Trail, which is open to equestrian use. The trail then returns to the Geode Creek valley and shares a section of the Hamilton Hollow Trail. Bicycles are allowed on this trail.
Blazing Star Trail
2 miles
This trail is rated Moderately Strenuous This loop trail crosses through a wooded creek valley, and enters an open expanse of tall grass prairie. It then alternates between wooded savanna and open prairie, until the loop returns through the creek valley and back up to the parking lot. A separate trail entrance connects the trail loop to the campground.  Summer and fall are the best times to see many of the wildflowers, while the tall prairie grasses reach their peak during the late summer and fall.
 
Cuivre River Trail
11.25 miles
This trail is rated Moderately Strenuous This trail is divided into north and south loops. The north loop is open for equestrian use. This loop traverses much of the Big Sugar Creek Wild Area, where you will encounter Sugar Bluff, bottomland forests, and a large wet weather spring. The south loop follows Frenchman’s Bluff offering great views of the Cuivre River valley. The trail heads back into the Big Sugar Creek valley, eventually leading back to your starting point. Keep an eye out for evidence of the CCC, several examples of its stone work exist along the trail as well as the quarries where stone was collected. Connectors offer more than four miles of additional trail. With these, the entire Cuivre River Trail offers 15.5 miles of multi-use trail.
Frenchman's Bluff Trail
1.5 miles
This trail is rated Moderate This popular trail follows Geode Creek for a short distance before winding up a hill and emerging on top of Frenchman’s Bluff. The 120-foot-high bluff composed of Burlington limestone offers outstanding vistas of the Cuivre River valley. After continuing along the bluff for approximately half a mile, the trail returns to the picnic shelter. This trail is relatively easy to hike, but care should be taken when on top of the bluff as the loose gravel can make your footing unsure.
Hamilton Hollow Trail
0.9 miles
This trail is rated Moderate This loop trail begins and ends near the stone picnic shelter that was built in the 1930s by the CCC. A wide array of spring wildflowers and some of the largest trees in the park can be found in Hamilton Hollow.
 
Lone Spring Trail
4.75 miles
This trail is rated Strenuous  This somewhat strenuous is named for a perennially flowing spring that emerges in the valley at the base of a ridge. The northern part of the trail loops through Northwood’s Wild Area and crosses Big Sugar Creek, a designated state natural area. The southwestern part of the trail goes through an open woodland that is being restored to its original condition by the use of prescribed burns.
Mossy Hill Trail
0.8 miles
This trail is rated Easy This natural surface trail, the same entrance and exit, splits to provide a half-mile loop, and crosses several wooden bridges. After traversing a wooded valley, the trail crosses Mossy Hill, an open woodland with luxuriant growths of mosses and lichen and several unique wildflowers.
Prairie Trail
0.3 miles
This trail is rated Easy An easy quick hike, this trail winds through the Sac Prairie. Sac Prairie is only a small remnant of what was once the vast prairies that once covered more than a third of Missouri before the arrival of European settlers.
Turkey Hollow Trail
0.8 miles
This trail is rated Strenuous This natural surface loop trail has steep grades and a wooden bridge. The first part of the trail passes through an old field before entering woodlands with many large oak trees. It then crosses a bridge over a small valley and loops around the point of a ridge before heading back. Turkey Hollow Trail is named for the wild turkeys that have frequently been seen in the area.
   

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