Day Trip,  Hiking,  Kids,  Missouri,  Waterfall

Find a Unique Waterfall at LaBarque Creek Conservation Area

The rugged canyons and clear creeks of Missouri’s LaBarque Creek Watershed offer many options for recreation. Don Robinson State Park is perhaps the most popular place for hiking in this area. However, if you want to escape the state park crowds and explore unique features, check out the LaBarque Creek Conservation Area.

LaBarque Creek

This LaBarque Creek Conservation Area consists of one hiking trail. The path has a small out-and-back portion followed by a loop.

LaBarque Creek Trail

  • Distance: 3 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: 4/5. Trail has several hills. Can be muddy and slick in spots. Trail can sometimes become more overgrown in summer.
  • Scenic Value: 4/5. A nice creek with some waterfalls in wet weather times.

Reaching the Trailhead

The trail is reached by parking in a parking area along Valley Drive just outside Eureka. The parking area is a good size. You will find access to the trail across the road with a large sign and bridge.

LaBarque Creek Conservation Area

The LaBarque Creek Hike

The hike begins by crossing the sturdy bridge over the clear waters of LaBarque Creek. This is a fun spot for kids to splash and play before and after your hike as the water is shallow.

The hike climbs a wooden set of stairs and starts off running parallel to the creek. This stretch can be muddy after heavy rain but the added stairs have helped alleviate some of the slipping and sliding of past visits.

LaBarque Creek Conservation Area
LaBarque Creek Conservation Area

During spring and summer, wildflowers dot the sides of the trail especially near the creek section.

Soon the loop portion of the trail begins. You can go either direction, but the trail is signed to turn left and hike clockwise. If you wanted to get to the waterfalls quicker, you could turn right here instead.

Hiking the Loop Portion

Heading left and hiking clockwise, the path winds through the woods and makes several decent hill climbs. There are trail markers to help count off your distance along the trail.

LaBarque Creek Conservation Area

In the middle of all the hill climbs, the trail passes between an interesting jumble of large rocks.

LaBarque Creek Conservation Area

Near the halfway point, the trail turns to head back north again and winds its way closer to a small stream.

LaBarque Creek Conservation Area

The Unique Hole-in-the Rock Waterfall

Just before the trail makes a hard right turn and crosses across a rock area, look off to your left and down a small rock bluff. If there has been a recent rain, you should see a hole in a sandstone ledge and a small waterfall pouring down into the hole.

LaBarque Creek Conservation Area
Look to your left just before this point for the secret waterfall.
LaBarque Creek Conservation Area

If you wish to get a closer look, carefully look for a way to scramble down the short drop to the creek below. When we visited, there was even a rope tied to a tree to assist in climbing up and down the rocks. The kids thought this was quite a fun natural slide!

Down on the creek level, you may see several other small waterfalls depending on how much rain has fallen.

LaBarque Creek Conservation Area
LaBarque Creek Conservation Area

If the water is dry, you can still have an adventure by exploring under the little shelter cave formed in the sandstone.

LaBarque Creek Conservation Area
LaBarque Creek Conservation Area
LaBarque Creek Conservation Area
Same waterfall with low flow during summer.

Completing the LaBarque Creek Trail

After exploring the creek area, use the rope or scramble up the rocks back to the trail.

The trail continues through the trees and crosses some exposed rock.

LaBarque Creek Conservation Area

Another interesting section of the trail crosses a large section of exposed sandstone with a small stream. This is a really great place for kids to cool off and play.

LaBarque Creek Conservation Area

The trail meanders through the woods and across another cascading waterfall before turning left at the end of the loop portion to run parallel to LaBarque Creek again. Follow the trail back down the steps and across the bridge to return to the parking area.

LaBarque Creek Conservation Area
LaBarque Creek Conservation Area

Additional Things to Know

  • The conservation area is open daily 4:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
  • Hunting is allowed here so it may be best to pick a different trail in hunting season or wear blaze orange.
  • A park map can be found here.
  • There are no restrooms.
  • Always be sure to pack out what you bring in and be sure to leave no trace.

Have you ever seen a waterfall like this one?


  • Edward Miller

    Pretty hike. I’m not a fan of the state worker (I assume) who went through there with a chainsaw a few years back. Hope the place has recovered from that “improvement”. There’s an acid seep along the trail–that’s cool. If I ever saw one of those in the past I surely didn’t know what I was looking at. I took my little ones hiking there too, many times. They also enjoyed scrambling over those rocks along that little ridge. In our family we call that Toilet Rock, by the way. One time we saw a dead, emaciated deer next to the creek. Pretty sure she was a victim of chronic wasting disease because they say deer get dehydrated and a bad fever, so they seek water to drink and cool off before they die.

    • Sara

      So funny to call it toilet rock, but that is what it does resemble when the water is flowing through that hole in the rock! So glad you enjoy the hike. Happy exploring!

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