Hit the trails and dive deep into the natural beauty of the Ozarks with this list of the top treks around Southwest Missouri. 

Springfield African-American Heritage Trail

African American Heritage TrailPhoto courtesy of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board

Town: Springfield

Distance: 2 miles

Difficulty: Easy

This hike through Springfield provides a chance to see local African-American historical sites such as Church Square South, the former Lincoln High School and more. 

Cedar Gap Conservation Area

Cedar Gap Trail

Photography by Joshua Miller

Town: Mansfield, 45 miles east of Springfield

Distance: 3/8 mile or 1.6 miles

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

The plateau at Cedar Gap is the second highest point in Missouri, and hiking the area gives you a firsthand view. The ⅜-mile gravel trail goes to an overlook. For more of a challenge, hikers continue on the 1.6-mile loop to view the remains of the limestone quarry.

Related Post: Take A Hike On These Ozarks Trails

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park

Dogwood Canyon Nature ParkTown: Lampe, 60 miles south of Springfield

Distance: 6.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

This is more of a walk than a hike, but this paved trail is perfect for kids. You can spot caves, streams full of fish, waterfalls and a variety of wildlife. This hike requires admission to the park.

Greater Ozarks Audubon Trail

Town: Springfield

Distance: 1.4 miles

Difficulty: Easy

This hike is short, but the views of Lake Springfield are hard to beat. There’s a rocky overlook at the top that’s a popular lookout spot. The view looks down at the lake and the James River, which means you can spot wildlife.

Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Springfield Conservation Nature CenterTown: Springfield

Distance: Multiple Trails

Difficulty: Easy

These trails offers observation decks, a view of Galloway Creek and glades. If you keep an eye out, you might be able to catch some sightings of native birds, turtles, deer and more.

Lakeview Trail

Town: Stockton, 50 miles northwest of Springfield

Distance: 8 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

This hike is friendly for hikers or bikers. Take the full 8-mile loop, or take in a smaller loop through a trail connector. During the winter, these bluffs are great places to spot bald eagles.

Related Post: The Ideal Outdoor Itinerary to Springfield, Missouri

Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area

Busiek Hiking-Brad ZweerinkTown: Highlandville, 25 minutes south of Springfield

Distance: Trails range in length

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

The 2,502-acre area has 18 miles of trails. Several of the trails have water crossings. If you want to cool off in summer, skip the hike and splash in the streams.

Wilson's Creek National Battlefield

Wilson's Creek Greenway

Photography by Michelle Houghton

Town: Republic, 13 miles from Springfield

Distance: 4.9 miles

Difficulty: Easy

A paved road for hiking, biking or driving provides a tour of this national battlefield. There are interactive stops where you can learn about this historical site, plus five walking trails.

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