- Ozark National Scenic Riverways encompasses 134 miles of the Current and Jacks Fork Rivers in southeastern Missouri. Nearly 100 springs pour thousands of gallons of clear, cold, water into the streams. The landscape surrounding the waterways is predominantly rural, with broadleaf forests and occasional open fields. The region surrounding the rivers includes the southeastern Ozark Mountains, which are typified by narrow steep-sided hollows, numerous streams and bluffs. Much of the area is underlain by soluble limestone and dolomite, giving rise to sinkholes, caves,
Copyright: National Park Service
Ozark National Scenic Riverways
and springs. Ozark culture is preserved throughout the area.
The Current and Jacks Fork Rivers have been used by humans for at least 12,000 years. Discovery of scattered Paleo-Indian artifacts in the region provides evidence for this long human inhabitance. More recent inhabitants have left their mark as well. Learn more about the long and fascinating history of the Ozarks.
Recreation - This park provides a myriad of water-oriented activities for visitors of many interests and abilities. Canoeing, tubing, fishing and swimming opportunities exist throughout the scenic riverway. A great way to begin your travels through the area is to begin gathering information at one of the visitor centers. They are located at Akers Ferry, Round Spring, Alley Spring and Big Spring Ranger Stations. Park Headquarters is located in Van Buren, Missouri. After your trek in the wilderness you may enjoy a tour of Alley Roller Mill, which is one of the Ozarks' most famous landmarks, located six miles west of Eminence, Missouri.
This natural area supports 380 miles of roads, most of which are secondary public roads and backcountry roads or traces. There are numerous
road access points along both the Current and the Jacks Fork Rivers. State Highway 19 and U.S. Highway 60 provide the primary road access into the area.
Fourteen miles of designated horse trails and 48 miles of foot trails within the park provide access to the backcountry of the Ozarks. A formal trail maintenance program does not exist within the park, so conditions may vary.
Camping enthusiasts will enjoy six developed campgrounds within the park. They are located at Alley Spring, Big Spring, Powder Mill, Pulltite, Round Spring and Two Rivers. There are no electrical or water hookups. Primitive campgrounds are located throughout the park. These are accessible by vehicle and have minimal facilities. Backcountry camping is permitted on gravel bars. Please keep a clean camp, bury human waste away from water and have an escape route in case of flash floods.
Climate - Summers in southeastern Missouri are hot and humid. The area is subject to severe thunderstorms, torrential rains and flooding at any time of year. Winters are generally cool with variable precipitation. Good sun screen and insect repellent are a must during the summer months. Ticks are the most prevalent insect problem.
Ozark National Scenic Riverways lie in Shannon County, Carter County, Dent County and Texas County, Missouri. Each of these counties lies in the southeast section of the state. The riverways are surrounded by the lands of the Mark Twain National Forest.