My Corner Online


Hughes Mountain Conservation Area

Hughes Mountain Conservation Area in Irondale, Missouri, has awesome views and is a great place to see Autumn colors and amazing sunsets.

The parking lot is off of Highway M between Highway 21 north of Caledonia and off of Highway 32 outside of Park Hills. Off of Highway 32 you will turn onto Old Irondale Road and then Scout Camp Road before turning left onto Highway 32. The GPS is fairly good at getting you to the parking lot.

Hughes Mountain natural area is also known for the Devil's Honeycomb at the top of the mountain hike as a geographical wonder of ancient volcanic rocks shaped in hexagonal honeycombs. The type of rock is rhyolite, although I thought it seems similar to the black granite in nearby areas.

The trail is 3/4 mile to and 3/4 back, making it a very doable trail for all. It begins as a wide flat trail, but then turns into a bit of a climb opening up the lungs, but I did not find it as difficult as other trails we did this summer of 2020.

After the most strenous uphill part of th hike there is a teaser of the view to come.

Some sections of the trail are difficult to determine where the trail continues, such as this one that goes around the rock, yet seemingly right through the middle of it. Just keep going and you will quickly see the trail again.

Many areas of the rock pass around big boulders and the trail is rather rocky, although not overly difficult. Just be sure to have a safe step before lifting the other foot. Landing just wrong on a rock is a set up for a twisted food or ankle on any trail. I seem to be at risk for this type of injury and yet I am still able to hike. Just go.

The trail does level off some as you go through a forest area and eventually comes out at this big wide opening. Be sure to look to the right and you will begin to see the amazing view.

We first went off to the left to explore some rocks and enjoy the view, but most people continue straight through the open area to the top where they turn around and pause for a while.

We did too at that spot. Several times. Look closely at the above photo and you can see the couple walking straight ahead on the path into the forest. This gives a little perspective at how big and open this view.

Do not stop here! Keep going because you are not at the top yet.

I really did delight in this little area that takes you from the top of the big open field view to the top of the mountain. There was just something special about the tall grasses blowing in the wind and how it shouted out Autumn.

Next upon the trail the Devil's Honeycomb presents itself wide spread.

See the people? They are there to the right of the green clump of trees. That is where you go for the final part of the trail.

After walking through you will see this. See the people at the top? That is where you are headed. That is the top of the mountain!

Maybe you can see them better now. Aren't the formations of the rocks totally awesome?

This is the view from the top! Awesomeness! The Autumn colors were just beginning when we were there.

Another photo from the very top.

This is from the top looking back because we were ready to head back down.

I love the contrasts in this photo of soft and hard, dark and light, alive green and changing orange, secure flat and rolling hills, near and far, and what else?

We sat down at the open area for a very long time to take in the sunrise.

Can you spy the people walking down the path in this photo? It sure does give perspective!

You know that phrase, "I could sit there forever?" and then we do not? I told myself, you have time, just sit there. This is one of my more favorite photos of this day. You see the sun is getting lower.

We stayed until 20 minutes until sunset. I wish we would have stayed longer, but we were timid about walking out in the dark, even though we did have flashlights. We hoped to see the sunset at some of the lower points on the trail, but the sun was at an angle to the left and trees were blocking it.

In it's own way, it was still a spectacular view. I can only imagine, however, what it looked like from the top.

We made it out in plenty of time and we could have stayed another 20 minutes. This just gives us an excuse to take a picnic dinner up next time!