Just two hours southwest of St. Louis in Salem, Missouri, you will find Montauk State Park, which is known for its awesome trout fishing, spectacular RV campgrounds, and three scenic trails. This 2,920-acre wonderland is a fun place to explore and enjoy at the headwaters of the Current River where it meets Pigeon Creek. This junction supplies more than 40 million gallons of water to the river every day, making it a perfect place to catch any species of aquatic critter you are looking for. Whether you are here to do some trout fishing, go hiking or biking, or just relax, Montauk State Park is the place to go in your camper or trailer.
If you want to learn some history about the Montauk area, take a guided tour with a friendly and knowledgeable naturalist who can take you on a tour of the grist mill that was built in 1896. With over 450,000 visitors every year, you know that this is the place to go in Missouri no matter where you are coming from. Pack up the family and all the gear in the rig and head to the best trout fishing park in the Midwest. And don’t forget your pooch. Pets are allowed in the park and campground as long as they are restrained or on a leash at all times.
Only two hours from St. Louis or Springfield or four hours from Kansas City you can find this fun park with tons of things to do. The drive to the park is almost as beautiful as the park itself! Whether you take Interstate 44 from St. Louis or Highway 70 east from Kansas City, the drive to the park takes you through some of the most stunning parts of Missouri so keep your camera handy. Once you get off the highway and onto MO-72, you will need to slow it down if you are in a big rig or pulling a trailer. The streets are narrow and curvy and wild animals sometimes wander onto the road.
When you get into Montauk State Park, you should have no problem getting around in your RV as it is very well-groomed and easy to navigate. However, you are better off parking the rig at the campsite and using your feet to get around the park. The sites are spacious and well-kept and some of the sites are off by themselves so you can have more seclusion if you want. If you are close to the water, it can get noisy during the summer so if you want peace and quiet, choose a spot further back in the woods.
Loop 4 has 26 campsites with electric and driveways from 38 to 65 feet in length. There are two family sites with an extra pad and electric hookup as well as one that is ADA-accessible. For those who want to camp in the off-season, you can find three frost-free water spigots and there is a shower house, laundry facility, and flush toilets on the road to Loop 3. In addition, there are two extra parking lots for guests nearby. The amphitheater is located by the south parking lot where they hold interpretive programs for children and adults during the spring and summer seasons. Don’t forget Fido! Dogs are allowed as long as they are on a leash or restrained at all times.
In Loop 3, there are 16 premium electric campsites on the banks of the Current River; some of them so close you can fish from your RV if you want to. The pads run from 40 to 65 feet in length and have several ADA-accessible sites as well. There is one family site that has a second pad of 55 feet in length and an additional electric hookup. All of them have a picnic table, fire pit, and lantern hanger. There are four frost-free water access spots for winter campers and two extra parking lots for guests. The shower house, flushable toilets, and laundry facilities are along the road to Loop 4. Pooches are welcome as long as they are on a leash or restrained at all times.
There are 33 premium electric sites at Loop 2 right on the riverbank that include the fire pit, picnic table, and lantern hook. The driveways range from 48 to 73 feet in length so you should find a pad that fits your needs. This loop is a bit larger than the first one and has several ADA-accessible sites as well as two family sites that have an extra pad of about 50 feet and another electric hookup as well. You will also find six frost-free water faucets for your convenience for cold weather camping. You will share the shower, restrooms, woodlot, and laundry with Loop 1, which is in between the two loops. Pets are welcome if you keep them restrained or on a leash at all times.
Loop 1 has 20 basic sites each with a table, grill, and lantern hook just a few feet from the Current River. The driveways range in size from 45 to 65 feet so your rig should fit no matter how big it is. There is also one family site with an extra 55-foot pad for a second RV or camper and there are two sites with ADA access. You can find a wood lot, shower house with hot water, restrooms with flush toilets, and laundry facilities at the parking lot near campsite 131 in between Loop 1 and Loop 2. There are also four frost-free water spigots for when the weather gets cold. You can bring your dog if you keep them restrained or on a leash at all times.
First-come, first-served campsites are available but you need to check with the camp host of park ranger before you unpack at a reservable site. If you cannot find a park employee, just follow the instructions on the vacancy card on the post by the campsite.
There are two hiking trails at Montauk; one that is easy, and the other is rugged and difficult. The Montauk Lake Trail is an easy trek of less than one mile with a level path that makes it ADA and stroller accessible. You will cross over the spring branch on a small bridge and meander along the bank of the river for a short time. Watch for waterfowl, deer, otters, and other critters you can get pictures of. The difficult Pine Ridge Trail is just under one and a half miles starting at the stone picnic shelter and over the footbridge before heading up into the Montauk Upland Forest Natural Area. Hiking up the steep grade to the summit is worth it though, as you can see the beauty of the Missouri Ozarks.
Whether you are looking for rainbow or brown trout, you can find both of them here at Montauk State Park from March through October. The three best ways to catch a trophy trout is by fly fishing, spinners, or live bait such as nightcrawlers or red wigglers. And if you have any problems catching those clever fish, talk to one of the experienced fishermen at the tackle shop. Be sure to pack your net in the camper in case you catch a big one!
Gather your family into the RV and head to Montauk State Park for a family fun day. It does not have to be summertime to enjoy the outdoors when Montauk has two large picnic shelters with restroom facilities, BBQ pits, picnic tables, and a water fountain. There is also a playground for the kids, and you are close to the water so you can go fishing or swimming before or after lunch or dinner. The large shelter can hold up to 70 guests and has electricity and the older shelter holds about 30 people but does not have electricity.
There are a wide variety of interpretive programs held at Montauk State Park for both children as well as adults. Some of these are held at the amphitheater by the Loop 4 campground while others are held at various locations around the park. For example, there are hiking tours that focus on wildflowers, history, or birds, night hikes to listen to the night animals sounds, games and crafts at the park store or lodge, and live animal demonstrations. Whatever you are interested in, Montauk State Park has it so don’t just sit by your motorhome while you are here. Get out and enjoy nature.
There is one paved path that is specifically made for those who want to ride their bicycles. This short path is less than a tenth of a mile and starts at the Current River bridge by Campground Loop 1 and goes to the Montauk Lodge. This lovely trail is lighted so you can enjoy it even after dark and there is a bench on the banks of the Current River where you can sit and have a snack while you enjoy the view. So, make sure you put the bike on the RV bike rack before heading to the park.
The Current River is very well-known for its float trips in Missouri so don’t forget to pack your inner tube or raft in the campervan. You can head upriver and float down to your campsite or keep on floating as far as you like if you don’t mind walking back. However, they do have quite a few outfitters in the area that will drop you off and pick you up. You can even rent a kayak or canoe from one of the area rental locations.