Eleven Point National Wild and Scenic River

Gorp.com

The Eleven Point Scenic River, a 44-mile-long area of land and river, is one of the better known canoeing and floating streams in Missouri, meandering without hurry through the picturesque Ozark hill country of the southern part of the state in the Mark Twain National Forest. Barely more than a small stream at its upper reaches near Thomasville, it gains width and depth as it proceeds southeast. Springs issuing from dolomite bluffs or rushing up from vast underground systems feed it with a continuous source of water.

Since the Ozarks constitute an eroded plateau, the region is best characterized as having valleys, not hills. The Eleven Point River lies in one of these valleys, with dolomite and sandstone exposed in nearly vertical bluffs. This rock was laid down during the Ordovician Period, beginning about 475 million years ago, when the area was covered by a sea. Over the past 200 million years, uplifting and erosion shaped the landscape of today.

A vast series of underground reservoirs supply over 30 springs along the Eleven Point with a continuous store of clear water (unsafe to drink, by the way). Among these beautiful springs are Greer, the second largest in Missouri, and Blue Spring, a large azure spring located at the Narrows.

During your travels and explorations you will find caves of every size and description. The formations found within these caves have taken thousands of years to develop. Please do not disturb the fragile beauty you find there. Turner Mill Cave is gated and closed to the public to protect the cave ecosystem.

With alternating stretches of class 2 rapids and deep clear pools, the river makes a great float for canoeists of intermediate skill. Several routes lie along the stretch from Thomasville to Highway 142, 44 miles downstream. Choose anything from an lazy afternoon float to a multiday adventure.

Float Trips

Thomasville to Cane Bluff - 9.3 miles

The initial section of the river offers the greatest opportunity for solitude but is floatable only when the levels are above normal, usually in the spring or after significant precipitation. There is little likelihood of being within view of other canoes or boats on this river trip during most seasons or days of the week. The occasional deep pools offer fine bass fishing. Average gradient or stream bed drop per mile is 6.5 ft./mile.

Cane Bluff to Greer - 7.3 miles

This section of the river offers a good opportunity for solitude as well as some fine scenery. The towering bluff on the left at 14.3 miles was used around 1900 to launch virgin pine logs into the river for floating downstream to a holding dam, where they were taken out and sent to the mill by railroad. Remnant logs can still be seen on the river bottom at the Boom Bole. At 16.0 miles Greer Spring Branch (private) enters and more than doubles the Eleven Point's volume with its clear, cold water (66 degrees). Bass fishing is available above Greer branch, and trout fishing begins below it. Average gradient is 6.5 ft./mile.

Greer Crossing to Turner's Mill - 4.9 miles

Greer Crossing has been the most popular access, with heavy float traffic on weekends through the use season. The waters of the Eleven Point carry downstream past the Blue Hole at Graveyard Hollow and Mary Decker Shoal, a river "chute" with fast water and large boulders in the stream. This section makes an interesting afternoon float that could include some fine trout fishing. Average gradient is 5.6 ft./mile.

Turner's Mill to Riverton - 14.2 miles

This trip gives floaters an opportunity to see the Turner's Mill site where the town of Suprise was once located. Other points of interest include the McDowell Cave, Horseshoe Bend, and Boze Mill Spring. Six riverside float camps are available for overnight camping at river miles 22.3, 16.1 27.0, 28.5, 30.9, and 33.3. Turner's Mill access is a trout management release area. Below Boze Mill Spring is a chute or rapid called Halls Bay. Halls Bay is a hazard spot for inexperienced floaters. Average gradient of this trip section is a 5.6 foot drop per mile.

Greer Crossing to Riverton - 19.1 miles

This is a popular 2-day float that receives the most use on weekends. It is a combination of the previously described Trips C and D. At the Greer Crossing access point there is a 19 unit campground, a picnic area, and hiking trails to McCormack Lake, as well as a scenic overlook on Highway 19 north of the campground. Floaters making the river trip pass between huge boulders at Mary Decker Shoal. These boulders are all that remain of a log dam designed to catch logs floated downstream in the early 1900s. Float camps available for overnight stops are at river miles 22.3, 26.1, 27.0, 28.5, 30.9, and 33.3. Average gradient of this trip is 5.6 feet per mile.

Riverton to Highway 142 - 8.6 miles

This portion of the river receives light use, and the floater can expect peace and solitude while floating the slower hazard free water. Having less river traffic, and with most of the land on both sides being private property under scenic easement, the prospect of the floater observing more wildlife is excellent. One float camp at Morgan Spring provides overnight camping. Blue, Jones, and Sullivan Springs are just a short distance down river. These springs are at a beautiful area called the "Narrows," which gets its name from a narrow ridge of land between the river and Frederick Creek. The average gradient for this trip is 4.3 feet per mile.

Camping

Float camps are available at various locations on the river. These camps are accessible only by boat and provide a table, latrine, tent pad, and fire ring. Dispersed camping is allowed on gravel bars. Forest Service-developed auto access campgrounds are available at Greer Crossing, McCormack Lake, Buffalo Creek, and Gateway. Private campgrounds can be found in Alton, Greer, and other towns.

Hiking

The McCormack-Greer Trail and the Whites Creek Trail are both adjacent to the river, and maps are available for hikers and backpackers. The McCormack-Greer Trail connects McCormack Lake and Greer Crossing, with several scenic overlooks along the Eleven Point. The Whites Creek Trail is a scenic loop trail between Camp 5 Pond Picnic Area and the Eleven Point River. This trail is 18 miles in length for the total loop. It goes through the Irish Wilderness.

Fishing

Smallmouth bass, goggle-eye, jack salmon, and trout are treasured by fishermen on the Eleven Point. All fishermen are subject to Missouri state regulations. Non-residents may purchase a 3-day license or annual license. A trout permit is also required. Gigging or spearing is also very popular.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 11 Nov 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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