Great Rivers Tour - Missouri Scenic Byway

1. Poplar Bluff
is the largest city on the Great Rivers Tour. Located at the foothills of the Ozarks near the "Bootheel Delta," it is a trade and service center, with three hospitals; air, rail and bus transportation; museum; city parks, and Black River recreation. Full services for tourists. Poplar Bluff Ranger Station is on Highway 60/67 on north side of Poplar Bluff.

2. Black River,
flowing through Poplar Bluff, is a popular floating and fishing stream. River outfitters in area.

3. University Forest
The 160-acre University Forest forestry summer camp provides research, instruction and demonstration in forest management and utilization. University of Missouri School of Forestry. The 6,800-acre University State Forest, formerly part of the summer camp, offers hunting, fishing, hiking and primitive camping. Mo. Dept. of Conservation.

4. Chaonia Landing
recreation area has picnic facilities and boat access to Lake Wappapello. Built on site of old Chaonia, a logging community. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

5. Lake Wappapello State Park
on the western shores of Lake Wappapello offers camping, cabins, picnicking, swimming, marina, boat launch, children's playground, hunting. Some park roads steep. Trailhead for 15-mile Lake Wappapello Trail. Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources.

6. Wappapello Lake
The 8,200-acre (average recreation pool) Wappapello Lake, located on the St. Francis River, was constructed in the early 1940's to provide flood control and recreation. It was named for the town of Wappapello, established as a railway station for the Frisco Railroad. The lake area has diverse recreational opportunities provided by public and private concessionaires. Visit the manager's office at Wappappello for maps and details. The Old Greenville Blackpowder Rendezvous, Lake Cleanup and National Hunting and Fishing Day, and Heritage Day events are held annually. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

7. Mingo National Wildlife Refuge,
a 21,676-acre bottom-land hardwoods swamp, offers fishing, hunting, hiking, picnicking and waterfowl/wildlife sightseeing. It includes the 7,730-acre Mingo Wilderness, Monopoly Marsh and seven natural areas. The Mingo visitors' center and boardwalk area are one and three-quarters miles north of Puxico on Highway 51. Access to Highway 51 is via Highway T just north of Wappapello Dam. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

8. Duck Creek Wildlife Management Area
The 7,000-acre Duck Creek Wildlife Management Area is a popular waterfowl hunting area. Primitive camping and fishing are allowed with some restrictions. Excellent for birdwatching and wildlife photography. The Duck Creek visitors' center is seven miles north of Puxico on Highway 51. Mo. Dept. of Conservation.

9. Peoples Creek Recreation Area
and Boat Access and Redman Campground, Redman Picnic Area and Redman Recreation Area provide a variety of facilities on the southeast shores of Lake Wappapello. Some units are closed in the off-season. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

10. Shook
is an historic small community located near the northern shores of Lake Wappapello. Old post office building/general store.

11. Lost Creek Landing
provides primitive camping and boat launch area. Parking for boat trailers. Access by gravel County Rd. 523 at Shook. Lost Creek Refuge includes Lost Creek National Trail, good for wildlife and waterfowl viewing. Access by County Rd. 523 South. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

12. Johnson Tract Natural Area,
1,100 acres, has large parking area along west side of Highway D. A five-mile trail has primitive campsites, leads to Cedar Bluff overlooking St. Francis River. Walk-in deer and turkey hunting. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

13. Greenville,
county seat of Wayne County in the Black River valley, has origins in the logging industry. Full services for tourists.

14. Greenville Campground
and Day Use area are at the site of old Greenville on the St. Francis River. Old cemetery, sidewalks and foundations exist. Facilities include boat launch, camping and picnic areas. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

15. Piedmont
is located east of Clearwater Lake. Its name, meaning "Foot of the Mountain," describes its valley setting. City parks, community airport, private resorts. Full services for tourists.

