Although Missouri is not the first place to come to mind when thinking about islands, the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers actually contain quite a few. They are used for a wide variety of things such as wildlife and nature reserves, hunting and fishing spots, and mountain biking trails. Although many tiny islands can be seen in times of lower water, these 7 are noted for their size, beauty and function. Time to plan your next island escape, right here in Missouri.
1. Pelican Island Natural Area, Florissant
Pelican Island is considered to be one of the best remaining islands of the Missouri River in Missouri, a perfect example of a mature floodplain forest. It is the perfect spot for bird-watching in the spring, with large numbers of several varieties of migrant marblers coming to the island to sing their songs.
You can only access the island by boat. It is located on the eastern edge of Sioux Passage Park in St. Louis County, and signs in the park can direct you to the access point. Fishing is permitted as well as Deer hunting only through managed hunts. But don’t get lost! A map and compass are definitely a good idea when exploring the 2,260-acre island.
Check with the
St. Louis Regional Conservation Department
for maps and information.
2. Howell Island Conservation Area, Boone Township, St. Charles County
Howell Island Conservation Area is located in St. Charles County, across the Missouri River from the Weldon Spring Conservation Area. Covering 2,547 acres, the island is mostly forested in bottomland trees such as sycamore and cottonwood. Camping is permitted, but limited, and there is an 8.0-mile multi-use trail available for explorers. It is also a great fishing or hunting spot but you should consult
for restrictions and regulations.
Access to the island is obtained by a causeway over Centaur Chute. However, during high water, the causeway is usually flooded and access is by boat only.
3. McLean Island
McLean Island is a considered one of the best spots in Missouri for duck hunting. It is located 11 miles north of Caruthersville, just north of where Interstate 155 crosses the Mississippi River. The island consists of 1200 acres of wooded land, complete with roads and running water from a cased well. Visit
for more information.
4. Tebo Islands State Wildlife Management Area
Tebo Islands State Wildlife Management Area is a 211-acre park located in Benton County, and is part of the Harry S. Truman Reservoir Management Lands. It is only accessed by boat. To get to the access ramp you take Route PP north from Highway 7 to the Windsor Crossing boat ramp. You can reach the island by traveling southeast two miles down the lake from the ramp.
5. Bangert Island
A premier spot for mountain bikers, Bangert Island is a 160-acre park located between the Katy Trail and the Missouri River, just south of downtown St. Charles. It features a total of 4.2 miles of single track biking trails with varying levels of difficulty. Access by bridge can be limited due to seasonal flooding.
To get to the island you take the 5th Street exit in St. Charles, and head south. Bear left onto the South River Road, then left again onto Old South River Road, where parking is available on both sides of the road.
Check out this great video by You Tube user Brad Wester!
6. Tower Rock
Tower Rock is a geologic and historic landmark on the mighty Mississippi River near Wittenburg. The eons old limestone remnants were revealed after the river eroded away softer rocks over time. The rock stands about 60 feet above average river levels. Historical accounts of the island go back as far as the late 1600s, including being mapped by Louis and Clark around 1803.
It is located just west of Wittenburg off of Highway A. To see the island, travel south on County Road 460 south for about 1.5 miles. You will reach a parking lot with views of Tower Rock, or you can continue down 460 over the railroad tracks. Here there is a pull off on the north side of the road that features a trailhead for a short hiking trail up the hill to an official overlook.
7. Grand Tower Island
Grand Tower Island is located in a remote area on the left bank of the Mississippi River between St. Louis, and Cairo, Illinois. Even though it’s located on the eastern side of the river and is connected by road to Illinois, the island is actually part of Brazeau Township in Perry County, Missouri.
Island Road, a single north-south road, covers the island, which measures approximately 2 miles east to west and 2.75 miles north to south. It is this road that connects with Illinois 3.
Have you visited any of these islands? Do you know of any other Missouri islands? We would love to hear from you.