In Lincoln County, Missouri, you will find the 6,426-acre Cuivre River State Park, which offers so much to do, you will have to stay a while. So, it’s a good thing they have over 100 campsites, most with enough space in the driveway to park a large RV or camper, because you are going to need a few days to do everything you want.
Cuivre River was dedicated as a state park by President Harry S. Truman in 1946 after transferring it from a recreational demonstration area. There are several rustic features in the park from the Civilian Conservation Corps era, such as the Camp Sherwood Forest Area, stone picnic shelter, and the rock bridge over Little Sugar Creek.
This park in northeastern Missouri is one of the most rustic and rugged in the state with plenty of things to do no matter what you are into. If you want to go boating, fishing, or swimming, you can do so in Lake Lincoln, Big Sugar Creek, or Cuivre River, and if you want to go hiking, there’s 45 miles of trails from easy to moderate difficulty. Or you can just park your RV at your campsite and go for a walk or bike ride with your camera to get some shots of the local critters.
Cuivre River State Park is only an hour from St. Louis just outside of Troy, Missouri on State Highway 47. Finding the park is easy even if you don’t use your GPS because it is a popular park and there are plenty of signs all over the area telling you how to get there. And if you still have trouble, you can ask any of the locals, and they can tell you the way.
The road to the park is a nice, straight, and well-groomed highway so you should have no issues driving a rig or trailer, but when you get into the park, the roads are a bit less groomed and curvy. However, during the regular season, the park is typically well-kept, so you should not have trouble if you drive slowly and watch out for low-hanging branches.
Once you park your motorhome or trailer at your campsite, it is best to use your feet to get you around unless you are planning to go quite a ways. Many people bring bikes to get around, which is easy and fun to do in a park this size. With 113 campsites, you should not have any problem finding one you like, but it is best if you reserve them in advance so you get one that your camper or RV will fit into.
This campground has 13 campsites for those with horses. Eight of these have electric, and the remaining five are basic. There are potable water and vault toilet access within walking distance. One campsite is ADA-accessible, and pets are allowed at all campsites as long as they are leashed. The driveways range from 35 to 57 feet so you should have no trouble parking whatever size rig you have. During the off-season, you can get water from the frost-free spigot by campsite 69.
Campground 1 has 100 campsites; 20 with electric, 50 basic, and 30 with sewer, electric, and water. Several campsites are ADA-accessible, and pets are allowed at all campsites as long as they are leashed. There is potable water access at several spots in each section of campground one, and in the middle of the campground, you can find a shower house, restrooms, and laundry facilities. The camp store and playground are at the beginning of the park by campsite one, and there is an amphitheater nearby that provides special programs and activities for both kids and adults during the summer. The RV dump station is up by the north end of the park, and the lots range from 37 to 65 feet, so you have room for most RVs or trailers. During the off-season, you can get water from the frost-free spigot by campsite 69.
There are some campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis but it is at the discretion of the park ranger or campground host.
There’s a variety of aquatic species in Lake Lincoln, Cuivre River, and Big Sugar Creek as well as in the streams and ponds at the park. Some of the most plentiful sport fish include sunfish, bluegill, buffalo, carp, catfish, and bass. The best baits to use here are lures, worms, and cut bait no matter what the season. You can also expect to find some crawfish, turtles, and small fish like the red shiner and minnows. Make sure you pack all your fishing gear in the RV before you head out and check with a park employee at the visitor center about the rules and regulations.
Pack your whole family in the RV and head over to Cuivre River State Park for a picnic in the off-season when it is nice and peaceful. There are six picnic areas and two reservable picnic shelters. At the end of 147, you can find the stone shelter, which can hold up to 50 people with picnic tables, a grill, and restrooms. The other shelter is on Camp Cuivre Road, and it holds up to 120 people so you can invite more than just your immediate family. This one is by reservation only though so be sure to call in advance.
Cuivre River State Park has nine different equestrian trails of various lengths and difficulty that you can enjoy and explore with your equestrian friend. There are scenic vistas along Frenchman’s Bluff, unique glades, valleys of hickories and oak trees, and prairies of vibrant wildflowers. Meander alongside Big Sugar Creek where you can stop and fish, swim, or let your horse get cooled off. You can leave your trailer at the campsite and just head out on your horse from the equestrian campsite where several of the trailheads begin.
With 45 miles of trails, you have plenty of reason to get out of the RV or camper and get outdoors. In fact, there are 12 different trails here from less than a mile to 11 miles long that vary in intensity and skill levels. The Cuivre River Trail is the main trail and is also the longest, used by hikers, bikers, and equestrians alike. It is separated into two loops; the north loop is four miles, and the south loop is seven miles. The four-mile Lakeside Loop Trail is also popular, especially with fishers since it meanders along the shoreline of Lincoln Lake.
There is a fabulous and clean public swimming beach at the north end of Lake Lincoln and features a changing house and restrooms. It is close enough to the campgrounds to walk, so you do not have to worry about finding a spot to park the RV or trailer. Bring some floats or beach balls along and spend a day in the water before heading back to the campsite for dinner. No pets allowed on the beach, and there are no lifeguards, so you swim at your own risk.
Take a trip down the Cuivre River with an inner tube, raft, canoe, or kayak where you can enjoy some of the best floating in Missouri. There are miles of river to explore with shoals and gravel bars to stop and fish, sunbathe, or just relax with a nice lunch. The scenery of nature so close to the city is unbelievable so make sure you bring your waterproof camera. Leave the RV at the campsite and just walk upriver so you can float back down to your camp.