What to do in Sam A Baker State Park

**Note: This information was provided by www.mostateparks.com.

With the ancient St. Francois Mountains, the unspoiled natural landscape and the cool waters of the St. Francois River and Big Creek, Sam A. Baker State Park has something for everyone. Whether getting away for a day of relaxation or spending considerably more time exploring the region, it's certainly worth the trip.

A boat launch offers access to the river, and anglers hook bluegill, bass, crappie, sunfish, goggle eye and catfish in the river and creek. Canoeists float the Big Creek in spring and early summer, while the river is a good float year-round. Several miles of hiking, backpacking and equestrian trails provide glimpses of the area as the early settlers found it. To explore the natural and cultural history of the park, visit the park's visitor/nature center.

Visitors can spend the night in either the rustic cabins or one of two large campgrounds featuring modern restrooms, hot showers, dumping station and laundry facilities. For horse lovers, a separate equestrian camp is provided. The shaded picnic area is equipped with a playground, covered shelters and picnic tables. If guests prefer to eat indoors, the dining lodge overlooking Big Creek features excellent country cooking.

There are two picnic shelters available for use and can be reserved for $35 per day. If not reserved, the shelters are available at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis. There is one shelter located in the main day-use area and the other is north of the Big Creek bridge. Occupancy is 75 people per shelter. There is a playground located at the day-use area.

Sam A. Baker State Park has 18 rustic cabins made of native stone and wood with modern conveniences. Most have fireplaces, kitchens, full baths, heating and air-conditioning, outside grills, firepits and picnic tables. They are equipped with bedding, towels and kitchen utensils. Cabins are available for rent April through October. Reservations can be made by calling (573) 856-4223 or toll free at 1-800-334-6946. Reservations are not accepted by e-mail. Following are the rates for 2005.

Recreation
There is a concrete boat launch located at Campground 1 on the St. Francis River. It is open at all times except during heavy flooding. There are no launch fees or motor restrictions; however, the size of the river limits usage to smaller boats. Due to the river current shifting in recent years, the launch area is usually too shallow for anything but canoes and small boats.

Fishing is available at multiple access points in both the St. Francis River and Big Creek. Day usage is from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Primary fish are bass, blue gill, sunfish and catfish.

Swimming is available at multiple access points in both the St. Francis River and Big Creek. Day usage is from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The park offers two miles of paved bicycle trail. This accessible trail is one-way and extends from Campground 1 to the park store. Bicyclists, hikers, skate boarders and roller skaters are permitted on the trail. Motorized vehicles (except motorized wheelchairs) and horses are not permitted on this trail. Trail accesses are located throughout the park with trail parking located just off Hwy. 143 across from the park office. Other trail accesses are located in Campground 1, Campground 2 and near the park store. Water is available from April through October at water faucets located in both campgrounds. A vault toilet is located at the trailhead in Campground 1 and modern restrooms are located behind the park store. The terrain is fairly level throughout all portions of the trail.

Location
Route 1, Box 113Patterson, MO 63956

Climate
Missouri experiences four distinct seasons with an average yearly temperature of 54 degrees F. Summer temperatures reach 90 degrees F often and are plagued with high humidity levels. Nighttime lows during the summer dip slightly near 70 degrees. September brings cooler fall weather with less humidity. By October nights begin to cool significantly and the fall foliage changes to brilliant hues of orange, red and yellow. Winter months bring an average of 24 inches of snow and normal temperatures average between 20 and 45 degrees F. Spring is characterized by wet weather with temperatures reaching between 32 and 60 degrees F.

Address
Route 1, Box 113
Patterson, MO 63956

Phone: 573-856-4411

  • Sam A Baker State Park Travel Q&A

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