Location: Three Creeks Trail Conservation Area; closest town is Columbia, MO
Trail: Three Creeks Trail
Pain: Minor discomfort
Other Trailgoers: 3 (not until the very end of the hike-we didn’t pass a single soul all day and within the last 15 minutes; we passed 3)
Would I Go Again: Definitely
The thing about Three Creeks is that there just wasn’t much information available about it, so we were not able to prepare well for this hike. I would like to think that we were more of explorers than anything on this one. There wasn’t many reviews, pictures, etc., the map that was available was very sketchy.
So I took plenty of pictures and here are the details of our day hike at Three Creeks Trail Conservation Area:
We parked off of Tomlin Hill Road and started on the trail head there. Right off the beginning, the views were spectacular. Within feet of the parking lot, you can see at least two creeks. The woods are pretty. The overall sense of this place was much cleaner than our previous hike. This was a great combination of the scenery of Rock Bridge with the ability to camp.
The weather was brisk; mid 20s to start, rising to 40 by the end of the day. Beautiful sunny sky the whole day. Perfect weather for hiking.
The downside to this area is that there are NO blazes on the trails…. I repeat NO blazes at all. No trail markings. No signs at intersections. You are on your own here. If you look at our track, you will see several places where we got off the path and had to come back. But that is the fun of it. Would definitely have GPS for this when as well as maps and compass and a good understanding of where you should be.
Another down side that I didn’t feel that the provided map made clear was that if you went the way we did, starting from the parking lot off of Tomlin Hill Road. However, the map that you get on line is NOT accurate. I repeat the map online is NOT accurate. It is missing part of the trail — a huge part. Take it with you just in case, but stop at the trailhead and get the map there. That explains why we were so confused about where we were at all day long. Its a wonder we made it out alive! Anyway, what the map neglects to tell you is how long you will have to walk on gravel and paved roads. See my photos below. I don’t feel like the way that depict it on their map is accurate at all. It looks short on their map, but we ended up walking on the road on the southern end of this trail — Meyer Lane, etc. for almost 2 miles! Part of it was a black-top road and it was a little scary when cars came up on you. The road was very narrow and there were no ditches for us to walk on. Be on the look out for this! Hopefully someday they’ll cut the trail thru the woods, and we won’t have to walk around.
The next part is there are quite a few downed trees in the low-lying areas. There are multiple areas that look like either a huge flood or tornado went thru but generally it is fairly easy to find a path around without any effort.
Expect to have multiple creek crossings. We had little to no difficulty finding spots to cross where we didn’t have to get wet.
Now the good things: The whole place is spectacular. There are many different types of scenery. You’ll go from typical Ozark-style woods to red cedar woods to wide open pastures and creek bottoms.
Another nice thing is I did get the isolation feeling that I look for when I’m hiking. I like to feel that I”m off the beaten path. You couldn’t hear road noise most of the time in this conservation area. Make sure that you do NOT go here during deer season. There were enough deer stands to make one wary.
Expect some good climbs on this one; so far, this one I had the highest ascent for us. Some of the trail is rocky. This is also a bike and horse trail, but we saw neither today. Good luck and enjoy the pics below! If you have any questions, just give me a shout.
Title: Three Creeks New Version
Track lenght: 16.86Km.
Altitude range: 93m. (Min height: 174m. Max height: 267m.)
Total climb: 352m. Total descent: 351 m.
Description: My day hike on Three Creeks Trail on February 16, 2013 in the Three Creeks Conservation Area located southwest of Columbia, Missouri