Visitors Guide to the
Columbia Bottom Conservation Area
801 Strodtman Road
St. Louis, MO

Accessible Parking Accessible Interpretive Exhibits Accessible Missouri Historic Site Accessible Walking & Jogging Paths Accessible Bike Trail Accessible Scenic Views Accessible Wildlife Viewing Accessible Information Center Accessible Fishing Accessible Boat Ramp Canoeing & Kayaking Hunting Accessible Restrooms

Columbia Bottom Conservation Area is situated at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers just downstream from the site of Lewis and Clark's 1803-04 winter camp. Located in north St. Louis County, this 4,318-acre area was purchased in 1997 to create an urban conservation area.  A small town once known as Columbia and later as St. Vrain was located in this flood plain in the mid 1800s but was gone by 1870. The Missouri Department Conservation manages Columbia Bottom and has created a mosaic of bottomland habitats that includes shallow wetlands, bottomland hardwoods, prairie, croplands, 6.5 miles of river frontage, and a 110-acre island. These habitats attract a wide variety of resident and migratory wildlife for the enjoyment of all of our state's residents and visitors. One of the Department of Conservation's goals in managing Columbia Bottoms is to restore portions of the area to the conditions that prevailed at the time of Lewis and Clark's journey.

Columbia Bottom Conservation Area has a number of features that visitors can take advantage. Bicyclists and walkers can use an accessible five-mile limestone biking trail and there is an additional three-mile hiking trail runs parallel to the Missouri River. Activities at the site include birding, educational programs, canoeing or kayaking, and participating in managed hunts. An accessible boat ramp and an accessible fishing pier are located on the Missouri River. A unique feature of the area is a viewing deck at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. The Howard and Joyce Wood Education and Visitor Center, created from a renovated barn, houses many natural history exhibits and is staffed by park rangers that hand out helpful information.  An auto tour visits eight discovery stations that help visitors explore the different habitats of Columbia Bottom Conservation Area. Each of the discovery stations has accessible parking and children can pick up an exploration booklet at the Visitor Center with activities for each station.

Bird Watching
The managed wetlands at Columbia Bottom Conservation Area provide resting and feeding areas for ducks, geese and other migratory birds including herons, egrets, and pelicans. An accessible boardwalk over the bottomland waters make it easy to get into the natural area. The site also offers superb birding opportunities in the spring. The Missouri Audubon Society maintains a checklist for birds that can be seen in this area.

Visiting the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area
     Visiting Hours
          April 1 - September 30: 6 am to 10 pm daily
          Winter Hours: 6 am - 7 pm daily
           Visitor Center Hours
               Monday - Friday: 8 am to 5 pm
               Closed Saturdays and Sundays
There is no charge to visit to visit the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area.

Columbia Bottom Conservation Area is in North St. Louis County. Take the Riverview Drive exit from I-270, then go north on Riverview Drive about 2.5 miles (Riverview Drive turns into Columbia Bottom Road and then Strodtman Road.)

Learn more about the St. Louis area.

Columbia Bottom Conservation Area - Use the official site of the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area for answers to all the questions you may have.

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