Anytime is a great time to visit Big Sugar Creek State Park (7126 Big Sugar Creek Rd., Pineville, Missouri, 417-847-2539) because it’s open year-round from sunrise to sunset. Established in 1991, Big Sugar Creek State Park is located two hours southwest of Springfield and is home to 2,048 acres of beautiful oak and oak-pine savannas, steep hills, rock ledges and grassy glades that are rich with wildlife.
This rugged Elk Hills forest is crawling with animals and plants unique to southwest Missouri, which well represents its natural diversity. The clear-flowing streams contain one of the most distinctive fish habitats with many regionally restricted species. Bald eagles, armadillos and roadrunners are just a few of the animals you can spot here, and the prickly pear cactus is just one example of the 345 types of plants in the park. Other plants native to this part of the Ozarks include the Ozarks Chinquapin, Ozark Corn Salad and Arkansas Bedstraw.
The rich population of birds brings birdwatchers here to try their hand at spotting some of the 134 types of birds in the park. Eighty seven types of these birds are breeding residents in the area.