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Mark Twain National Forest, MISSOURI
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Most Recent Mark Twain National Forest Camping Reviews
Annual Trip

My family has been going every year for over 40 years. An amazing place full of memories, right next to Current River and the Baptist Camp launch site.

Fan-fun-tastic

Clean campground. Plenty of space.

Blue, blue, blue, cold, cold, cold

Blue Spring is beautiful and cold! Aside from the over zealous teenagers jumping into the spring it was a nice visit.

This is a primitive camping area and there are a lot of partying people in and around this area plus frequent motorboat traffic. No amenities, many generators. Drive in, pick a spot and set up camp. There are so many areas to visit around the river this would be an excellent base camp or you could use it as a stop off on a float trip.

Eminence, MO is nearby and a good place to refuel and get stuff you need for your adventures. Make sure you get a paper map because phone signal can be iffy.

Moist

Love visiting this area. Big Spring Campgrounds near Van Buren, MO is still being renovated after the flood in 2017.

That being said porta pots are in evidence but they were clean. The showerhouse is crowded and old. The only one for the entire campground and three shower stalls. You have room to spread out in your site, privacy andshade if your on the outer loop. A short walk to the river to wade or swim but there is a good current so be aware and wear water shoes.

All about your neighbors

Round Springs in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways of MO is one of the smaller campground areas but it still has some options.

Single or group sites with nearby put in to the Current River make it ideal. Unfortunately the party climate of the area can make it less then ideal depending on who you get in the site next to or across from you. I love this area but it’s popularity takes away from the charm. Some people don’t respect their fellow campers and realize everyone wants to have a good time. Not much problem with wildlife the crowds keep them away but raccoons are still prevalent so store your food properly ;) Saw some deer but that was about it. People also use generators in the non-electric sites so you may be unfortunate enough to be next to them.

That being said it’s still possible to find some areas that are less populated and popular but still interesting to explore.Or if you are going to party, you will be in like company. Plenty to hike, float and explore in the immediate area!

The past and the present

Alley Spring near Eminence, in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways of MO is in my opinion one of the best areas in this region.

There was a flood in 2017 which is a good and bad thing. Unfortunately MO has cut funding to the parks so prior to the flood the maintenance had dropped off considerably, many facilities had been closed and are no longer used due to the neglect. Since the flood there has been and is a lot of renovations going on. It’s not there yet. Some areas are still closed.

Alley Spring is somewhere in the midst of renovation. Still excellent area to camp in with mostly private sites. There are a few that aren’t so great but if you reserve ahead and stay out of the inner area you should be pretty happy with your location.

The nearby rental place for the river will come to you for pickup, there are some nice trails to explore and supposedly wild horses in the area. I’ve not seen them yet.

The spring is beautiful! Tranquility comes to mind when you see it. The trail that climbs above the spring to the overlook is moderate and unfortunately the overlook itself is damaged so you don’t get quite the same view as before. The trail also meanders around the mill and spring, if your lucky you will see the adorable muskrat that resides in the area.

There are pavilions for get together sand a small store with interesting things to see and a cold drink at the end of your journey.

Aqua central!

Van Buren, MO is in the midst of to the Ozark National Scenic Riverway. This whole area is party central for water lovers that spend their vacation time either motoring, floating or sitting along the Current River and the several natural springs that feed into it. 

Big Spring State Park is nearby with plenty of camping options. The campground is still under renovation due to the 2017 flood. There is a showerhouse used by all that is a bit cryptic and bug infested. There is one flush toilet in the first campground loop, the other two loops have porta pots. Picnic table, fire ring and lantern hook on semi-private, mostly level sites. Some have more shade then others. Also a group site is available. 

Skyline Drive is the scenic roadway through the Mark Twain National Forest in this area of the state. There are several areas that people camp on the Current River sand bars. If your looking to commune with nature it is possible even with the crowd, they stick mostly to the river.

Eminence, MO is the crossroads to several of the springs and Current River areas. Food , fuel and shopping.

