Visitors Guide to
Pickle Springs Natural Area

Dorlac Road
Sainte Genevieve County, Missouri
573-290-5730

Gravel Parking Lot Hiking Trails Wildlife Viewing

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Pickle Springs Natural Area is a deep, forested gorge consisting of geological formations and plants that are found in few other places. Visitors will find examples of a sandstone glade, talus, forest, savanna, as well as a number of rare species of plants and animals. The area is noted for its blooming wild azalea (photo left) and wildflowers in the spring. According to local legend, the area is named after William Pickles, a settler from Illinois who owned the land until he was shot by a band of renegades during the Civil War. Pickle Springs and other area creeks flow into Pickle Creek, which in turn traverses into Hawn State Park.
 
 Designated a National Natural Landmark, Pickle Springs Natural Area features a 2 mile hiking trail maintained by the East Ozark Audubon Society in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation. This two-mile journey has an estimated hiking time of 1 hour and takes hikers past waterfalls, rock shelters, a double arch (photo right), towering bluffs, canyons and amazing rock outcrops. Wooden bridges along the trail aid hikers past troublesome spots. The moist soil in the canyons and along the creeks allows the growth of many ferns and rare plants, including cinnamon fern, maidenhair fern, hay-scented fern and club moss. A variety of woodland songbirds can be seen from the trail. Fence lizards, five-lined skinks, box turtles and leopard frogs can be found among the rocks in the summer.

Bird Watching
Pickle Springs Natural Area is listed on the National Audubon Society's Great River Birding Trail. They report that they found 73 bird species including 43 probable and 15 confirmed breeding species. Pine Warblers may be seen in summer as well as tanagers and other forest birds.
The Missouri Audubon Society maintains a checklist for birds that can be seen in this area.

Visiting Pickle Springs Natural Area
     Visiting Hours
          4 am - 10 pm daily
There is no charge to visit Pickle Springs Natural Area.


Directions: Pickle Springs Natural Area is located on Dorlac Road. Follow MO-32 west of Sainte Genevieve from the junction at I-55 past Hawn State Park to County Road AA. Follow AA about 1 mile to Dorlac Road and then about 1/2 mile along this gravel road to the parking lot at the trailhead.

GPS Coordinates
N  37°  48.093'
W 90°  18.112'

Learn more about the Sainte Genevieve area.
 
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