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This is a new(ish) and well maintained campground. It is located on the Black River, and the water flowing through the shut-ins is crystal clear and cool. We weren’t there during the summer months, but I am sure this park is busy when the weather is good for swimming. We stayed at the campground at the end of September when the leaves were just starting to change colors and it was beautiful.
All the sites have concrete pads and there is plenty of space between sites with lots of trees. There is also a walking path that cuts through the middle of both loop 2 and 3. This is great if you are planning trips with friends and family but can’t get sites directly next to each other. The park has a great general store which is centrally located and there is a nice big laundry facility attached if you need it. We didn’t use the bathroom/shower facilities while we were there due to covid, so I unfortunately don’t have information about those for you.
Be aware the shut-ins are separate from the campgrounds. This can be either a positive detail or a negative depending on how you look at it. It’s only bad if you are concerned about the fact that you have to drive or walk to go play in the water. However, I think the good outweighs the bad in this case.
Although we weren’t there during the warmer/swimming months, I can imagine the park gets pretty busy during the weekends and hot days. So the positive is, if you are camping, that the campground area won’t be busy with day-use visitors because the park is split up. Which means, you can still enjoy the peace and quiet if you aren’t playing at the actual shut-ins. That is definitely a plus in my book.
The only issue we had was there was nobody at the gate to check us in. We had to check in by text or we could scan a QR code and there were no campsite maps available either. So hopefully you have better phone service then we had, and make sure to download a site map so you can find your campsite more easily.
Overall, the park is great. The shut-ins are beautiful and if you are into exploring the area around Johnson’s Shut-ins there are multiple state parks nearby where you can drive to and do some more exploring.
This is a perfect spot for a pass though. 3 back in spots with fire pits and tables. Road coming into the camp ground can get a little rough depending on season, but it’s gravel. Spots are perfect for smaller rigs. Sites are only a few miles from our house, we use it to test out new gear (hammocks)
General Watkins has a good amount of ponds (great fishing) and has a few good walking/ small hiking trails.
This campground will always be packed for Missouri firearm deer season. Mid November. But normally has open spots rest of the time.
My family always camp there during Memorial Weekend while growing up. This camping ground is right by the river. This place has transformed where they offer little but of everything and reserve ahead of time. I highly recommend you reserve canoe or Kayak at time of your camping reservation. If you love to stargaze then head out to open land and enjoy the night sky and bring a telescope.
Pretty scenery. Kind of crowded though.
Very nice campground with nice showers and clean bathrooms. Camp sites were somewhat close together so hope you like neighbors. We didn’t check the nearby trails to the shut-ins before coming. The shut-ins trail DOES NOT allow dogs so that’s a bummer. Found some other local hiking trails so overall it wasn’t too bad.
Big Creek is very nice setting with all the amenities, including Wifi and Laundry facility. Great little pool in middle of park. Spots were clean and easy to back into or pull through. A little too close to one another for my liking, but well put together and level. Camp Host very nice and helpful woman and prices were reasonable, especially for firewood and propane. Great little hiking/ biking path along creek that runs along park. Be advised, not a lot of supplies nearby. Make sure you bring with you.
We went day after Labor Day and had no problem and she got us in early. Stayed 3 nights.
Verizon worked ok. T- Mobile very poor.
We loved our waterfront campsite. We had a section of the river to ourselves and it was a large private spot.
The site was rocky, so mats would be hard (but we had an air mattress, so we were fine).
The water is spring-fed and very clear and beautiful.
Be sure to visit the nearby springs and sites of the recreational area. The springs are so deep blue and dramatic against the rocky cliffs.
Hearing the sounds of the river and the chirping birds at night was amazing.
It was a bit buggy but we were prepared.
We loved this clean and beautiful campground! We stayed in the fall and the colors were amazing. Our kids loved climbing all over the shut-ins. We have already planned to return in the summer to swim! Well maintained facilities and the store had everything you could need. Nice paved sites that have picnic tables & fire pits.