We spent four days at the park with friends during the higher rain and very, high river. I have never seen the river through the park so high to the top of the banks. The park as usual was yet maintained in almost perfect conditions, staff was very nice. We spent time walking around the park, relaxing and just talking. The only slight below norms was their wifi was very poor and didn't work half the time so that angered some campers but didn't bother us one bit, we don't go into the woods not to watch tv anyway.
We love it here. Sites that can accommodate tents and/or RVs. Its clean and well maintained. Multiple access points to the water. Educational programs and entertainment of some sort most every weekend. Pet friendly.
While clean the major problem is the total lack of both cell phone (five miles away you can call) and the usual silly wifi setup. Next comes the river facts…..shallow as in ankle deep most of the time. Cool at flood stage at a depth of four feet over most of the park run. Oh almost forgot the standing in sewage water at the dump station. Overflowing tanks just before the Memorial Day holiday------sound odd to you too? Friday before at ten in the morning….
Did see a sewage tanker truck going toward the park as we were heading out to 67------guess my timing was off again.
Was very still and a good camping set up except for the wifi and lack of ability to connect with the outside world. Problem finding a satellite able spot but there are a few with a clear south view.
Sam A Baker is an amazing state park. Great access to water and awesome landscapes. There’s lots of hiking available but we spent most of our time in the water. You can actually tube from one end of the park by the visitor center to the boat ramp on the other end. Sites are fairly close in some areas and on top of each other in others. All in all loved our stay an we will be back.
There are several places to access the river and the site we stayed at was very spacious(note not all sites are).
Sam A Baker has a large selection of sites. Perfect for tent camping or Campers of any size. Great trail selection, many moderate trails, but there are many options for those with young children as well.
Equestrian sites are never hardly used and we have came on all major holidays. Electricity is only every other site which sucks if your trying to camp with friends. Have to use the human camp ground showers vault toilets in camp area. Love the trails but river crossing can be hard to find. Always shaded spots. There’s camp store and you can float trip or go play in river.
I was very excited to finally get to check out Sam A. Baker State Park as I had heard great things about beautiful land. The drive to the park was very pretty indeed, my husband and I enjoyed the view on the way in. My first impression upon entering the park was that this place is huge! There are 2 huge campgrounds (around 100 sites each!) and a nice paved bike path connecting them. There is also a visitor’s center were you pay for your campsite, a camp store that sells all kinds of things, a small restaurant, equestrian campsites, cabins, and an equestrian trail. We set up our tent in a basic site with no electricity, which was nice that it put us a little bit away from RVs and campers. The sites are very close together and even on one of the hottest weekends of the year the campgrounds were full! They do allow advanced reservations and I would definitely recommend them in the summer. The basic site cost $13/night and was close to a shower house with flushing toilets and a water spigot. Since it was such a hot weekend, Saturday morning we decided to the 4 mile float the campground offers. They depart at 10am or 11 am from the boat ramp at campground 1. They have a bus that picks you up at the end at either 2pm or 4pm. We paid $40 for our canoe for the afternoon. It was nice to float a different river, but the St. Francois (at least near Sam A. Baker) was pretty murky and you couldn’t see your feet in about knee-deep water. There were also tons of trees down in the water, making it a more technical trip at some points and even requiring us to get out and portage our canoe for about 25 yards. Although the price for the float was decent, the distance was very short (without stops, it would take about 1.5-2 hours). I think next time I would choose to just play and relax in the river near the campground rather than do that float again. The park also has some backcountry trails with backcountry campsites and is near the Ozark Trail. My husband and I really wanted to explore the trails and see if it connected to the Ozark Trail, but because of the heat the weekend we were there we didn’t get a chance to. Most of the trails are shared use, meaning foot and horse, which is never great for the hikers on foot. We wanted to be able to see the true condition for ourselves, but I guess that will have to wait until next time!
- Full amenities (showers, water, electric, store, restaurant)
- Lot of activities (river floats, fishing, swimming, equestrian trails, backcountry trails, amphitheater, bike path)
- Very popular, and therefore very crowded
- While it was pretty, it did not feel exceptional in any way.
Product Review: Snapbuds
As a Dyrt Ranger, I get the honor of reviewing products from time to time. This trip I got to highlight Snapbuds. They are a magnetic earbud cord organization system. If that sounds complicated, they are. They are a series of magnets that you clip around your earbud cords so that when you wrap up the cord it stays in place. This is to prevent the inexplicable phenomenon that is setting down your earbuds perfectly coiled, not touching them, then finding them in a yarn ball like knot the next day. They certainly do help with that problem. However, I have noticed since I am now coiling my earbuds the same way each time, they get twisted up after a few uses. The set up process is not entirely intuitive. You lay your earbuds on the provided guide and tape them down. Then you snap the buds in the locations of the wrap you want to achieve. Once the buds are placed, they are not supposed to be able to be moved, but you can pry them back open with a fingernail or slide them down with a bit of force. I found that the indicated placement to wrap around your hand or phone was not where they should line up for my hand or phone once I placed them. This required me to remove or slid each bud. Since they are magnets, if your cords are slightly twisted and the buds line up so the poles of the magnet don’t attract, you have to flip them and it doesn’t look as nice. Also, the magnet will be attracted to anything metal, so when using these at my desk, I have to be careful around my laptop. The buds do add a little weight to your earbuds, but it’s not bad. I did find that wearing the earbuds with snapbuds on them while running was a little annoying, since you have magnets hitting you in the chest with each stride. After each use you have to careful wrap the cord to match up. All in all, I don’t feel like this a worthwhile solution to the problem. At $10 per set, I feel like I would just rather continue to coil the cord at my leisure and keep them in place with an old hair clip.
- They do offer a solution to a common problem
- You can get them branded and use them as a promotional item
- Still causes issues with coiling nicely
- Not intuitive to install
- Magnates get attracted to metal around you
- Magnets add weight to earbuds
- Still had to invest time into untangling and coiling. Didn’t feel like it saved me anytime.
The campground was clean and looked nice. The bathroom and shower house by the river were disgusting.
We absolutely loved this state park! It's easily our favorite Missouri state park to visit with our kiddos. There's just so much to do! The campsites are nicely spaced and clean. Expect plenty of sand at your site (my kids loved this, of course). There's a paved bike path that runs through the park. We took bike rides every day! We were pleasantly surprised that Big Creek was clear, cool and shallow (at least where we were). Swimming in the creek was one of our favorite activities each day… even having a 2 year old. The kids caught and released huge bull frogs and tons of minnows. We also enjoyed the evening presence of deer. Shower house and bathrooms were as clean as to be expected from a packed campground. This park also has a couple of on site stores in case you forget swim shoes or even swimsuits (like we did). You can even rent kayaks and canoes!