Cuivre River State Park

The West Fork of the Cuivre River rises south of Benton City, Missouri, while its North Fork rises west of Bowling Green; these primary forks join north of Troy, Missouri, and the Cuivre River continues to flow southeast and then eastward to join the Mississippi.  Just east of Troy, Cuivre River State Park spreads across the Lincoln Hills, bisected by Big Sugar Creek, a tributary of the Cuivre River; the latter runs along the southwest edge of the Park, where it has eroded steep bluffs of Mississippian limestone.

Acquired by the Federal Government in 1934 and developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the refuge was initially managed by the National Park Service; in 1946 that Recreation Demonstration Area was signed over to the State of Missouri and has since become one of its largest State Parks.  Characterized by rolling, forested terrain, broken by lakes, prairies and stream valleys, Cuivre River State Park harbors karst features (springs, caves, sinkholes) that characterize much of Missouri.  Forty-two miles of trails provide access to the refuge, some of which are open to trail bikes and horseback riding.

Yesterday, as we arrived at the Park's Visitor Center (via Route 147 north from Missouri 47, east of Troy), a barred owl was calling from the adjacent forest.  On our hikes, which included the Frenchman's Bluff Trail, a portion of the Lake Lincoln Trail and a hike to the scenic Shady 80 Lake (in the Northwoods Wild Area), a variety of woodpeckers (pileated, red-bellied, red-headed, hairy and downy) provided a steady background chorus of calls and drumming, joined by the intermittent thump of falling acorns.  Unfortunately, as the afternoon temperature rose into the lower 80s (F), gnats became a major nuisance and, of course, we forgot the insect repellant.  Just another reminder that Midwest hiking is best enjoyed from mid October to mid April (a personal recommendation that I often fail to heed).