Find Adventure In Mark Twain National Forest
With 1.5 million acres of public land, over 750 miles of trails, and 350 miles of perennial streams Mark Twain National Forest has everything you could think of to fill your vacation with excitement and relaxation. Miles and miles of trails wind through the various sections of Mark Twain Forest that are perfect for hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and motorized vehicle use. The rivers and streams that meander through these public lands provide excellent locations for swimming, floating, kayaking, and canoeing whether you are looking for a leisurely float down a lazy river or a riveting whitewater experience.
The Mark Twain National Forest boasts 19 Natural Areas, which retain their natural beauty through careful protection and management, and 7 Wilderness Areas, which have very little impact from human development, within the forests boundaries. To maintain the pristine environments of these public lands for generations to come, please practice Leave No Trace environmental ethics. Please be sure that anything you bring into the forest leaves with you or is placed in designated receptacles.
Whether you are looking for active family vacation experiences, educational experiences, beautiful vistas, or outdoorsmen adventures the Mark Twain Forest has something for everyone. Start planning your next foray into nature right here in Missouri. Experience nature at its finest: experience the Mark Twain National Forest.
Is Boondocking Legal In Missouri
Yes, but only in certain areas. Public land for boondocking is slim in Missouri.
Federal agencies only control 3.79% of the state however what it lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality.
Missouri boasts the best free camping options in the Midwest due to its natural wonders like Mark Twain National Forest and the Ozarks. So, where exactly can you free camp?
Unlike other states, Missouri possesses no BLM land however, it does have National Forests, Recreations Areas, and certain trailheads for free camping.
If you want to stay closer to a major city you can choose more urbanized options such as rest stops or certain commercial parking lots.
Make sure to always check for signs banning you from boondocking in a given area, and always call a business to make sure its alright to stay over night in their parking lot.
Missouri is pretty relaxed about RVs parking overnight on city streets but always use care when using this option.
Park in a well-lit area, make your presence minimal, and do not stay in one place longer than a single night. Using common sense you can boondock in Missouri with ease!
Where Is Mark Twain National Forest
Youll find this national park in Mark Twains home state of Missouri in the southern half of the Ozark Highlands. Covering a vast expanse of varying terrain in 29 counties, it encompasses the St. Francois Mountains in the southeast to the glades in the southwest, including the Great Plains along the Missouri River.
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Horse Riding & Camping
The Kaintuck Hollow Trail is open year round to horseback riders and includes multiple sections with a total of 16 miles of trail. Acorn Section is approximately 4 miles in length and follows an old logging road. Butterfly Section traverses through cedar forest and then passes over a dry stream bed covered with large, mossy rocks. The Mushroom Section is a short connection trail between Acorn and Pine Tree sections. Mushroom Section passes a small pond and old homestead. Cedar Section is offers approximately 3 miles of trail and parallels a gravel road connecting Mill Creek Recreation area with Hwy T. Squirrel Section connects to Oak Leaf Section, not far from the Natural Bridge and tunnel, which is currently not open to public due to health risk to bat population. Deer Track Section passes a small lily pond and then loops southwest to Wilkins Spring. Redbird Section begins by following a ridge top and then descends into Kaintuck Hollow. The trail is of moderate difficulty. There are no designated campsites along the trail, however dispersed camping is allowed.
At Mark Twain State Park
Mark Twain State Park offers basic and electric campsites, a special-use camping area and a group camp. For a little extra space, try one of the park’s family campsites in Puma Campground.
You are now able to reserve your Missouri State Parks campsite up to 12 months in advance, expanding from the previous six-month window. To make a reservation or view campsites details, photos and availability, go to the reservation website by clicking the “Make a Reservation” link below and start planning your trip today. Reservations may also be made by calling toll free 877-ICampMO . Printable campground maps are available for your reference by clicking on the “Map” links.
|Some of this campground’s amenities are only available seasonally. See dates above.|
Click here for a guide to the symbols.
*50-amp electric sites available.
Important Camping Information:
Other Types of Camping Areas Available in the Park:
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Explore Missouris Only National Forest At These 8 Campgrounds
The Mark Twain National Forest is renowned for its waterways, including some 3,000 natural springs that cover more than 350 miles of the forest in pristine, crystal-clear water. The Ozark Trail is another famous resident of this national forest the ever-expanding trail is at least 400 miles long and lies mostly within the boundaries of Mark Twain National Forest. Thanks to the unique layout of the forest tracts, there are plenty of camping options available. Out of the numerous options for camping in the Mark Twain National Forest listed on The Dyrt, weve assembled a diverse collection of some of the best you can find.
