Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Young Conservation Area - Eureka, MO

For the first time since before Lena has been born, we have zero kids for the start of this week. Yes, you read that right, my kids are not with us the first few days of this week. Can I get a happy dance?! They are currently with my in-laws in Ohio where they are spending some quality time with grandparents and each other. Austin, Serenity AND Lena left for Ohio early Monday morning so Keith and I decided we would take advantage of these kid free days by going on a hiking vacation. 

Our final destination for hiking this short vacation is Shawnee National Forest in Illinois, but that isn't what today's hike share is about. 

After the kids left we decided to go and check out one of the local conservation areas near us that we had not been to yet. Young Conservation Area is located about 5 miles south of Eureka, MO and has two trails, the Labarque Hills Trail and the Taconic Loop Trail. We did both in the same morning. 

Getting to the parking lot of the conservation area is easy. We came from Eureka and parked in the first parking lot on the left.  Finding the trail head was not. The beginning of the conservation area is in a large grassy and overgrown field where a path has been mowed up until you hit the actual trail itself. When we arrived, we were unsure which way to go, so we went straight in front of us. It ended up taking us in a bit of a loop which had some pretty forest and greenery, but was not either one of the actual trails. It wasn't until it kind of looped around and met up with the other choice we could have taken for a lawn path that we realized the trail was there. 

Beautiful spider web we saw by the trail. 
The first trail you come to is the Taconic trail. It is the shorter of the two trails at 2.5 miles. We chose to pass this up and head on to the Labarque Hills trail which is 3.5 miles. While this is not a long trail, it isn't exactly easy. Be prepared for a longish, moderate ascent up the hill that left this pregnant hiker a bit winded. It was also a hot day, so I take that into account as well. The ascent was worth it as there are some beautiful views of the forest below. I should also add we walked through quite a few spider webs across the trail. There were so many Keith carried a stick to help knock them down. 

The descent back down is easy and you walk along the stream on the opposite side for a bit before crossing back over. Once you cross back over the stream, you follow the trail until you run  back into the Taconic trail. At this point we took the Taconic trail loop. 

The trail goes up a hill among some pines. The trail has a different look from the Labarque Hills trail. There are some open areas where you cross fields under electrical towers and then travel back into the woods. This occurs a couple of times. In the hot summer sun, this is not the most fun. We quickly finished this 2.5 trail and headed back out. We took the most direct route back to our car across the path mowed in the field. This is the path we should have taken from the beginning. It was extremely hot and sunny at the end of our hike. Luckily, we had packed a lot of water and made it back to our car before the temperatures got even hotter. 

I look forward to doing this hike some time in the fall or winter when it is much cooler. The spring would be nice as well, so we can see the wildflowers. 

If you are looking for something moderate with some nice views, I recommend Young Conservation area. 

Below are some more shots I took along the trail: 

Have you been on any great adventures recently? See you soon! 

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