16. Clearwater Lake,
completed in 1948, covers more than 10,000 acres at flood control stage. Public and private facilities provide primitive to fully developed campsites and resorts. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

17. Clearwater State Forest,
6,078 acres, has primitive camping and hunting. Mo. Dept. of Conservation.

18. Miller Lake
is a 27-acre community lake on Highway 34/21. Picnic areas. Boat access. Mo. Dept. of Conservation.

19. Markham Spring Recreation Area
along Black River offers developed campsites and picnic areas, paved roads. Popular for family gatherings. Beautiful Markham Spring (4.8-million-gallon average daily flow) rises in a turquoise pool, site of stone millhouse. The 1.5 mile Eagle Bluff Trail climbs to top of Eagle Bluff, overlooks river. Mark Twain National Forest.

20. Williamsville
has historic buildings, old post office. Old logging, railroad town. Limited services for tourists. Historic iron, wooden plank bridge crosses nearby Black River on gravel County Road 406 about a mile east of town.

21. Cane Ridge Road
(gravel Forest roads 3110, 3112 and 3551) passes through dense oak/hickory/pine forests. Access from Highway A or Butler County Road 402 on outer road off Highway 67. Popular deer and turkey hunting area. Undeveloped camping. Mark Twain National Forest.

22. Victory Horse Trail,
22 miles long, can be accessed from Highway 60 near old Victory School or Highway A at Forest Road 3117. Opportunities for nature and forest study for riders and hikers. Wildlife ponds provide water for horses. Undeveloped campsites. Mark Twain National Forest.

23. Beaver Lake,
10 acres, was built by Mingo Job Corps Center trainees in 1970. A managed fishery. Undeveloped camping. Access by Forest roads 3109 and 3899 (gravel) off Highway B. Mark Twain National Forest in cooperation with Mo. Dept. of Conservation.

24. Highway 60
between Highway 67 and Highway V offers pleasant forest scenery, and, in spring, a beautiful dogwood display.

25. Ellsinore
has roots in the timber industry, has charcoal kiln. All services for tourists except motels.

26. Pinewoods Lake Recreation Area
has camping and shaded picnic sites, carrydown boat access, hiking trails. Thirty-one-acre lake is a managed fishery. Electric motors only. Blacktop access road. Mark Twain National Forest.

27. Location of a charcoal plant
claimed to be the largest in the world. Kilns convert cordwood into charcoal, an important Ozark industry.

28. Grandin
was the lumbering center of Missouri in the late 1800s and early 1900s when the Missouri Lumber and Mining Co., once headquartered in the present lodge building, bought and harvested more than 100,000 acres of Carter Co. virgin forest. The company's sawmill output exceeded 60 million board feet of lumber per year. Historic buildings, old stone church. Limited services for tourists.

29. Little Black State Forest
(2,321 acres) on Highway 21 offers fishing in the Little Black River, primitive camping and hunting. Mo. Dept. of Conservation.

30. Doniphan
is county seat of Ripley County. Motels and outfitters for river enthusiasts. Tribute to Current River is on courthouse square monument. Hospital. Full services for tourists. Doniphan Ranger Station is on Highway 142 (Walnut St.) just south of Highway 160.

31. Float Camp Recreation Area
is a spacious developed camping and picnic area on the Current River. Paved roads, gravel beach, nearby boat access. Facilities for the handicapped. Mark Twain National Forest.

32. Deer Leap Recreation Area
is on Forest Road 4349 off Highway Y. Camping in a rustic setting. Boat launch. Parking for swimmers, tubers. Paved access road. Mark Twain National Forest.

33. Ripley Lake Recreation Area
has developed family and group picnic areas. Boat ramp for fishing fun in 20-acre lake. Electric motors only. Parking for trailers. Forest Road 3240 is gravel. Sponsored by Ripley Co. Conservation Club, constructed by the Mo. Dept. of Conservation in cooperation with the Mark Twain National Forest.

34. Open riverbottom lands near Buffalo Creek
are managed as grazing pastures. Log structure visible in field is historic Thaxton Barn. Named for a former owner, the barn was built in the early 1 900s with logs recycled from a nearby home. It is constructed in double pen style with a dogtrot (central covered passageway) like the original structure. Mark Twain National Forest.

