Saturday, June 8, 2013

Valley View Glades Natural Area

On Highway B near Morse Mill, in Jefferson County, is a conservation area called Valley View Glades. I hiked its trail late last year and vowed to return when spring came, because a glade in bloom is a marvelous thing to see.
Come on out soon. You needn't walk the 2.6 mile trail loop. The most amazing vistas in Valley View Glades are at the beginning of the trail, whether you choose to walk left or right. There really is a valley view. Here's more info and a map.

What's a glade? It's not that stuff in cans: It's an outcropping of rock and thin soil, just enough to support echinaceas, coreopsis and other wildflowers, on a south-facing hillside--a unique kind of ecosystem. Missouri's natural glades get clogged up by invasive red cedars, so conservationists cut down the cedars to preserve the glades' sunny openness and protect the habitat of special creatures such as salamanders who live in glades.

Should you want to hike the complete trail, it's very rocky most of its 2.6 miles. Bring water. I found my walking poles to be most helpful. You will stepping-stone across at least two pretty brooks.

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