Young Conservation Area is another one of several great conservation areas in the Eureka, Missouri area. This conservation area is part of the LaBarque Creek watershed filled with diverse species of aquatic and plant life. The park contains two hiking trail loops plus creeks and a pond.
Young Conservation Area contains two hiking trail loops. The 3 mile Taconic Loop Trail winds along LaBarque Creek past seasonal wildflowers and through a pine tree grove. The 3.5 mile LaBarque Hills Trail wanders along streams and rolling hills past seasonal wildflowers, waterfalls, and oak-hickory forests.
The LaBarque Hills Trail splits off from Taconic Loop trail near its halfway point so that hiking the full LaBarque Hills Trail out and back from the parking area will run about 7 miles total. We have only hiked the Taconic Loop Trail so far.
There are several splits and side trails along the loops. I highly recommend using the All Trails app to keep track of where you are on the trail and avoid a wrong turn. (Just in case you end up following what looks like a wide trail and it goes straight up a steep hill instead of taking the correct and easier level trail along a stream. Not that I would know from experience or anything!)
Taconic Loop Trail Overview
- Distance: 3 miles round trip (Conservation website states it as 2.5 but we clocked 3 miles round trip.)
- Difficulty: 2.5/5. Mostly flat with just minor hills. Can be muddy, route finding a little confusing at times.
- Scenic Value: 3/5. A nice walk in the woods with seasonal wildflowers, creeks, and a lovely pine grove.
Reaching the Trailhead
The trailhead and parking lot for both trails is located at 3189 State Hwy FF, Eureka, MO 63025. If coming from Eureka, look for the large lot on your left next to an open field. If you reach Glassberg Conservation Area, you have missed it.
Starting the Taconic Loop Hike
There are a couple paths leading off from the parking area. One goes straight ahead down the hill to loop post a small fishing pond. The main trail starts off to the left of the parking area and runs parallel to the highway. This path will then curve away from the road and head downhill to cross a large concrete bridge over LaBarque Creek.
Side Trip to a Pond
The trail will come to a fork soon after the bridge. The left fork has a sign that says “pond.” Take this short out and back trail to view a small pond with a dam and bench.
After visiting the pond, be sure to head back down to the main trail that runs parallel the creek. Do not follow the wide trail that goes straight from the pond and steeply uphill towards the powerline cut unless you want the extra workout of going up and down a hill!
Creek Crossings and Woods
The main trail path runs parallel along a ridge above a creek. Recent rainfall amounts will determine how much water flows here.
The trail passes through a powerline cut and soon comes to the start of the loop portion of the Taconic Hills Trail. You can go either direction, we opted to head left. This section of the trail was pretty muddy.
The path soon crossed over a clear creek. The kids had fun playing with rocks and sticks here.
The trail then wandered through the woods. The path remained fairly wide.
Keep an eye for the signs where the LaBarque Hills trail breaks off from the Taconic Trail. Be sure to keep right to stay on the Taconic Trail here.
Beautiful Pine Grove
My favorite part of the trail comes after the oak and hickory woods. The trail skirts around towering pine trees before passing right through the grove of trees.
The kids had fun making “fairy houses” using pine cones and sticks.
After the pine grove, the trail crosses the power line cut again. This section was crazy muddy. I thought we were all going to lose our shoes to the muck. It appears the power company had done some work here and their access path left behind a mud pit until the groundcover recovers.
After crossing the power line cut, the trail goes downhill and crosses the creek again. Turn left to follow the trail back to the parking lot the way you came.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Young Conservation Area is open daily 4:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
- You can find a park map here.
- Hunting is allowed so use caution when in season.
- There are no restrooms are any other amenities.
- Pack out what your bring in and Leave No Trace.
- Other good trails in the area include Glassberg Conservation Area, LaBarque Creek Conservation Area, and Don Robinson State Park.