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When is the reserve open?

Regular Hours (September 1 - March 31): 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Extended Hours (April 1 - August 31): 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

How do I get there?

Shaw Nature Reserve is on I-44 in Gray Summit, Missouri, approximately 32 miles southwest of the Missouri Botanical Garden (in St. Louis) and 22 miles west of the I-44/I-270 interchange. The Gray Summit I-44 exit is #253, just two exits west of Six Flags (Allenton/Eureka).

  • Westbound I-44 from exit ramp, turn left, crossing over I-44. Turn right at the intersection (at the Phillips 66) and go 50 yards to the large iron gates on the left side of the road.
  • Eastbound I-44, from exit ramp #253, turn right at top of ramp and then another right at at intersection (at the Phillips 66) and go 50 yards to the large iron gates on the left side of the road.

Is there a visitor center?


We ask that all visitors stop to register at the Visitor Center, located at the entrance.  First time visitors will receive a map of the hiking trails and helpful suggestions. Trail guides and books on natural history and other related topics are available for purchase.

May I bicycle on the grounds?

We welcome bicycles at the Reserve, but we ask that you bike on the service roads only.  There are approximately 7 miles of gravel road.  There are bicycle racks at major trail heads where you can park your bikes and take a hike.

Shaw Nature Reserve trail map

Can I use a stroller on the paths?

The larger and thicker the tires of a stroller, the smoother the ride on Shaw Nature Reserve's paths. The Whitmire Wildflower Garden and the Bascom House are easily managed with all types of strollers, but we recommend large tires on hiking trails. Many hikers choose to use a backpack carrier on uneven hiking trails. 

Visitor information

Are there eating facilities on the grounds?

The Reserve itself has no food concessions but does have three picnic areas – one near the Visitor Center, one behind the Bascom House, and one located at the Trail House.   We do not allow grilling, however.

Restaurants near us

Are you open all year?

Yes!  We are open for visitors year round.  In fact, in winter when we get a good snow, the Reserve is a wonderful place to cross country ski.

Shaw Nature Reserve hours

Do you allow pets?

No, not even on a leash.  No pets are allowed on the grounds.

Do you have restrooms and water fountains?


Restrooms and water fountains are located at the Visitor Center, Bascom House, and Trail House.  There is also a water fountain at the Bus Stop but no restroom.

Is there poison ivy at the reserve?

Yes, poison ivy is a native plant and an important food source for many birds.  We try to keep poison ivy away from the trails but it grows where it wants to so learn how to identify it if you are allergic.

We also have stinging nettle here.  The best way to avoid plants that may harm you is to stay on the trails.

Are there ticks and chiggers at the reserve?

Yes. To avoid getting ticks and chiggers try not to touch vegetation, use insect repellent, and wash soon after hiking. If you do get a tick on you remove it immediately and inform your doctor.

more about ticks

more about chiggers

The best way to avoid insects that may harm you is to stay on the trails.