Clifty Creek Natural Area Trail

MODERATE 98 reviews

Clifty Creek Natural Area Trail is a 2.7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Dixon, Missouri that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

2.7 miles
400 feet

dogs on leash

kid friendly




nature trips

trail running





wild flowers



Clifty Creek trail is a 2.5 loop trail with the primary attraction being a natural bridge with a span of forty ft. Enroute to the natural bridge you pass through old growth Hickory and Oak timber, limestone Ozark glades, and cliffs overlooking Clifty Creek and you cross the creek twice. A very scenic 2.5 mile loop hiking trail leads from the conservation area parking lot to the natural bridge and back. A hiker can choose to take the loop, or can choose to go and come from the arch via the same trail portion. The trail has an intersection one-tenth of a mile from the parking lot. The right fork in the trail is an additional one mile to the arch; if you choose the left fork the arch is 1.4 miles away - one way. Both forks are very scenic and traverse some very interesting natural features.

2 days ago

This is a well kept secret so there are no crowds. Trails can be slippery when wet and sturdy shoes are recommended. I like doing this hike in the early spring when the snow melt fills the clear creek. Great place for a family picnic along the creek at the arch. If you have time the loop is scenic. Also a good place to bring your canine partner.

1 month ago

Good quick trip in the woods. Gets the heart beating with elevation changes. Well marked and easy to follow

1 month ago

My mother played at the natural bridge as a young child and I went to photograph it to give her a childhood reminder. I took a right at the fork and it was a beautiful hike. I do believe it was more than the advertised mile. The bridge is spectacular!!! I got to the parking lot a little after daybreak (a bit late for me) and was at the bridge by 6:30am.
I could not find the path to the top so that is for a different time. Didn't want to hike the trail back so I walked the creek to a point where I could get back on the path quite a way back. This place is gorgeous and I love what has been created for our enjoyment!

2 months ago

The Clifty Creek Conservation Area is a stop on the Great Missouri Birding Trail and it is definitely a "birdy" trail, although you will have to mostly bird by ear during the summer. The trail mostly follows ridges and overlooks the creek below and the valley the creek flows through. The trail crosses the creek twice so be prepared to get your feet wet. The natural arch is spectacular. If you go through the arch there is another side trail on the left that will allow you to climb to the top of the arch. A recent thunderstorm had dropped a few large branches and trees on the trail but you can get around them easily.

3 months ago

A beautiful trail. A bit challenging with small kids, but still able to go. My family will be back!

4 months ago

This is an awesome hike! My wife and I were the only people on the trail, and we even crossed the creek after a few days of rain without issue. I recommend this to anybody looking to stretch their legs and escape the surrounding area for a short time.

5 months ago

Awesome hike. The land bridge makes this well worth it, but hiking along the low river was also nice. There would be difficult areas to cross the river after heavy rainfall, but this is an exemplary short hike.

8 months ago

10 months ago

Beautiful hike!! Love it, go out every couple months:)

10 months ago

This has to be my favorite hike in surrounding areas. Well maintained. Great on hot summer days for a cool dip. Make sure you go when the land is still receiving rain. If you go in August, chances are the land will be dry and there will be no swimming hole.

11 months ago

Well maintained trail, clearly marked and a pleasant hike.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Pleasant hike. Well marked and clear trail.

Monday, March 20, 2017

We hiked this trail in late March. The weather was ideal and the trail was very scenic. The river was a great feature to walk alongside for the majority of the hike. In some parts you could even hear the babbling brooks. I would say that the hike was just as advertised (moderate). The hike was just long enough without being too much. The natural rock arch was beautiful. There were many different varieties of trees to view and the inclines were never too difficult. It took us nearly 2.5 hrs. to complete. We stopped for some photos and leisurely walked on some parts.
I would definitely go again and would highly recommend. This trail was one of our favorites out of many in that area of Missouri.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I've hiked this trail 3 times and I love it. It's an awesome trail.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Clifty Creek Conservation Area is a great place to take in an enjoyable, moderate hike that winds through a nice variety of Missouri terrain and geographical features. I've always found the trail to be well-marked and well-maintained. On nice weekend days, expect to encounter plenty of other hikers using the trail and expect that the rather small parking lot might be full. Go mid-week and you'll likely have the place all to yourself.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Great trail! Very well marked! Beautiful area.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

We went in the late Fall when the trees had lost all of their leaves and the trail was completely covered making it hard to follow the trail. It would be nice if the trail was marked a little better, but the rock bridge was definitely worth it.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A great trail with two creek crossings! A natural stone arch is the highlight of the hike! Could be just a tad better marked but still some beautiful countryside to enjoy!!

Monday, December 26, 2016

It was an exceptionally warm Christmas Day hike and most enjoyable. It was warm enough that we encountered a painted box turtle on the trail. I give this place high marks. Beautiful scenery and a very nice trail. I was impressed with the moss and Christmas ferns growing on the trail cuts. Rocks in the creek bed were beautiful and interesting. Sandstone and banded chert were pretty. The natural bridge was great. I gave it five stars.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Nice parking area and a wonderful walk. Clearly marked, quiet with nice views. Made a great relaxing Afternoon.

Monday, September 26, 2016

So much fun! The trails wind down so you don't have to go up or down any strenuous hills or cliffs. Beautiful scenery!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

It's long and a bit challenging.
It's 2.76 miles

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Enjoyed every minute of the hike. Great trail loop, seems like at least 4 miles though not 2.7, lots to see.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Well marked trail. Small dirt parking lot that you could miss if you aren't paying attention.

Monday, May 02, 2016

This is a beautiful trail, but a little sketchy for kids. Many beautiful Missouri moments, with rock formations and river crossings. Some of the trail is on high cliffs which are often muddy, so just be aware if you take small children.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

3.2 miles not 2.2. Crossed water twice, but beautiful and a little challenging which made it fun. Took my four daughters (5-16) and my hubby.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Great trail my 4 kids made it, if you want to see the arch take a right to get to it faster

Saturday, April 23, 2016

What a fun hike! Interesting things to see, and places to stop, and a nice, moderate terrain! The natural bridge is the main highlight for sure, plan to stop there a bit. Will be back for sure.

Monday, April 18, 2016

It was a nice relaxing hike.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Well marked and maintained trail. My 9-year old son enjoyed all the rocks near the creek. They are currently doing controlled burns, which makes it very smoky.

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