WINONA, Mo. – Now is a great time to hike a trail in the Ozarks. A lack of tree leaves and undergrowth makes it easier to see wildlife and natural formations. Plus, ticks and chiggers aren’t a problem.
On March 14, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) invites people to enjoy beautiful southern Missouri scenery and learn more about area habitats by taking a 6.5-mile guided hike on part of the Ozark Trail in Shannon County. This free event, “Hiking the Ozark Trail: Peck Ranch to Klepzig Mill,” will be 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Hikers will trek from a trailhead in MDC’s Peck Ranch Conservation Area to Klepzig Mill, an old mill surrounded by a shut-in canyon within the Ozark National Scenic Riverway.
The hike will also pass through the Stegall Mountain Glade area and the Buzzard Mountain Shut-ins. Hikers will learn about glade ecology and management, the geology of the Ozark Hills and the culture and history of the area.
“The Ozark Trail traverses through such a wide variety of habitats and ecosystems within Missouri,” said MDC Conservation Education Consultant Mary Beth Factor, who will be one of several MDC staff leading the hike. “This section is one of my favorites because of the picturesque views of Buzzard Mountain and the shut-ins around Klepzig Mills, as well as the views of the Stegall Mountain Glades. It’s the perfect Ozark hike.”
People can register for this event at mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/172291. More information about this event can be obtained by calling Factor at 417-255-9561, ext. 4755 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participants should be prepared to hike varied terrain, including a half-mile portion of a relatively steep slope. Participants need to bring a sack lunch, a refillable water bottle, comfortable backpack, snacks, and a walking stick (if needed). People will meet at the Peck Ranch Conservation Area Office, which is five miles east of Winona on Highway H, then turn on gravel road (marked by a directional sign for Peck Ranch Conservation Area) and go seven miles east to the area office. From there, hikers will be shuttled to the Peck Ranch Trailhead. At the hike’s conclusion, people will be shuttled from Klepzig Mill back to their cars.
People can learn about other events in MDC’s Ozark Region by calling 417-256-7161 or by going to mdc.mo.gov/ozarkevents.