photo by Carrie Yonley

photo by Carrie Yonley

photo by Carrie Yonley

photo by Carrie Yonley

photo by Carrie Yonley

photo by Carrie Yonley
Smith Creek

photo by Carrie Yonley

The northern half of the state of Missouri is not traditionally associated with potential wilderness - and with good reason. The northern part of our state is rich in agricultural soils and most of this section has been farmed for more than a century. Nevertheless a few small patches of rough, wild land survive. One such area, Smith Creek in Callaway and Boone Counties, has full wilderness quality. This uniqueness has made Smith Creek one of Missouriís most cherished wild lands.

Smith Creek is part of the outer Ozark border country and is small, a mere 2195 acres, but it makes up in charm what it lacks in size.


photo by Carrie Yonley

Named for a tributary of Cedar Creek which normally flows all year, this stream has carved a beautiful bluff-lined valley through the otherwise rolling uplands of central Missouri. The bluffs are formed of Burlington limestone and have weathered in some places into picturesque pinnacles, buttresses, and gothic arches. Several small tributaries flow along rock-bottom chutes whose surfaces have been worn smooth by centuries of flowing water. Small waterfalls have formed, and sculpted rock ledges line long stretches.

A recent acquisition includes over one mile of frontage on Cedar Creek, the noteworthy stream which anchors the entire area. Such Creek frontage holdings are scarce in the Cedar Creek Unit of the Mark Twain. This addition gives the Smith Creek Area the most significant frontage ownership within the entire Unit, as well as the length of Cedar Creek that is the most scenic, wild and natural in character.

Only twenty minutes away from the growing cities of Columbia and Fulton, and thirty minutes from Jefferson City, Smith Creek is a wilderness oasis for central Missourians. Day hiking and overnight backpacking are popular, as is occasional horseback riding. Spring wildflower walks are often arranged to take advantage of the colorful displays. Hunting for squirrel, deer and turkey are popular. A boy scout trail also crosses the area.

Proposed Wilderness Acreage
  • 2,195 acres in Mark Twain National Forest

Map of Smith Creek Proposed Wilderness
Map provided for reference information only. MWC is not responsible for it's accuracy.