Definitely a destination camping area.

Closed

Unfortunately PowderMill is closed due to the flood damage in 2017. The limited funding for repairs of the area has caused several sites to be left to the elements and they are slowly being reclaimed by nature…maybe not a horrible thing ;)

There are still several areas to choose from that are currently being rebuilt/reclaimed.

New and lots of concrete

Visited in October - weekday without reservations - The process for securing campsites is awkward at best as it is staffed for very limited hours. It seems a pretty new campground, nice restroom facilities (individual toilet/sink rooms). We are tent campers and in Oct. we tend to look for sites with electric because it gets dark so early - all the electric sites have these massive concrete pads - "double wides" - that actually also include the fire pit! We thought this was a lot of hardscape in a natural setting and so checked out the basic loop and it was the same thing. There are walk-in sites which we did not check out that I presume are not concrete. Unfortunately there hasn't been much attention given to tenter's needs as the concrete slabs are relatively level but area around them (if there is enough available for a tent) is pretty slopey - the staff person suggested putting our tent on the concrete!!! We slept slopey - it was OK. Also the first site we set up in - the 20amp circuit breaker wasn't working so we had to switch after having set up our tent - lesson learned: check breakers first! One more thing: we are very conscientious about not moving firewood and are willing to spend premium to buy firewood from the Park concession. This wood was WET and $1 a stick - come on ….. The park and neighboring parks in the area are well worth visiting.

Busy, busy, busy

Echo Bluff State Park in Ozark National Scenic Riverways near Eminence, MO is a brand new “old camp”. 

Opened in 2016 the history is rather interesting. From 1929 until the 1980s, Camp Zoe was a children’s summer camp, founded by Russell S. and Margaret McMahan Louis County teachers. There is one of the structures still on site with plaques and information. More recently, it was home to music festivals — and an open-air drug market. I didn’t find any plaques in relation to that. However when the government gained control of the land in a court proceeding it was decided to bring more business into Shannon County by opening a very nice campground for people not wanting to rough it. 

And “BAM” you have very pricey accommodations from lodge rooms, to cabins and two story condos. The campground is pretty nice too but lacking in shade and privacy. There are walk-in (uphill) sites and nice wagons provided to transport your gear. Not my favorite style of camping. Completely full and busy, which is why it got a 4 instead of 5 star. This may be your type of camping and you would say a 5 star. Reserve ahead, I mean way ahead.

There is a huge pavilion that can be reserved that overlooks the area. It has a large fire pit and mega size grill, one of the trails meanders below the pavilion. This would be a nice venue for an extended family get together.

This is a very nice, new, recreation creation. The playground was given two thumbs up by my granddaughter. Then the river, which you can see from the lodge and playground was given 12 paws and 2 thumbs by dogs and grandkids alike. Crystal clear ice cold water that you can walk across to the sheer wall of rock. Bring your water shoes, the rocks aren’t fun to walk on.

A very cool feature , if you are lucky , you will see the wild horses that roam the area. They are not for petting, so use caution. 

Aside from the abundance of people we enjoyed Echo Bluff SP.

Worth a month of vacation time

Big Spring, Ozark National Scenic River is one of many springs to visit in this area.

The river is very well used by the party crowd, several of the rocky sand bars are occupied by RV group sites playing loud music and obvious alcoholic beverage consumption. I’m not against a good time but the trash they leave and their obvious disregard for the preservation of natural sites is not conducive the the purpose of the conservation effort. It is still possible to enjoy the area and there are places to get away from the crowd.

In 2017 the area had a major flood and renovations are slow. There are porta pots in some of the campgrounds and the showerhouse is in bad shape. There are three campground areas and a group site near the spring. They have a grill, fire ring and lantern pole. The sites are good sized and depending on which site your in you will have shade and privacy. Several are near short trails to the river. Some of the trails are still closed and other areas may never open back up.

We waded with water shoes on and hiked to several locations. I think I will come back in the colder months when the flow of tourist has lessened and the sites are less traveled.