35. South of Forest Road 3142
A tornado cut a swath through the forest just south of Forest Road 3142, severely damaging the timber. New growth is mixed pine/oak/hickory. Mark Twain National Forest.

36. Hawes Campground
(also called Gooseneck), accessed by Forest roads 4139 and 3142 (hilly, gravel roads) is on banks of the Current River (Ozark National Scenic Riverways). Primitive campsites, picnic areas, boat access. National Park Service.

37. Eastwood Lookout Tower,
not open to the public, is east of Highway C on Highway F. Mark Twain National Forest.

38. Ozark Trail access
(Between the Rivers section) and parking area are on Highway 60 about a mile east of Highway C.

39. Briar Lookout Tower,
not open to the public, is off Highway 160 west of Highway C. Mark Twain National Forest.

40. Buffalo Creek Recreation Area
is on Forest Road 3145 (gravel) along Buffalo Creek. Developed campsites, fishing at a scenic site along the creek. Mark Twain National Forest.

41. Fourche Lake,
49 acres, is a flood control/recreation facility on a gravel road off Highway V. Boat access. Electric motors only. Mark Twain National Forest.

42. Historic Bardley CCC Camp
is just inside the boundary of the Irish Wilderness. The site is a half-mile walk off Forest Road 4848. Only foundations remain. Mark Twain National Forest.

43. Irish Wilderness
The 16,117-acre Irish Wilderness in Oregon County gets its name from a short-lived settlement by Irish immigrants in the Civil War era. CCC built roads, ponds and structures in the 1930s. Area was logged at turn of the century. Mark Twain National Forest.

44. Camp Five Pond
is a picnic/tent camping area on the eastern edge of the Irish Wilderness. Large pines. Trail-head for the 18-mile White's Creek Trail which leads to White's Creek Cave, Fiddler Spring and the Eleven Point Ozark National Scenic River. Gravel access road. Mark Twain National Forest.

45. Highway J
Raised roadbeds of old logging tram (railroad) lines can be seen along both sides of Highway J.

46. Sinkin Creek Lookout Tower
(not open to the public) was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. One of the few locations where all CCC structures remain. Ozark Trail access (Between the Rivers section). On gravel Forest Road 3152. Mark Twain National Forest.

47. Riverton
is a small community that provides limited services for tourists. Private canoe rental services.

48. Boze Mill Float Camp
has picnic and restroom facilities for Eleven Point National Scenic River floaters. Parking for walk-in users. Access by gravel county road. Large spring (14.9-million-gallon average daily flow) issues from deep pool, formerly powered a gristmill. Trail around millpond, over dam. Mark Twain National Forest.

49. Riverton Canoe Access and Recreation Area
is a developed facility along the east banks of the Eleven Point National Scenic River. Paved roads into and through grounds. Riverton West Picnic Area on west side of river has bus and auto parking, paved paths, picnic tables and gravel bar. Facilities for handicapped. Pleasant stops for river and road travelers. Mark Twain National Forest.

50. The Narrows
is named for the narrow bluff between Frederick Creek and the Eleven Point National Scenic Riverway. The area features a number of scenic springs and diverse bottomland vegetation. Mark Twain National Forest.

51. Alton,
the county seat of Oregon County, is the hub of a farming, lumber, recreation and tourism area. Canoe outfitters. Historic monument. Hosts an annual Walnut Festival in October. Full services for tourists.

52. Thomasville
boat access and restrooms are south of the river. Access by dirt road through field that may flood. River may be shallow during summer. Mark Twain National Forest.

53. Cane Bluff Access
has concrete boat ramp, picnic tables and restrooms along scenic stretch of river with towering rock bluffs. Gravel access road off Highway 19 is rough in places, has ford across shallow spring branch. Mark Twain National Forest.

54. Greer Spring,
second largest in Missouri with an 187-million-gallon average daily flow, has two openings in a deep gorge; an upper cave outlet and a lower orifice in the gorge which produces a huge stream bed boil. Empties into Eleven Point National Scenic River, doubling the river volume. Access is by a steep path. Privately owned. A nearby mill is not open to the public.

