More than 1,400 acres of beautiful hiking trails, boardwalks, ponds and campsites await at the Painted Rock Conservation Area near Westphalia.

The area, 7 miles west of Highway 133, is ideal for those who want to explore the natural wonders near the Osage River.

Painted Rock Conservation Area includes six ponds, two boardwalks and viewing spots where visitors can take a break to admire the river or the breathtaking landscape around it.

The most famous path is the Scenic Trail, where the boardwalks, two campsites and a parking lot are located.

The entire area offers two additional parking locations, five more camping sites and private restrooms.

A bit of the history of the area has also been preserved by the state Department of Conservation, where visitors can see evidence of Native Americans as early as 9,000 years ago.

One key site is the Indian burial cairn, which can be seen on the Osage Scenic Bluff Trail and was built between 500 and 1,500 years ago.

The area also offers a number of other activities, including a managed lake where fishing is allowed for black bass, catfish and sunfish.

In addition, the site has spots for bird watching, and hunting for deer, turkey and squirrel is permitted.

Adventurers can bring their bikes and pets on the trails, but animals must be leashed.

The conservation area is open all year, and the best period for visiting is between May and October when the meadows are blooming.

For visitors looking to plan their trip, an interactive map of the area can be found on Missouri Department of Conservation website, nature.mdc.mo.gov.

  • Community reporter, fall 2019. Studying print / digital news writing. Reach me at mariana.labbate@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5700 .

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