Winter is a curious hiker’s friend. Sights and sounds are different along a trail. Only the red cedar trees are green by early March. What stands out to the eye are tree trunks and limbs reaching skyward.

Wildlife is often easier to see in winter. Wild turkeys are somewhat used to people at the trails near the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Burr Oak Woods Nature Center in Blue Springs. They will move away from your presence, but not too fast. You may also watch the from the indoor viewing room.

White-tailed deer frequent the forest, woodland, and restored grasslands at Burr Oak Woods. In winter, they sometimes linger longer to feed in the early morning or late afternoon hours. Burr Oak Woods has several trails that lead near creeks, through wildlife-friendly habitats, and past limestone outcrops. The Bethany Falls Trail is especially noted for its pathways past and through limestone bluffs.

MDC’s conservation areas and nature centers offer a variety of winter hikes: Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center, 4750 Troost Ave., Kansas City; Platte Falls Conservation Area in the Northland; and James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area in Lee’s Summit to name a few.

For information about Burr Oak Woods, visit To find other hiking destinations in our area, visit