Missouri Birding Locations - Best Places in Missouri to see the Peregrine Falcon

Missouri Birding Locations | Best Places for Bird Watching in Missouri
Bird Watching Areas in Missouri near St. Louis

If you are a dedicated Missouri Bird Watcher and want to see much more than the garden variety backyard bird, we recommend these places in the Missouri Ozarks as the best places to Go MO Bird Watching in our region.  We recommend birding in Missouri State Parks, Missouri Conservation and Wilderness Areas, the Ozark Trail and Mark Twain National Forest, all within minutes of each other, in our beautiful region in Iron and Reynolds County Missouri. Come for a week or a weekend bird watching vacation! Go birding in MO!  Located near St. Louis (only 80 miles away) in the Arcadia Valley Region and Black River Recreation Area, you will be dazzled by the beautiful scenery of the area and the abundant Missouri outdoor recreational opportunities available so close together. 

Bird Watching - Missouri State Parks and the Ozark Trail

The Ozark Trail - Bird Watching
The Ozark Trail is a part of 28 year-old vision to build a scenic and varied route through the Missouri Ozarks, stretching from the St. Louis metropolitan area southwestward to the Arkansas border. To date over 300 miles of trails have been completed in Missouri.  (The five miles of the Ozark Trail that passes through the Johnson's Shut-ins is closed at this time, however, the remainder of the Taum Sauk section of the Ozark trail is open)-- The sections of the Ozark Trail in our region of Iron and Reynolds county include:  the Blair Creek Section, the Karkaghne Section, the Marble Creek Section, the Taum Sauk Section, the Middle Fork Section and the Trace Creek Section.  The Ozark Trail offers everything from mountains, knobs and hills dotted with caves and igneous glades and scattered with hardwood forests and stands of pines—to beautiful valleys filled with clear, meandering streams fed by sparkling springs and an abundance of birds, wildflowers and wildlife.  Hike the Ozark Trail and enjoy the magnificence and splendor of this ancient treasure trove of natural beauty.  See more information about the Ozark Trail and find links to Ozark Trail lodging, accommodations, cabins, cottages, motels, bed and breakfast inns and campgrounds.

Taum Sauk Mountain State Park - Bird Watching
Go bird watching in Taum Sauk Mountain State Park and experience the highest mountain in Missouri, Mina Sauk Falls, the highest waterfall in Missouri and Devil's Tollgate.  Just park in the lot of Taum Sauk Mountain State Park and walk a mere 1,000 feet on a paved path to Missouri’s highest point. Here, an elevation marker sits, guiding visitors to the mountain’s 1,772 foot summit.  The park provides 7,448 acres of solitude amid unspoiled land with a wilderness quality hard to find in today's world.  Taum Sauk provides the perfect Missouri Birdwatching location.  Read more about the magic and the legend of Taum Sauk Mountain with links to lodging and accommodations near Taum Sauk Mountain State Park.

Elephant Rock Missouri State Park - Bird Watching
Imagine giant granite rocks standing end-to-end like a train of circus elephants. That's what you'll see at Elephant Rocks State Park.  There is no record of the actual number of “elephants” inhabiting the park. Old ones erode away and new elephants wait beneath the cracks and joints of the granite hillside. The park’s pink patriarch, Dumbo, is 27 feet tall, 35 feet long and 17 feet wide, weighing in at a colossal 680 tons!  It's an exciting place to go bird watching in Missouri.  The park has over 131 acres. This acreage has been designated as a Missouri Natural Area and will be protected from further development. Read comprehensive information and find lodging and accommodations for Elephant Rocks State Park as well as spectacular photographs of the park at www.missouri-vacations.com.

Johnson's Shut-ins State Park - Bird Watching

The origin of Johnson's Shut-ins State Park began 1.5 billion years ago. In low places, the swift Black River became shut-in by the hard igneous rocks, swirling and churning to form huge potholes, and breaking away the weaker rock to create natural water slides and canyon-like gorges. This immense natural playground is the primary feature of the 180-acre Johnson’s Shut-Ins Natural Area, which is only a portion of the 8,549-acre Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park.
This magnificent natural area is a bird watching paradise.  To read much more about Johnson's Shut-ins and the recovery efforts after the breach of the Ameren UE Hydroelectric Plant dam in 2005, please visit this site where you will also find links to lodging and accommodations near Johnson's Shut-ins.

