CHRISTIAN COUNTY, Mo. – You can enjoy the outdoors almost anywhere in Christian County, but very few places will offer 2700 acres. Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area is open seven days a week off Highway 65.

It’s a place where you can go horseback riding, bike riding or hiking. OzarksFirst spoke with Kate Benton, who says Busiek is a fun place to visit.

“Whenever you can get back where the highway noise doesn’t reach you anymore then it’s really nice,” Benton said. “It’s also not too far outside of Springfield.”

Benton was visiting with her friend Kendall Nakato.

“There’s lots of nature here and animals you can see,” Nakato said. “It’s just relaxing out here. We like to walk through the creek and hike on the trails when it’s nice outside.”

Busiek State Forest offers 18 miles of hiking trails. Each trail is marked with a color. There are eight campsites, one of which can be reserved for group camping. Hunting also happens there, including deer hunting in the fall, turkey hunting in the spring, and squirrels and rabbits.

People can also test out their guns at Busiek’s unstaffed shooting range. Tyler Allen makes sure to get his shots in there.

“It’s awfully busy down here quite a bit,” Allen said. “The people who don’t know it’s here should come down and check it out because it’s a great place to bring your family. I come down here a couple times a month at least in the summertime. Sometimes more than that just depending on what’s going on.”

Francis Skalicky with the Missouri Department of Conservation said the trails take hikers into some great vistas for photo-taking during their hike.

“It’s close to Springfield. It’s close to Branson it’s close to Ozark close to Nixa,” said Skalicky. “However you slice it, it is just a great little area where people can learn about what’s available in the outdoors in this part of the state.”

For novice hikers or those who are not familiar with the area, there are maps online, but Skalicky recommends a paper map if you think you need one because phone service can be spotty.

“If you get lost, keep walking,” he said. “Busiek is a small enough area, all the trails will eventually lead you to a parking lot, to another trail, so it’s not like you’ll dead-end anywhere and you’ll be in the middle of the area. If you’re on a trail and you kind of lose your bearings, just keep walking and that trail will eventually lead you out of the area.”

Skalicky said anyone who does get lost at Busiek as it begins to get dark can dial 911 for assistance.

The Missouri Department of Conservation has more information about Busiek State Forest on its website.