It is a destination location. There is a nice little collection of stores in the area. With a coffee shop and apparel store to name a few. That area is frequented by the equestrian crowd but everyone is welcome.

We drove through Eminence, Missouri several times. It is one of the main intersections to the different areas. There are two restaurants, sit down and drive up plus a Sinclair for fuel.

Bring your water craft and keep your tank on full there is a lot to see in the area with a few miles in between.

Needs some State government love

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!

A river runs through it

Round Springs campground on the Ozark Scenic River is one of the nicest on the River. Campsites at Round Spring are mostly flat, and there are a few electric sites, but no water. So fill your tank before arriving. There is a dump station. It is a popular park in summer and fall, so reservations are advised. This is a popular campground for canoeing on the Current River, also fishing and hiking. There is also a small cavern with ranger tours

Beat Missouri State Park

I have been camping at Montauk since the mid 1960's. We spent many family vacations camping and trout fishing the head waters of the Current River in Montauk. The staff are all really friendly and the lodge has good food with a nice buffet on the weekends. It's a busy park so it's best to make reservations unless you are arriving during the week but that can still be an issue some weeks. During the fall you can get some good colors.

Fun primitive camping

nice Scenic remote area, good for wading and trout fishing. It is also a beautiful place to float with the family. Campground is very primitive you have to walk up a large Hill to get to the porta potty and is sometimes noisy with all the floaters but all in all a great place to go.

Wonderful place for a relaxing family weekend.

Very quiet and clean. Bathroom/ shower houses are clean and well stocked. Campground host take job very serious, 1 time had noisy Neighbors, host had them removed immediately after they refused to quiet down. Lits of hiking and biking areas, multiple playgrounds with good equipment for the kids. Largest fishing area i have personally been to in a state park. Lodge has good food at good prices. Been going to montauk all my life never had a bad experience.

Absolutely Beautiful

COE Campground. Electric and Water Only. 21.00 night. Paved sites fairly level. Large sites. All but a few sites are lakefront. Immaculate. Hosts are wonderful. Small to large rigs accepted. Only con is this campground books FAST. ESP summer months. Love it and can't wait to return.

Nature at it’s best. Unique and beautiful .

This is the newest state park in MO. The campground is located at the bottom of a steep grade hill in an open area. New trees have been planted throughout the campground with established mature trees surrounding the outer boundaries. Basic and premium sites are available for RV’s and trailers along with a separate area for tent camping only. Pull type wagons are provided for tent campers to haul their belongings to their campsites. Restrooms and showers are conveniently located within the campground. A Clearwater creek is a short walk from the campground where swimming and floating may be enjoyed. The “Current River” is also less than a mile away and canoe rentals offer free pickup at the campground. One of the most unique aspects of the campground is the periodic presence of wild horses who roam freely throughout the campground and park. There are several well established hiking and biking trails.

Quiet, large, next to Current River in NPS managed area

Big spring is big blue and beautiful…camp spots have a dispersed feel. Close to other amenities

Nice family friendly campground.

We have been camping at Montauk since the mid 1960's. The campground isn't the best place since it floods so the sites can take a beating. The staff are friendly. Bring plenty of garden hose some sites have a 150' reach to a faucet. Summertime is always busy so reservations are a good idea. The lodge has good home cooked meals and they have a ice cream bar. You can get some camping supplies at the store and they have a full line of fishing supplies since Montauk is a put-n-take trout river.

Popular Campground

This is a very popular campground during the “in-season”. Limited spots that can’t be reserved, and many that can. Tent spaces, RV hook-ups ans group spots. Many people who canoe the Current River stay here. Good, clean restrooms with separate shower stalls. Nightly fun activities, close to many different hiking trails, and an on-site general store.

There is a cave.

