Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Great Places to Camp in Missouri

Missouri is blessed with many great camping locations. They are kind of segregated into the following categories:

  • State Campgrounds
  • Campgrounds on Federally Managed Land (National Park Service and National Forest Service)
  • Conservation Department Lands, and
  • Private Campgrounds.
The other way that camping areas could be grouped would be by geographic location. Because most camping in Missouri is done around the large lakes, along the Ozark rivers and Streams, and in other Ozark regions, I will concentrate my discussion on these areas. There are a number of activities to enjoy while visiting these places and I will touch on these as well. For the sake of brevity, I will split this over a number of blogs.

The first area I will take up will be the beautiful Eleven Point River and the Irish Wilderness. We have taken up the topic of Eleven Point River Trout Fishing and you can find out a lot by visiting this site. Here I will say that there are outstanding rainbow trout and smallmouth bass fishing opportunities on this river, as well as less outstanding but healthy populations of other species as well. The river is an outstanding floating stream year round with class I to class III whitewater in a couple of locations and depending on water levels.

The camping in the area is ample along the river. Let me state that camping is NOT allowed on easements which are private property and are marked in almost all cases. From the Thomasville access to the Riverton access you will truly feel that you are in a wilderness. There are few to no dwellings visible from the river. There are a number of float camps on the Eleven Point. They are primitive in that they do not have water, have vaulted toilets, are first-come (no reservation), and you are expected to pack out trash. They do have fire rings and tent sites. These camps are Denny Hollow (river mile 6.5/river left), Turner's Mill (river mile 21.5/river right), Stinking Pond Float Camp (river mile 22.0/river left), Horseshoe Bend (river mile 26.5/river left), Barn Hollow (river mile 27.0/river left), White Creek Camp (river mile 28.5/river left), Greenbriar (river mile 31.0/river left), Boze Mill (river mile 33.5/river left), and Morgan Creek (river mile 44.0/river right).

There are a couple of traditional campgrounds along the river. One is Greer Crossing Campground. There is a boat launch here and running water for drinking. There is a total of 19 sites and our experience is that the campground is very nicely maintained. It is located river right at river mile 16.7.

Floating the river is a relatively simple affair with 2 semi-challenging exceptions- Mary Decker Shoal and Halls Bay Rapid. A nice photo of Halls Bay is:
halls bay rapid. Mary Decker is at river mile 20.1 and Halls Bay is at river mile 34. They can and probably should be run on the right river line. I have found especially Mar Decker to be deceptive in that it appears a better run on the left. A review of the run from downstream will likely have you agreeing with my assessment.

There are canoe rental and shuttle services in the area. One is Eleven Point Canoe Rental and another is Richards Canoe Rental. I do not vouch for either as I have always had my own gear.

The Eleven Point is a beautiful river and the Irish Wilderness is a true gem.. Next time I will discuss some of the area's backcountry.

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