Young Conservation Area

Distance: ~6.5 mi (10.5 km)
Location: Eureka, Missouri
Date: June 6, 2012

LaBarque Creek

The Young Conservation Area is located in northern Jefferson County, Missouri and south of Eureka. The area is adjacent to LaBarque Creek and was acquired by the state in 1986. LaBarque Creek has about 44 species of fish, which makes it the most diverse tributary of the Meramec River, which itself is one of the most diverse rivers in North America.

A portion of the larger pond

Like many of the nearby areas, including the Rockwoods Range and Rockwoods Reservation, the Young CA contains forested Ozark foothills. The parking area is along Missouri Route FF, and the area near the road is maintained as a meadow with many wildflowers. There are also two ponds in the CA, one small one near the parking area and a another larger one across LaBarque Creek.

Crossing the power line corridor

The Young CA contains about 6.5 miles of trails, all of which I hiked in less than two hours (again, I'm quite a fast hiker). From the parking area, the Taconic Loop Trail forms a two loops: one around the meadow and another around a former pine plantation. This trail is about 2.5 miles long and is the most heavily used, although I didn't see anyone else on it. This trail passes both ponds, crosses a power line corridor a few times, and passes through an area being restored to glades (small meadows within forests).

Wildlflowers in one of the glades

Connected to the outermost section of the Taconic Loop Trail is the LaBarque Hills Trail, which is a single large loop. This trail gains about 350 ft in elevation from its intersection with the Taconic Loop  and follows two stream beds for much of its lower length. Both stream were dry during my visit except for a couple of pools in the eastern stream (see map). It has a gentle to moderate slope with no difficult sections and appears to be used much less than the Taconic Loop. (Sorry for the poor photos. I forgot my camera and had to use my old phone.)

A dry streambed

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