Hickory Canyons Natural Area, Sprott Road
Ste. Geneviève, MO 63670
Lamotte sandstone formed box canyons here from the sandy beaches of a shallow ocean that existed 500 million years ago. Millions of years of erosion and uplift of the Ozark Plateau exposed the sandstone we see today.
After a rain event, a wet-weather waterfall can be enjoyed from the end of the 1/4 mile hiking trail on the east side of the county road. Another 1-plus mile trail loops through a canyon on the west side of Sprott Road.
In the winter, the bluffs drip with icicles that sparkle in the sun. This area is botanically rich, supporting glacial relics, species that were more common in Missouri 12,000 years ago during the last Ice Age. Since then, the climate has warmed, forcing some species to inhabit micro-climates that mimic the cool, moist conditions of glacial times. Glacial relics at Hickory Canyons include hay-scented fern, fir clubmoss, and winterberry. The area is rich in fern species with over a dozen species represented.