55. Greer Crossing Recreation Area
offers attractive developed camping and picnic sites along the Eleven Point National Scenic River. Boat access for floating and fishing. Trailhead for the 3.7-mile McCormack-Greer Trail, ending at McCormack Lake. Mark Twain National Forest.

56. Turner Mill North Picnic Area
is accessed by hilly, gravel Forest roads 3152 and 3190. Fishing and boating on the Eleven Point National Scenic River. River access. Turner Spring (1.5-million-gallon average daily flow), issuing from a high rocky bluff, powered an old mill. Huge metal wheel is in spring branch. Ozark Trail access (Between the Rivers section) and parking area on Forest Road 3152. Mark Twain National Forest.

57. McCormack Lake Recreation Area
on paved Forest Road 3155 has developed picnic and camping sites. Fishing and boating on 11-acre McCormack Lake. Trailhead for 3.7-mile McCormack-Greer Trail, ending at Greer Crossing Picnic Area. Trail also connects to Ozark Trail. Mark Twain National Forest.

58. Picturesque Falling Spring Mill
(125,000-gallon average daily flow) off gravel Forest roads 3170 and 3164 has undeveloped picnic sites on banks of mill pond. Old wooden millhouse dates from the 1920s; log house is more than 100 years old. The waterfall-powered mill generated electricity. Mark Twain National Forest.

59. Between Forest roads 4230 and 4227
on Highway 19 is a section of forest where oaks are dying, referred to as an oak mortality site. Causes are not completely known. Mark Twain National Forest.

60. Winona
is in an agricultural and timber area. River recreation along the nearby Jacks Fork, Current and Eleven Point National Scenic Rivers brings tourists to the area. Full services for tourists. The Winona office of the Eleven Point Ranger District is on the north edge of town on Highway 19.

61. Birch Tree,
one of the oldest settlements in the area, was originally a small trading post. Legend states the name came from a hollow birch tree where early settlers left letters and messages for each other. It is the only U.S. post office with that name. Agriculture, timber and light industry provide jobs today. Full services for tourists.

62. Peck Ranch Wildlife Area
The 23,000-acre Peck Ranch Wildlife Area includes an 11,000-acre wildlife refuge, four Missouri Natural Areas, archery and shooting ranges, nature trail, and special hunts for deer and turkey. Parking for a six-mile stretch of the Ozark Trail (Current River section) is about five miles west of Highway H. Access to ranch is by paved Highway H and gravel road. Mo. Dept. of Conservation.

63. Twin Pine Pond
is adjacent to the south side of Highway 60 about 1.5 miles west of Winona. Mark Twain National Forest.

64. Fremont Tower Picnic Area
is a pleasant, developed picnic area. Tower not open to the public. Mark Twain National Forest.

65. Trees and vegetation
along Highway 60 west of Highway J provide spring and fall color displays.

66. Skyline Drive
is a paved four-mile ridgetop Forest Road (3280) loop off Highway 103 offering breathtaking views over distant valleys and mountains. Popular for fall color viewing. Mark Twain National Forest.

67. Big Spring
is named for the largest spring in Missouri, flowing an average of 275 million gallons a day. The area is part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Picnic and camping areas, dining lodge (in season). CCC-built structures are on the National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.

68. Van Buren,
county seat of Carter County, is on the southeast edge of the Missouri Ozarks, adjacent to Current River. Industries are tourism, timber and farming. The area offers a wide variety of outdoor and water recreation. Ozark National Scenic Riverways (National Park Service) headquarters and Van Buren office of the Eleven Point Ranger Station are on Highway 60. Full services for tourists.

69. Watercress Spring Recreation Area,
accessed by Watercress Rd. (Forest Road 4282) off Highway 60 in Van Buren, has a boat launching ramp and developed picnic and camping loops along the Current River. Hiking trail. Civil War history interpretation. Facilities for handicapped. Mark Twain National Forest.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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