Shut-In Mountain Fens

Open to the Public


Things To Do

Hiking, bird watching, wildflower viewing, exploring. View All

Plan Your Visit

Tips and guidelines for visiting this preserve. View All

Get Directions

Shut-In Mountain Fens contain examples of the driest and wettest natural communities in Missouri, creating a very diverse ecological community and habitat.

Why You Should Visit  

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.




550 acres


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.  

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site  

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.  

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing

Restoration work at the site includes frequent management using controlled burns 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.

What to See: Plants

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

    • In central Shannon County, take Highway 106 east 6.5 miles
    • Turn right (south) on Highway H and proceed 2.0 miles to Shut-in Mountain Road
    • Turn left (east) on Shut-In Mountain Road and go 0.5 miles
    • Park along the side of the road.

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

comments powered by Disqus

Read our guidelines on posting comments


Stay Updated

Learn about the places you love and find out how you can help by signing up for Nature eNews.

I'm already on the list Read our privacy policy

Thank you for joining our online community!

We'll be in touch soon with more Nature Conservancy news, updates, and exciting stories.