When I recently suggested a road trip north of St. Louis to my family, and they weren’t quite sure what to expect.
The truth was I felt the same. I prefer exploring spots south of I-44 in Missouri, so this was a step outside of my comfort zone.
What can I say? It was a sunny, fall day and I felt optimistic.
Based on our experiences that day, I’d like to suggest a few places to explore if you ever get to the eastern side of Missouri just north of St. Louis.
The Columbia Bottom Conservation Area is less than 30 minutes north of St. Louis. It is in the floodplain south of the Missouri and Mississippi River confluence.
It’s fairly easy to get to, but be aware that there is still damage due to major flooding back in 2019. However, what remains open is lovely, especially for people who love big, open spaces.
North of Columbia Bottom Conservation Area is the Edward “Ted” and Pat Jones-Confluence Point State Park. Despite the same 2019 flooding, one can still walk to the Confluence Point and stand where the two largest rivers in America meet.
It is also the spot where Western expansion started. The Lewis and Clark Expedition began their journey of discovery up the Missouri River from this location. It is also a great place to see waterfowl.
Speaking of waterfowl, 4 miles from the Confluence Point, travelers can visit the Audubon Center at Riverlands in West Alton, Mo. Their goal is to “inspire conservation of the river’s rich diversity in birds, wildlife and other natural resources.”
If you’d like more information about the Audubon Center at Riverlands before you visit in person, check out their website at riverlands.audubon.org.
Another thing that caught my eye as we drove alongside the Mississippi River was the Melvin Price Lock and Dam. We parked the car for a better view.
It was built by the Army Corps of Engineers to replace Lock and Dam 26 that was demolished in 1990. The Melvin Price Lock and Dam started full operations on October 10, 1989.
We just took a gander at it from the parking lot. My hope is to return one day and take a tour of it.
If you are interested in learning more about the tour of the lock and dam offered through the National Great Rivers Museum, visit them at www.mtrf.org.
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I decided to rectify the situation with my iPhone and a quick Google search. I learned that Melvin Price was born in East St. Louis in 1905. He attended St. Louis University and for several years wrote for newspapers in St. Louis and East St. Louis.