The Best Mark Twain Camping
In the south of Missouri lies the Mark Twain National Forest which was founded in 1939 and named after famous American author Mark Twain, who was a Missouri native. The forest is over three million acres and contains a Wilderness and National Scenic River. The forest itself represents 11% of Missouris forested land. Its divided into six districts: Eleven Point, Houston-Rolla, Cedar Creek, Poplar Bluff, Salem, Potosi-Fredericktown and Cassville-Willow Springs. Each district has there own unique natural elements. In the forest, youre able to explore different areas, hike, mountain bike, fish, swim and camp. Its great for family, nature enthusiasts and anyone who wants to get away from the busy city life. So lets delve into my guide to the Best Mark Twain Camping!
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Camping In Mark Twain National Forest
The way Mark Twain National Forest is spread out over southern Missouri makes it an ideal national forest to visit in an RV. By using an RV, visitors camp in one location, explore it thoroughly, and then pick up stakes and move to another section of the forest to explore a completely different environment. Each evening, these visitors can relax in comfort before tackling the next day of adventure. You can begin this journey by visiting one of the RVshare sites above to find the perfect RV to rent for you and your family.
Ozark Trail: Taum Sauk Section
Expect to travel through rugged terrain on this section of the Ozark Trail. While hikers get a rest when walking through the temporary meadows, the rest of the path is strewn with mudslides, rocky slopes, and incredibly steep climbs up and down hillsides. To make up for the harsh terrain, the views are incredible with many being a sight that will stay with you for a lifetime.
Length: 12.3 miles
Things to Do
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Activities In Mark Twain National Forest
Because of the large distances between locations and the incredible changes in elevation that each Mark Twain National Forest section enjoys, there is a vast array of plants and animals for visitors to enjoy. Visitors may choose to walk through a prairie grass section, along undulating valleys filled with the babble of a creek, or across the tops of ridges. In any case, the natural environment produces homes for different arrays of wildlife, including birds in each forest area. There are many small communities within easy reach of Mark Twain National Forest, some of which are inside the borders of one section or another. The separation of sections of the forest means that light pollution is more prevalent in most areas, reducing star-gazing opportunities.
Only Camp At A Dispersed Campsite Or 100ft From Any Administrative Site
Whats a dispersed campsite? Easy. Its a site with a numbered placard, found on any public land.
You can camp at any of these for free. Just double check to make sure its not a placard for a paid site.
Neato, but theyre all taken. So, whats an administrative site? These include any trails, buildings, or designated recreational areas. As long as youre on public land, and 100ft from any of these sites, you can boondock. Yippee!
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Echo Bluff State Park Campground
Originally known as Camp Zoe, this area was a summer youth camp when it opened to the public 90 years ago. The areas tumultuous history involved popular music festivals and a takeover by the federal government .Ultimately, Echo Bluff was bought by the state of Missouri at auction. The state then added an additional 100 acres of land to the existing property, and started investing heavily in projects to update, upgrade, and add on some top-of-the-line modern amenities.
Today, visitors are gushing over the brand new Timbuktu Campground within Echo Bluff State Park. The campground is open year-round, and boasts a total of 62 manicured tent & RV sites, plus 13 full-service cabins, and even a sprawling lodge with 20 guest rooms to choose from. Its also centrally located between the main branches of Mark Twain National Forest. There may be no other campground in the area that offers this level of comfort to their guests. But fair warning, its highly recommended that you reserve your spot as far in advance as possible. These desirable sites disappear quickly!
Berryman Campground Mark Twain National Forest
Pack some good meals. This small, remote campground lies within the heart of Mark Twain National Forest.
Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1937, it now provides visitors to Berryman Trail with a place to camp.
Theres tons to do in this National Forest including all your favorite outdoor activities, as well as more unique ones, like spelunking.
Why do we love it?
If you enjoy nature, its probably for two reasons: the beauty and the silence. Fortunately, Berryman campground fits both of those descriptors.
The surrounding woodland runs thick with oak trees and keeps you sheltered from the outside world.
Furthermore, nearby Berryman Trail winds through 24 miles of quaint Ozark timber stands and fields. It provides visitors with an easy opportunity for bike riding, hiking, or horseback riding.
- Maximum RV length reported: 40ft
- Number of sites: 8
- Amenities: Fire ring, picnic table, pit toilets and paved sites
- Max Stay: 14 Days
Top Things to do Nearby
For more information on RV camping at Berryman Campground visit HERE.
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Round Prairie Interpretive Site Mark Twain National Forest
This secluded camping spot, found on the edges of Mark Twain National Forest, puts you in the middle of everything.
Youll find yourself near the Missouri River, Columbia, and tons of recreation areas.
The outdoors activities are prevalent, and the chances for relaxation endless. Dont miss this amazing RV destination!
Why do we love it?
You can really get away from it all at this beautiful spot. The secluded locale and small number of campsites make it an introverts paradise.
