photo by Scott Merritt

photo by Scott Merritt

photo by Scott Merritt

photo by Jim Scheff

photo by Scott Merritt

photo by Scott Merritt

photo by Scott Merritt

photo by Jim Scheff

photo by Jim Scheff

photo by Scott Merritt
Lower Rock Creek

photo by Scott Merritt
Watch a short video of
LRC made by Tom Malkowicz

Lower Rock Creek in Madison County is a tributary to the St. Francis River. Along this stream and on surrounding knobs of the St. Francois Mountains extending west into Iron County, is the finest unprotected wilderness resource of the whole Ozark region. With almost 14,000 acres, Lower Rock Creek has long been recognized as one of Missouriís wildest and most spectacularly scenic areas. The rose-tinted igneous rock, canyon walls, and clear bedrock stream watershed are in superb natural condition. It has massive, continuous exposures of rhyolite bedrock along the shut-ins of the steep valley, with sheer cliffs overlooking the creek and rocky terraces on the slopes above. Much of the valley is so steep that there is little or no floodplain at all. The areaís rugged topography reaches from above 1,500 feet on Patterson and Black Mountains down to 600 feet at the lower reaches of the creek.


photo by Jim Scheff

Vegetation includes many communities associated with the St. Francois Mountains. There are a number of endemic Ozark species, including Ozark witchhazel. Bald eagles have been spotted and in the spring there are spectacular displays of the native rose azalea. Native black bear, collared lizards on the rocky barrens, and a healthy population of hill country cottonmouth water moccasins along the remote streams all contribute to the wild integrity of this landscape.

A study conducted by the University of Missouri described this area as the most significant remaining example of a St. Francois Mountain watershed landscape.

Lower Rock Creek connects through narrow corridors of public land to both the popular Silver Mines Recreation Area and the proposed Van East Mountain Wilderness, creating the opportunity for a true landscape-scale wilderness experience. Lower Rock Creek is host to an increasing number of visitors who value its unspoiled scenery and natural integrity. This recreation use depends upon the wilderness character of this very special area.

Within the boundaries of the Lower Rock Creek Wilderness are some notable inholdings of private land. Three parcels owned by the LAD Foundation along Lower Rock Creek are managed for their wilderness value and are open to the public. Other inholdings cannot be considered open to the public and should be respected.


photo by Jim Scheff
Proposed Wilderness Acreage
  • 13,435 acres in Mark Twain National Forest

Map of Lower Rock Creek Proposed Wilderness
Map provided for reference information only. MWC is not responsible for it's accuracy.