Across the Show-Me State, some 59 waterways are said to be worthy of float trips. Here’s a quick look at just a few of those waterways and what makes them special.
Take note: Most of these locations are found in the Ozarks of southern Missouri. The first two make up the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, a national park devoted to the preservation of these streams.
Current River – The top stretches beginning at the river’s headwaters in Montauk State Park are the best. Baptist Camp to Cedargrove, Cedargrove to Akers, Akers to Pulltite and Pulltite to Round Spring are all wonderful day floats. Be sure to visit the ruins of the old sanitarium at Welch Spring, upstream of Akers Ferry.
Jacks Fork – The bluff-lined top of the river is called The Prongs; it is one of the most wild and scenic river stretches in Missouri. The river from Alley Spring to Eminence usually has floatable water year-round because of the flow from the spring. River’s Edge Resort, right on the river in Eminence, offers a variety of lodging.
The Upper Meramec – The top section, from Short Bend to Cook Station, is beautiful wilderness, but floatable only in good water. The river down to Meramec State Park is great for family floats. Lodging, camping and float trips are available at the state park, and from local outfitters.
Huzzah Creek – A lovely, gentle stream with plenty of gravel bars for picnicking and swimming.
Courtois Creek – Much like its sister river, the Huzzah. A nice float begins at Bass' River Resort or Huzzah Valley campground and ends at the low-water bridge at Scotia.
Black River – Known for its clarity, the river has several float outfitters in and around Lesterville. The East Fork of the Black (not floatable, but well worth a visit) flows through Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park.
Niangua River – This river begins at Bennett Spring State Park, 12 miles west of Lebanon. Popular with floaters from Kansas City and Springfield, it can be crowded on summer Saturdays. Lodging is available at the park and at nearby motels that cater to the trout anglers.
North Fork of the White River – Locally referred to simply as The North Fork, this is a fabulous float that is less crowded because of its location near the Arkansas border in south-central Missouri. A good day float begins at the Hammond Camp access near Dora and ends at River of Life Farm, a resort with a restaurant and cabins at the river’s edge.
The Elk River – In extreme southwest Missouri, the Elk is popular with floaters from that section of the Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. There are many gravel bars and the water is extremely clear.
Eleven Point – A gorgeous float, especially from the Greer Spring access to Turner Mill. The spring adds 220 million gallons of clear, cold water to the river each day, making for good floating throughout the year. Take the mile-long hike down to the spring and see one of Missouri’s most beautiful spots.
Again, these are just a few of the fantastic float trips waiting for you in Missouri – the Show-Me State. For listings of all of Missouri’s floatable streams and float outfitters, visit Missouri Canoe & Floaters Association website. Learn more about these and other outdoor opportunities at VisitMO.com.