Just when I think I've been everywhere in Platte County, I realize I have so much to learn. Since yesterday was a cold day, I figured I'd "build character" with the older boys by wandering in the woods. I didn't feel like doing more exploring in Tiffany Springs Park and we've wandered all over the Line Creek Valley. I thought about maybe trying to find any remnants of the long lost Island School but figured it was probably long gone because the area is all farmed and the area has flooded for 100+ years.
I finally decided we'd check out the Parma Woods Conservation Area near I-435 and the Missouri River and boy were we happily surprised. Little advice before you load up and head out, if you're triggered by guns, you probably ought to avoid because there is an active shooting range and folks use it.
The conseravation area has a nice paved trailhead with toilet and trail map. I'm not sure how long the loop is because we wandered off the gravel trail a little but in total we hiked over 2.5 miles. The start of the trail looks like an old road. This is looking north from the parking lot.
I assume it's an old road because the 1912 soil map of Platte County shows a road that would be in this general area and there is a fence and a drop off to the right of the trail. See the red arrow for the road in the map below. Also see the green arrow? I'm not sure if that symbol is a cemetery or something else but it's in the middle of I-435 now.
At the end of the flat part of the trail, there is an old foundation which I am assuming was a barn.
From there is was up hill.
And back down.
The pictures don't do it justice but the area was abundant in tree species--plenty of sycamores, oaks, shag-bark hickories, etc..
We found a deer stand tree and of course the boys had to try and climb up it.
There's a little ephemeral stream that you have to cross but it's a great place to try and do some spear fishing.....
We stumbled on an area that was mined at one time which made for great climbing.
The nearby area to the west was mined according to the 1948 USGS Topo map but this area wasn't close to it. I can't totally figure out where it is on the topo map because it's kind of hard to get my bearings with the landfill and I-435 blowing through everything but I think we were in the area by the blue arrow.
Right in that hillside area, someone had built a primitive structure or fire pit with the remnant stones.
We then reached the end of the trail but I had the park map downloaded before we left and saw we were close to the high point. I figured there had to be something at the high point so we started up along the ridge and we found something. The first thing I saw was this.
This is either a cold storage or a storm shelter that was attached to what I am assuming was a very primitive log house. The stone foundation was still neatly placed.
It had a small brick chimney.
Overall I'd recommend taking a few hours and exploring the area. It's also off the beaten path and you get a country drive feel getting to the trailhead. I'd also recommend checking out Richard Johnson's page for some other hiking ideas.
It's not quick to get to but that's kind of nice. Little trivia tidbit for you. When I-435 was being planned, MoDOT actually bought and designed a folded diamond interchange. I came across the plans one time and took a picture. Unfortunately, I cannot find it so I schematically drew it in using that incredible CAD system call MS Paint.
It was one of three interchanges on the I-435 loop that were planned for but not built.