Missouri State Park Designated Wild Areas

a rock bluff above a creek with lots of fall color at Hawn State ParkWilderness and wild lands provide important recreational opportunities. In response to growing demands for such areas, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources established a Missouri Wild Area System in 1978.

The Missouri Wild Area System was partially modeled after the National Wilderness Preservation System. Wild areas are protected by the benefits they provide for hiking and backpacking as well as the benefits they provide as outdoor classrooms for environmental education and as increasingly important reservoirs of scientific information.

According to the Department of Natural Resources’ policy, a wild area must be a “spacious” tract of land generally 1,000 or more acres in size. Generally, it must appear to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, and to possess outstanding opportunities for solitude and unconfined recreation.

In establishing Missouri’s Wild Area System, a wide variety of qualifying areas were selected to represent the broadest cross section of the state’s natural heritage. Today, almost 23,000 acres are designated as Missouri wild areas. Each of the protected areas is unique and you are invited to visit these as you tour Missouri’s state parks.

Wild Area State Park Total Acreage Designation Date
Big Sugar Creek Cuivre River State Park 1,675 9/10/1981
Coonville Creek St. Francois State Park 2,256 1,700 acres - 7/8/1978
165 acres - 4/2/1980
271 acres - 11/17/1982
120 acres - 5/6/1985
East Fork Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park 1,110 1,050 acres - 3/29/1979
60 acres - 2/8/1985
Elk River Hills Big Sugar Creek State Park 1,168 5/13/2016
Gans Creek Rock Bridge Memorial State Park 720 5/24/1978
Goggins Mountain Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park 5,000 3/31/1995
Indian Creek Trail of Tears State Park 1,300 5/24/1978
Mudlick Mountain Sam A. Baker State Park 4,420 4,180 acres - 1/28/1981
240 acres - 9/22/1983
Northwoods Cuivre River State Park 1,113 830 acres - 7/6/1978
252 acres - 4/2/1980
31 acres - 4/25/2013
Patterson Hollow Lake of the Ozarks State Park 1,275 1,200 acres - 5/24/1978
75 acres - 1/3/1983
Roaring River Hills Roaring River State Park 2,075 5/24/1978
Whispering Pine Hawn State Park 2,080 1,770 acres - 8/16/1979
310 acres - 2/8/1985