Mina Sauk Falls at Taum Sauk Mountain State Park
Devil's Tollgate at Taum Sauk Mountain State ParkElephant Rocks State Park Bird WatchingFun at Elephant Rocks in MO

Missouri Bird Watching - Mark Twain National Forest in MO

Our St. Francois Mountain section of the Mark Twain National Forest is known for its clear spring-fed rivers and streams, lakes, rocky bluffs, pastoral views and shaded trails. The Forest provides a wonderful opportunity for spotting many of the over 400 bird species in Missouri due to the natural and constantly evolving habitat.  The forest gets a variety of visitors through the year including spring and fall, when color changes the forest. In the spring, serviceberry, redbuds and dogwoods paint the winter landscape in pinks and whites. In the fall starting mid September, the oak hickory forest transforms from greens to yellows, peaches, reds, burgundies and dark purples.  The following areas within the Mark Twain National Forest are some of the best for Missouri birding.

Bell Mountain Wilderness Area and Trail - For experienced hikers who love bird watching
This rugged wilderness was named for the highest peak in the area, Bell Mountain (elevation: 1702) and was designated by the United States Congress in 1980 as a federally protected and preserved area which “generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable…” Popular for experienced hikers and equestrians, there are 9027 acres with tall peaks, Shut-in Creek and a spring-fed stream with several gorges along its course. Gnarled blackjack and post oak, black hickory, and a few winged elms are found in the harsh environment of the granite glades within the Wilderness. Pileated woodpeckers, wood thrush and ovenbirds are abundant. White tailed deer, wild turkeys and squirrels can be found. There are 14 miles of designated trails established for hikers and equestrian use within the wilderness. For more information, directions and links to lodging, accommodations and campgrounds near Bell Mountain Wilderness Area click here.

Sutton Bluff Recreation Area - Bird Watching
Sutton Bluff is a wonderful place for Missouri bird watching, hiking, picnicking, mountain biking, and swimming. watching. The Black River curls around the 35 campsites that are available and the Ozark Trail passes nearby. Water and toilet facilities are also available at Sutton Bluff Campground.  Sutton Bluff is named for R. G. Sutton, who settled this valley in Reynolds County along the west fork of the Black River in 1888. Three generations of Suttons farmed the river bottoms below the impressive bluff. The best times for bird watching at Sutton Bluff are during the off season from fall through spring as there are fewer visitors to the recreation area.  For more information, directions and links to lodging, accommodations and campgrounds near Sutton Bluff Recreation Area click here.

Crane Lake Conservation Area and Trails - Bird Watching
This clear blue 100 acre lake was formed by impounding Crane Pond Creek with an earth fill dam at the upstream end of a “shut-ins” or narrow gorge cut in the granite bedrock. Watch for aquatic birds and raptors as you picnic along the lakeshore, fish from the gentle banks, or canoe the waters and hike the coves. This peaceful retreat is a joy for bird watching.  For more information, directions and links to lodging, accommodations and campgrounds near Crane Lake Conservation Area click here.

Marble Creek Recreation Area and Trail - Bird Watching
Visit the peaceful oasis of Marble Creek Recreation Area where you can relax and go bird watching among the deposits of pink dolamite native to the St. Francois Mountain range. Take a break and swim in an the old mill pool where the creek that now rushes 20 miles through the rugged mountains, was once harnessed to power an old grist mill. A reminder of the past, the concrete remains of the grist mill dam and building foundation, although crumbling, are still visible. Prior to 1935, the colored dolamites were mined as "Taum Sauk Marble" used in the building trades. Enjoy picnicking or go wade-fishing for smallmouth bass and panfish. Go hiking, biking or horseback riding! For more information, directions and links to lodging, accommodations and campgrounds near Marble Creek Recreation Area click here.

Council Bluff Lake Recreation Area and Trail - Bird Watching
Combine excellent bird watching opportunities with other wonderful outdoor recreation at the largest lake in the Mark Twain National Forest.   Council Bluff Lake Recreation Area and Trail serves anglers, campers, picnickers, hikers, bicyclists and swimmers as well. Fish year round in this 440 acre lake stocked with large mouth bass, redear sunfish, bluegill, crappie and catfish. Picnic or swim at the 54,000 sq. foot sand beach. At Chapel Hill Beach there is a concession stand, changing rooms, flush toilet, water fountains and showers. There is also a small play area near the beach. Additionally, there are canoes and paddle boats available for rent when the beach is open. Council Bluff Trail is a 12-mile loop along the lake shore providing hiking and mountain biking opportunities. See more information, directions and lodging, accommodations and campgrounds near Council Bluff Lake Recreation Area and Trail.

These are just a few of the best Missouri Bird Watching locations in Iron and Reynolds County Missouri near St. Louis.  For other great birding opportunities in the region, please see these
Missouri Conservation Areas, Missouri State Forests and Wilderness Areas

To learn even more about the "Outdoor Recreation Capital of Missouri" visit

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