This area with its beautiful creek, camp and picnic grounds is located between Fredericktown and Arcadia, MO. Marble Creek, rushing 20 miles through the rugged St. Francis Mountains, is named for deposits of attractively colored dolomites which were mined and used in the building trade as “Taum Sauk Marble”. Within the recreation area, you can see the concrete remains of a grist mill dam and building foundation. This dam was the third to be built here and was operated until 1935. This quiet campground and recreation area is the main trailhead for the Marble Creek Section of the Ozark Trail. This 8-mile segment goes to Crane Lake and is open for hiking, equestrian and mountain bike use. Horses are allowed at trailhead, but not within campground or picnic area.
It is shaped by Marble Creek, from overhead it looks the piece to a puzzle, no matter where you are in the campground any direction takes you to the water. There is hiking, it is in a National Forest that allows Dispersed Camping outside designated areas and off roads. It is a pure delight natural water park, in the capital of natural water parks The St. Francois Mountains where creeks and rivers have "natural shut-ins" . The area around Black Mountain next door in the National Forest is a natural wilderness area, filled with geo features not marked on any maps and seldom ever photographed. Some of the largest gorges and canyons in Missouri are nearby, waterfalls (seasonal). Marble Creek flows into the St. Francois River a short distance away. 16 miles west of Fredericktown Missouri on Madison County Road E
quiet and peaceful. sunrise is stunning over the water as well as sunset.
My favorite part of Marble creek is the low noise, low traffic and you can always find a spot open. A few of the sights are right on the water which is a nice perk. Most sites are nicely separate by trees and brush, and a few in the front are more open and close together, better for groups. You can spend the day floating in the river or swimming near the little shut-ins watering hole. Fire wood can be purchased about a mile up the road for fairly cheep.
Vault toilets are usually clean and not too buggy. It appears to not have any water taps though, so bring your own! The Ozark trail passes through the camp and you can hike this (or drive) up to Crane lake. There is also a day use area with picnic tables and is close to the water so you can get in and swim. We love to come here for the quiet, low key atmosphere.
We were the only ones here on a weekday in the off season and it was fantastic. The campsites were clean, the waterways were clean, and no one bothered us. We could hear cows and barking dogs from the surrounding homeowners, so bring ear plugs if those kind of sounds bother you.
If Johnson Shut ins is full (which is likely if you don’t plan way ahead), then this is another option. Usually not too crowded, the campground isn’t anything spectacular, but you are still able to get to Taum Sauk, Elephant Rock, it Johnson Shut ins in a reasonable amount of time. Plus, there’s a great ice cream place and restaurant nearby in Arcadia.
Great camping site for visiting Elephant Rocks State Park, Taum Sauk Mountain and Johnson River Shut Ins.
The campground is an adventure to get to. Located on a winding road off of 72/21 just south of Arcadia. Nice campsites close to the creek. None are on top of each other so there is a nice bit of space between you and your neighbor which provides some privacy. Campsites are well maintained with fire rings and picnic tables in each site. There is a public pit toilet in the center of the campsites near the entrance. This is a nice location in close proximity to both Elephant Rocks and Johnson Shut-Ins.
This spot was perfect for our group of friends bringing children! Site # 20 had a perfect path to the water, and a reasonable creek walk up to a swimming hole.
The campground is beautiful and the sites are spaced apart so that you don't feel like you're camping on top of your neighbors. We were able to camp right next to the creek and it was amazing. They only have vault toilets that area reasonably clean and stocked with toilet paper. No fresh water on site, we had to drive into town on Saturday to buy a few gallons. No electricty. $10 per site per night, but well worth it!
Also, Marble Creek is the starting point for the only free standing portion of the Ozark Trail. It is 8 miles from Marble Creek to Crane Lake.
Marble Creek is nestled in the Ozark's. It's a very pretty drive into the campground. It is about 20-25 minutes from Taum Sauk Mountain State Park. The problem is the campground itself is very ordinary. It does get points for good shade trees for the camp sights along the exterior of the loop.
The bathrooms are pit toilets and the interior camp sites are open and boring. Marble Creek is okay, but with Taum Sauk Mountain less than a half and hour away, skip Marble Creek and go to Taum Sauk.
The main positive point for Marble Creek is that the campground is very empty, so if you like to camp where there are less people, this is a good place.