Hiking, bird watching, wildflower viewing, exploring. View All
Tips and guidelines for visiting this preserve. View All
Shut-in Mountain Fens contain examples of the driest and wettest natural communities in Missouri, creating a very diverse ecological community and habitat.
The preserve is named for its two most significant features-a series of three small fen communities along Wildcat Hollow and Shut-in Mountain, a 350 foot rugged rhyolite dome. During late fall through early spring, the view from the top of Shut-in Mountain provides stunning scenery in all directions.
Located along Wildcat Hollow in Shannon County, southeast of Eminence.
This preserve is marked by rugged terrain with upland knobs and steep, rocky ridges and slopes. Late spring for flowering plants and early fall for autumn colors are among the more rewarding times to explore the preserve. Winter provides the clearest view from the top of the mountain. Hiking varies from moderate to strenuous.
The wetland fens of the preserve are the most diverse wetlands of this type in the Ozarks. The stunted blackjack oak forest on Shut-in Mountain represents one of the least disturbed examples of this community type in the Current River Valley.
Restoration work at the site includes frequent prescribed fire management, to reduce woody shrubs and stimulate rare plant reproduction in the fen communities. Detailed vegetation monitoring in the woodlands surrounding the fens provides insight into the ecological response of these woodlands to frequent fire.
On the mountain, visitors will discover a sparse, exceedingly dry woodland with a mixture of shortleaf pine, black oak, blackjack oak and black hickory. The summit is a mixture of igneous glade and gnarled stunted trees. The view from here is spectacular, with vista for miles in all directions.
Three small fens occur along the small stream on the south side of the county road. Several characteristic fen plants, including small fruited false loosestrife and tussock sedge, can be found here. The rare grass pink orchid and snake mouth orchids also occur here. Visitors are restricted from walking in the fens themselves, in order to prevent damage to the wet soils.
Elsewhere on the preserve are scenic streambeds with rock outcrops and ledges. The surrounding wooded slopes harbor a rich complement of ferns and wildflowers.
Check the local weather forecast and dress accordingly. Long pants and sleeves, hiking boots, drinking water, hat and compass are recommended. During warm weather, light color and light-weight clothing is suggested. Repellent, binoculars, compass and field guide(s) are also worth bringing. Preserve Visitation Guidelines