Visitors Guide to
Valley View Glades
Natural Area

Route B
Hillsboro, Missouri

Parking Lot Hiking Trail Wildlife Viewing Hunting Opportunities

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Valley View Glades Natural Area is in central Jefferson County. The 225-acre Valley View Glades area is part of a large complex of glades starting just east of the Big River, near Morse Mill and extending eastward and beyond Hillsboro and Desoto, to Festus, then south into Ste. Genevieve County. A tip to the area will give visitors a glimpse into what eastern Missouri around St. Louis looked like when the French settlers arrived in the early 18th century.

A glade is a type of desert-like habitat with thin, rocky soils. Glades and associated woodlands include several different kinds of microhabitats, and these provide many niches for plants and wildlife. Consequently, Valley View Glades, with everything from stream ledges to dolomite outcroppings, is home to more than 250 native plant species and 25 native butterfly species. Native wildflowers provide good wildlife food and add beautiful color to the glades during peak bloom in early June and throughout the growing season. The area supports many kinds of snakes and lizards, as well as larger animals, such as deer and turkey.

The Missouri Department of Conservation uses periodic prescribed burns and occasional thinning of eastern redcedar and other woody plants to restore and maintain the area's natural diversity. Without this management, the redcedar would take over the glade-adapted plants, and wildlife would decline. In the past, fires lit by Native Americans to aid in hunting and lightning kept these mini-deserts open and diverse. The 2.5-mile Valley View Glades Trail provides hikers a nice loop through the glades, associated woodlands and wildflowers.

Bird Watching
The Audubon Society of Missouri maintains a checklist of 48 species have been recorded being seen at Valley View Glades Natural Area. Bird watching includes glade and woodland species throughout the year. Click here for to access the list.


Visiting the Valley View Glades Natural Area
Sandy Creek Covered Bridge State Historic Site is a day-use site.
There is no charge to visit Valley View Glades Natural Area.

Directions: To reach the area, travel west on Highway B from the intersection of Highway 21 and Highway B in Hillsboro for 4.5 miles to the parking lot on the right (north) side of the road.

Learn more about the Jefferson County area.


Valley View Glades Natural Area - Official site maintained by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

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