In the rolling, forested landscape of Big Spring, two of America's most beautiful spring-fed rivers combine to make up the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
As the first national park area to protect a wild river system, visitors have plenty of scenic water activities to enjoy as well as hiking, horseback riding and wildlife viewing.
The Current River flows past the campground, offering excellent canoeing, tubing, swimming and fishing. Over 130 miles of waterways exist within the park. Canoe and kayak rentals and outfitters can be found nearby.
Several miles of hiking and horseback riding trails crisscross the region, include the Alley Overlook Trail, Chubb Hollow Trail, Ozark Trail, Cave Spring Trail and Big Springs Trail.
This year-round campground has flush toilets and shower facilities available. Picnic tables, fire rings, and grills are provided. Roads and parking spurs are paved.
Ranger-led campfire programs are offered in the campground amphitheater during summer months.
Reservations are accepted for three different group picnic areas. Be sure to specify which picnic area you desire. Big Spring Group Picnic Site is at the spring; Peavine and Chubb Hollow are along the river.
The Ozark National Scenic Riverways is known for its caves, springs, sinkholes and losing streams, and features over 300 identified caves within its boundaries. The caves range in size from a rock overhang to almost seven miles of identified passages. Eight caves, including an open sinkhole, have been designated as outstanding natural features.
The Ozark forest is mostly White oak and Shortleaf pine, Missouri's only native pine species. Along the rivers, Sycamore, Cottonwood, River birch and maples are common.
Redbud and dogwoods are also abundant, putting on a spectacular show during most spring months.
Scenic Big Spring is the largest freshwater spring in North America and produces an outflow of 280 million gallons a day.
Round Spring Cave is nearby, with ranger-guided tours offered daily during summer months. Historic and picturesque Alley Mill and Alley Spring are also nearby. The mill is open daily in the summer and ranger-guided tours are available upon request.
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I had a great time but it was off season. In peak times it would be easy to be stacked on stacks …
We stayed at the Big Spring Campground for a quick weekend away. Only 2.5 hr drive for us. The Big Spring is really an impressive sight.
The NPS Staff was very friendly and did not mind all my questions about the park or spring or wildlife. They had a presentation in the Amphitheater while we were there but missed it cause the kids were just enjoying running around so much.
Short hikes on some maintained sand trails from the campgrounds to the river. I regretted not bringing my water shoes for the river, rock bottom.
The whole place looked well maintained, some of the back campsites possibly under renovation. We were in the 400 loop and they had new fire rings with gravel pads around them installed recently.
Plenty of deadfall to collect for firewood which was great since you cannot bring in your own firewood.
It’s a great place on the current river to camp then go floating. Make sure you stop at the jolly cone for some great food.
For Labor Day we stayed at Big Spring State Park CG, near Van Buren, Missouri which is part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
We arrived Friday afternoon and set up camp in the 100 loop, which are primitive campsites with fire ring, picnic table and lantern hook. Nice shady outer ring with plenty of room to set up your area. The inner ring is less private and lacking in shade. There are trails from the back sites to the river and the wading/swimming was nice. Where your hiking shoes to get there, and pack your water shoes you’ll probably want them for the rocky river bottom.
In May 2017 the area had major flooding. ( A Park Ranger put on a very informative slide show about it Friday evening) The park is still in the process of rebuilding many of its structures. That being said there are porta pots in two of the campground loops and some of the trails are closed still. The actual showerhouse was extremely busy and not well maintained. Spiders galore, three claustrophobic shower stalls (one was inoperable) with questionable cleanliness and the configuration is just weird. I’ve said it before , it’s unfortunate that the state does not keep these awesome areas maintained.
The campground was full but we still had privacy and the noise was never intrusive on our activities.
Big Spring is pretty awesome. There is a trail that circles up around the spring to the far side and several areas to take pictures from. It’s worth the visit to see the spring. We will visit again but I think I will take my field shower!
Big spring is big blue and beautiful…camp spots have a dispersed feel. Close to other amenities
Very neat to see! Water bubbling outta the ground making a whole River! Campground was nice , limited electric spots but loads of primitive sites. The campground is in the middle of a bunch of other parks so plenty to do. What was sorta depressing was all the park buildings that are not being kept up or used. Our parks are in trouble :(