Last Saturday, we took our second day hike to Lead Mine Conservation Area. Beautiful weather, nice blue skies, temperatures reaching mid 60s, perfect!
We parked in a different area this time, which made the hike completely different. That is one thing that Lead Mine has going for it is that there is a lot of different scenery….from ridge lines, to river views, small creeks, wide open fields, typical Missouri woods, some hills, some flat areas, very nice place! Typical hardwood trees but some pines as well and the pine trees are my favorite — probably because there are no pine trees around where I live and have lived most of my life. They are so picturesque and smell wonderful!
So like before, the downside to Lead Mine is that it is extremely hard to hike a decent distance here without spending some time on a gravel road and like most hikers, I hate walking on gravel roads. But if you spend some time looking at the available maps, you can piece together a route to minimize the time on gravel.
At Lead Mine, you are going to encounter quite a bit of horse traffic so be prepared for that. While we only passed 4-5 horses on a trail, there were at least a dozen horse trailers in the parking area when we left.
Not many trees (if any) blocking the trails we hiked on. There is also a gun range at Lead Mine and if you are on the southern side, you’re going to have deal with the unpleasant noise of that most of the time you are in the area.
Regardless of what parking area (and there are many) that you find yourself starting at, if at all possible do yourself a favor and make it to the hiking-only trail and see the view from there. It is gorgeous. Nice ridge looking at over woods on one side and golden pastures straight ahead with the very teal Niangua River down below winding it’s way around like a snake. Listen closely and you’ll hear the river.
It’s also worth the extra hike down to the river itself where you can be right at the water. There’s a few campsites here, quite possibly very busy during warmer months due to being right at the water and maybe a popular spot for Boy Scouts as well.
In summary, Lead Mine may not be as big as some of the other areas but for it’s size, it sure packs a lot to see and it is more centrally located, much faster to Lead Mine from Kansas City.