My husband and I would travel to this area that is on the current river every summer and kayak. One summer we decided to stay here as it is on the river and there is also a cave that you can go in via the visitor center. The natural spring is amazing. There are excellent restrooms and showers at this campground. My problem with this campground and in all honestly not the campgrounds fault is that other campers get rowdy and drunk. One family was sitting out trying to make their dinner on the campfire and right across from them was a group of young adults drinking heavily and cussing loudly. The best time to go to truly enjoy this campground is during the week.

Awesome primitive site with river access

We camp here every year. My ONLY complaint is that they never seem to cut the grass close to when we come. It's not terrible, just a weedy and a little longer than I'd like it to be for tent camping. We stay at group site three which is HUGE, and nice and level. There's a great big fire ring and lots of wood available for gathering. There's a very short path from the site to the current river, which is beautiful. There is a pretty basic outhouse up a short trail for camper use.

Gorgeous Park, Good Camping

I have mixed feelings about this experience. J-Shuts never gets old and I gave been visiting for over 20 years, but only camped once in July. The newish (9 yrs old?) is the result of the old sites being washed out when the Ameren Reservoir breached flooding and destroying much of the campsite area. The decision to move camping across Hwy N is good for safety, but separates you from the shut-ins which is probably why you are there. We had a site with electric hook up which meant we could charge phones and run a small fan to combat Missouri heat. We tent camped but our site was clearly meant for a camper. There was only a small patch of rocky grass and a large concrete slab and pull through. It backed to trees, but was mostly unshaded and completely exposed to the road. The showers and restrooms are individual, good sized closets. No charge for showers. There is a store that has what you forgot, plus fun stuff you didn't know you had to have until you saw it.
There is so much to see in this area of Missouri. This campground is a great jumping off point for seeing not only the Shut-Ins, but Elephant Rocks, Taum Sauk State Park, hiking the Ozark Trail, and checking out the town of Arcadia Valley.

Camping Cabins with A/C

As a child my family camped at Twin Rivers annually so it was really fun to go back in June. It is a popular spot for people who are there to float the Black River.
We were hiking the OT from Taum Sauk to Johnson Shut-ins so we opted for a camping cabin to keep it simple. We were delighted to find it had A/C! There are 4 small cabins with a double bunk, table and 2 chairs plus the A/C. There is as little porch: nice for sitting or gear stash. It was clean and simple. Bring your own bedding. Outside there is a big water spigot, picnic table, fire ring, and grill. You have access to the "beach" on the crystal clear Black River. There is a camp store with a good stock of what you forgot plus t-shirts etc.
I love Twin River's Landing and we hope to use that cabin again.

Beautiful Views with Few People

My husband and I stayed here last December before starting the Taum Sauk to Johnson Shut-Ins portion of the Ozark Trail. The hike to Mina Sauk falls and Devil's Toll is always worth it.

We were the only people in the campground that night, which was a little freaky, but also very peaceful. A few cars did drive through the campground later at night, but they didn't stop.

The campsite had a picnic table, fire ring and tent area.

The water was turned off at the time of year we were there and the pit toilets were pretty full, but otherwise still clean.

Nice Campground

this is a very nice campground. there are several options to chose from such as camping in tents with no electric needed or there are spors that offer electric. there are toilets in each area and there is one set of showers (around 6) that are nice and new. the showers are hot and they are free to use. the campgound starts prices at $16 for a night without electric and around $19 for electric. the park is nice and the park host seem to be helpful when needed. there is a grill/place for a camp fire amd picnic table in each designated camping spot. its close to the Jacks Fork river and close to a canoe rental. town is about 7 miles away and it has several different mom and pop resturants along with gas stations and other canoe rental places.

Love, Love, Love this park

Went here hoping to see the wild horses. We didn't see any but still loved this park. Nice hiking trails and clean cool creek to splash in. Will go back again and maybe see the wild horses next time.

Nice relaxing campground

Found this to be a nice relaxing camp ground with lots of places for hiking and most important dog friendly

Fun and relaxing

This campsite is great if you are wanting to float on the Current River. We have stayed at Pulltite Campsite every summer for 6 years in a row, and it never disappoints.