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Missouri State Parks

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USA Parks
Southeast Region
Indian Creek State Forest
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Indian Creek State Forest is a serene and picturesque natural reserve nestled in the heart of Missouri, renowned for its diverse ecosystem and exceptional beauty. Spanning over 4,185 acres, this forest boasts panoramic vistas of rolling hills, meandering streams, and vast woodlands. Home to a rich variety of wildlife, including deer, turkeys, and numerous bird species, it offers a haven for nature enthusiasts, hikers, and photographers alike. With its well-maintained trails, camping facilities, and peaceful atmosphere, Indian Creek State Forest promises a rejuvenating escape into the wonders of untouched wilderness.
History of the Area
Indian Creek State Forest, located in Dent County, Missouri, has a rich history. The area where the state forest is now was once inhabited by the Osage Native American tribe. The Osage were a large and powerful tribe that controlled a significant territory across what is now Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

In the early 1800s, European settlers began moving into the area, and conflicts between them and the Osage increased. The United States government forced the Osage to cede their lands through a series of treaties, including the Osage Treaty of 1808. As a result, the Osage were gradually pushed further westward, and the land came under the control of American settlers.

During the 19th century, the land that is now Indian Creek State Forest was mainly used for timber harvesting and agriculture. The rich soil of the area made it attractive for farming, and many settlers cleared the land and established homesteads.

In the early 20th century, concerns about deforestation and the need for conservation led to the establishment of state forests. Indian Creek State Forest was created in 1935, partly in response to the Great Depression. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a program created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was responsible for much of the initial development of the forest. CCC workers constructed buildings, trails, fire lanes, and recreational facilities, which are still enjoyed by visitors today.

Indian Creek State Forest has been managed for multiple uses, including timber production, wildlife management, and recreation. The forest covers approximately 7,918 acres and offers various recreational activities, such as hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping. It is known for its mixed hardwood forests, scenic beauty, and diverse wildlife.

Indian Creek State Forest continues to be an important natural resource and recreational area for the people of Dent County and visitors from across the region. It serves as a reminder of the area's historical significance and provides opportunities for outdoor recreation and conservation.
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1. Indian Creek Trail: This is the main trail that runs through the heart of Indian Creek State Forest, offering a moderate hike with an approximate length of 7 miles round trip. The path meanders along the banks of its namesake creek and offers beautiful views over waterfalls and rapids.

2. Pine Ridge Loop: A relatively easy looped route measuring around 3 miles in total distance, this trail takes hikers through dense pine forests providing ample shade during summer months while also giving glimpses into local wildlife habitats.

3. Wildflower Pathway: As suggested by its name, this pathway showcases Missouri's native wildflowers at their best from spring to early fall season on a gentle terrain spanning about two miles long making it suitable for beginners or those seeking leisurely walks amidst nature's beauty.

4. Oak Hollow Trail: An intermediate level hiking track stretching approximately four-miles-long; features include steep inclines leading up to panoramic vistas across forest canopies dominated by oak trees as well as opportunities for bird watching especially raptors like eagles and hawks soaring above treetops.

5. Cedar Bluff Overlook Track: This challenging five-mile trek leads you towards Cedar Bluff which provides breathtaking overlooks onto surrounding valleys below filled with cedar groves - perfect spot for sunset viewing after daylong hikes.

6. Fern Gully Way: A unique one-and-a-half mile walk where fern species thrive under canopy cover creating cool microclimate even during hot summers - great option if looking forward escaping heat yet wanting enjoy outdoors within woodland settings.

7. Deer Run Route: A three-mile journey designed specifically keeping animal lovers mind since chances spotting deer grazing open fields high here besides other mammals such squirrels rabbits often seen scurrying away upon hearing human footsteps approaching.

8. Waterfall Walkabout: A short but rewarding half-mile excursion ending at hidden waterfall tucked deep inside woods- ideal choice when short on time yet desiring experience tranquility offered by cascading water sounds amidst serene forest surroundings.

9. Bear Hollow Trail: A more challenging, six-mile trail that takes hikers through a variety of terrains including rocky outcrops and dense woodland areas where black bears are known to inhabit.

10. Eagle's Nest Peak Track: This strenuous seven mile hike culminates at Eagle's Nest Peak offering panoramic views over entire Indian Creek State Forest - not recommended for faint-hearted but definitely worth effort put in reaching summit especially during fall season when foliage colors peak their glory.

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Area Campgrounds
Discovery Ministries
HC 3 Box 32
Eminence, MO
Eminence Canoes, Cottages
Highway 19 North
Eminence, MO

Indian Creek State Forest is located in Dent County, Missouri. To reach the forest from St. Louis, follow I-44 W for approximately 100 miles until you reach Exit 179B toward Rolla/Salem on US-63 N.

Continue driving north on US-63 for about 18 miles and then take a slight right onto MO-D/State Hwy D towards Salem/Montauk State Park. Follow this road for around 6 miles until you see signs indicating Indian Creek State Forest.

If coming from Springfield or Joplin, head eastbound on I-44 E until reaching Exit 172A to merge onto MO-K/Kansas Expy S toward James River Fwy/Nixa/Ozark/Jefferson Ave/Campbell Ave/Downtown Area. Continue straight onto MO-F/W Sunshine St and drive for approximately half a mile before taking another left turn to stay on MO-F/E Republic Rd.

After traveling roughly two miles, make a right turn onto S Campbell Avenue which will lead you to continue southward as it turns into Highway FF after crossing over James River Freeway (US-Highway160). Stay on Highway FF going southeast through Rogersville and Fordland while following signs directing towards Seymour/Yeakley Chapel Road/Rogersville Municipal Court/Hart Cemetery/Fordland Clinic/Lindenlure Lake & Campground/Buffalo National Scenic Riverways/Piney Beach Resort/Turkey Run Conservation Area/Gasconade Hills Natural Resources Center/Theodosia Marina Resort/Ava Bill Martin Memorial Airport/Sho-Me Power Electric Cooperative Inc./Mark Twain National Forest - Ava-Cassvile-Rolla District Office/U.S Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District Pomme de Terre Project Management Office

Drive along Highway FF heading southeast past Marshfield where it intersects with Interstate Drive/Ivy Lane at an intersection controlled by traffic lights near Walmart Supercenter followed shortly thereafter by another intersection with East Jackson Street. Continue straight on Highway FF for approximately 15 miles until you reach Indian Creek State Forest.

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Missouri State Parks