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Burr Oak Woods Nature Center - 1 member in 1 triplog has rated this an average 2 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Nov 24 2017

 Guides 90
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 Photos 8,634
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58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Burr Oak Woods Nature CenterNortheast, MO
Northeast, MO
Hiking avatar Nov 24 2017
Hiking6.74 Miles 530 AEG
Hiking6.74 Miles   2 Hrs   19 Mns   2.91 mph
530 ft AEG
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The sun, still low in the sky when I started on the Wildlife Habitat Trail, lit up the prairie and trees. I got a real nice sunburst photo out of it, that I used up top and as the title card in my hike video: [ youtube video ] . Just a few yards down the trail was a bike rack, as bikes are only allowed on paved roads in the park. No pets allowed either, so any poo you see is likely from wildlife. Another few yards on, the loop begins and traffic is one way only. I’m serious. Seeing a one way sign on a hiking trail is one of the oddest things I’ve seen on a trail. If you go the wrong way, do you get a ticket? :stop:

The Wildlife Habitat Trail passes a small pond, then descends 30 ft. to the Limestone Glade. From there to the small limestone bluff a level half mile on, there are many information signs explaining the Burr Oak Woods’s habitat restoration efforts. The trail was covered with fallen leaves. The only wildlife I saw was squirrels, lots of squirrels.

Despite being over a mile from I-70 I could still easily hear the freeway. I imagine it is quieter when the trees have leaves.

From the small limestone bluff, the Wildlife Habitat Trail climbs 90 ft. :o before dipping to the north end of the Short Loop, then climbing another 60 ft. [-( back to the trailhead.


After a quick stop at the trailhead pit toilet to get rid of my morning coffee, and top up my water, I headed west on Hickory Grove Trail. I have no idea what a hickory looks like. I feel like I am doing well to be able to identify oak (leaves!) and birch/aspen (white bark!). I wonder if hickory are the source of the many heavy, grapefruit-size, yellow-green fruits / nuts I saw along the trail. (And which I also spotted along the C&O Canal [ photoset ] a few weeks ago.) Those would really hurt if they landed on your head!

The Hickory Grove Trail descends 90 ft., past the W. Robert Aylward Educational Pond. I was hoping to see some ducks here, but no such luck. Thanksgiving must be too late in the migration season?

As it parallels Burr Oak Creek, Hickory Grove Trail crosses a cement & stone dam / culvert. My best guess is it is meant to retain water for the Educational Pond.


The Bethany Falls Trail actually starts from where Park Rd. enters the trailhead parking area. Since Hickory Grove Trail continued right on past the parking area, that’s what I did, figuring I was on the correct path. I did some minor rock hopping across Burr Oak Creek, which seemed odd compared to the previous few miles, but I continued on. At some smelly manhole covers, at the edge of a prairie, I reconsidered. The contours on the park map are accurate, and comparing them to the terrain around me, I realized the Bethany Falls Trail was on the east side of the prairie, not the southwest corner, where I was. Back to the trailhead I went.

Bethany Falls Trail is one of the highest rated in the Kansas City area, and that was reflected in the amount of cars in the lots and hikers along the trail, particularly young families. (All the Burr Oak Woods trails are kid-friendly.) The section through, and along, the limestone outcropping at the north end of the loop is real trail, as opposed to the suburban pathways throughout the rest of Burr Oak Woods.

No one way signs on this loop. :D I went left, continuing to parallel Burr Oak Creek, but up a wooded slope. I did not realize I bypassed the observation deck until I reached the homestead ruins. (A couple of walls now only a few stones high, just across a split rail fence.) I thought about doubling back, but decided it wasn’t worth the time.

Despite traffic noise from nearby Pink Hill Rd., the limestone outcroppings on Bethany Falls Trail were the highlight of my hike. At the east end of the outcropping, the trail climbs 40ft. to a prairie. Thinking I had left my glasses behind — a common occurence when I take them off to better view a potential photo — I momentarily panicked and began backtracking, until realizing the glasses were still on my face.

I was disappointed not to actually see any falls.

Back at Park Rd. I returned to the Wildlife Habitat Trail trailhead, and my patient wife, by booking it back along the Hickory Grove Trail.
Osage orange
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation None
Just a few colored leaves still clinging to the oak, maple, hickory, dogwood and hornbeam.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation None
A solitary dandelion.
_____________________ : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
average hiking speed 2.91 mph

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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