Furthermore, its amenities are extremely limited, scaring off most campers, and leaving you with a private RV camping spot.
If get tired of the silence , you can drive a short distance, to the urban wonderland known as Columbia, Missouri.
- Maximum RV length reported: 40ft
- Number of sites: Undesignated. Reportedly a few
- Amenities: Picnic table and a fire ring
- Max Stay: 15 days, every 30 days
Top Things to do Nearby
For more information on RV camping at Round Prairie Interpretive Site visit HERE.
Whats There To Do In Huzzah Mark Twain National Forest
The Huzzah area is one of the areas that makes up the Mark Twain National Forest. When going to this area, the main attractions are the wildlife and nature. Explore the north side of the Mark Twain National Forest and head into some deep luscious forests. The Onondaga Caves are another amazing natural wonder as you descend into the depths and get to see why Missouri is considered The Cave State of the U.S.A. In this area, both children and adults will immerse themselves in nature as there is plenty of hiking, fishing, swimming, horseback riding, mountain biking and cave exploring to do.
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Camping Near You Find A Free Campsite
Whether you just need to know where to camp nearby or you want to plan a free camping road trip, we’ve got you covered. You can simply use your smart phone’s GPS to find camping near you or even use our trip planner to plan your route from coast to coast.
Our community provides the best free camping information available. Free campgrounds can be hard to find. Freecampsites.net makes it easy. We give you a simple, map based search engine to find free and cheap camping areas. Community reviews and ratings provide you with up to date information and help you select the best camp site for your next camping trip.
This is a platform for sharing campgrounds and camp sites you have discovered. We are community driven, and while we will be adding many free camping spots, we hope that you will add some of your favorite camping places as well. By sharing camping information freely, we can all spend less time researching campgrounds, spend less money, and more time camping. If everyone contributes a few campsites, we’ll all have more places to go camping.
Please come back and let us know what you find!
We are not actively seeking Wal-Marts, truckstops or other parking lots and will not be adding very many of these. There are enough Wal-Mart and truck stop directories out there already. However, if a member of the community finds one of these locations to be useful for overnight RV parking and creates an entry, we may approve the listing.
Please come back and let us know what you find!
Where Can I Camp In Steelville Missouri
Garrisons River Resort
|Rvs & Cabins|
The Garrisons River Resort sits along the Meramec River and is perfect for those who love river activities such as kayaking, canoeing, swimming and fishing. The Garrisons River Resort is fully packed with all the amenities plus theres even cabins to stay in if you fancy a break from the Rv. There are full-hookups, picnic tables, restrooms, showers and a free-to-campers swimming pool to enjoy. If youre planning on doing water activities, the camp offers canoe and raft floats so you can explore or float down the Meramec River. Theres also horseback riding with a guided wrangler! Garrisons River Resort also has a dining lodge with Breakfast/Lunch/BBQ dinners. If youd like, you can also rent an RV unit that is stationary in the camp. They include air conditioning, heating, stove, bathroom and shower. Whether its the summer, spring or winter, youll be able to enjoy the campground and all the nature it has to offer. With a short drive, youll be right in the Mark Twain National Park where you can hike throughout the park as well. Its close to the small town of Steelville which is known as the Floating Capital of Missouri as three rivers: Meramec, Huzzah and the Courtois surround it. Visit Garrisons River Resort
Indian Springs Family Resort
|Tents & Rvs|
|Tents & Rvs|
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Lower Rock Creek Trail
The Lower Rock Creek Trail is an in-and-out pathway that changes 495 feet in elevation during the hike. The track is moderately trafficked and located near the town of Frederick, MO. There are many viewpoints with remarkable sights of the creek tumbling down into the canyon below.
Length: 5.5 miles
Public Missouri Rv Camping
Missouri RV camping can be found at Federal, state, and county campgrounds offering amenities from primitive no facility camping, to full hookup RV campsites. The following public campgrounds are only an example of the available Missouri RV camping locations.
CRAIG Great RV camping is available at the popular Big Lake State Park. The park offers basic and electric campsites. On-season services include a dump station, modern restrooms, showers , water, laundry and reservable sites. Numerous recreation opportunities include fishing, hiking, boating and wildlife viewing.
MONROE CITY The US Army Corp of Engineers has several water projects that are great Missouri RV camping destinations. has three USACE campgrounds with shaded full hookup and electrical sites with great fishing.
OZARK SCENIC RIVERWAYS From primitive to hookup RV camping, youâll find it all along the Ozark Scenic Riverways administered by the National Park Service. There are six developed campgrounds as well as 12 defined primitive camping areas.
ROLLA Dry and hookup RV camping is available at the Lane Spring Recreation Area operated by the US Forest Service. The campground provides 18 sites with tables, tent pad, lantern post, and fire ring. 6 sites have RV electric hookups.
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