Ozark National Scenic Riverways
Guide

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Introduction

An abundance of caves, floating rivers, historic sites, and much more make Ozark National Scenic Riverways in Missouri a leading RV camping destination. Jacks Fork River and Current River within the park are some of the finest spring-fed clear waters you’ll find anywhere, not to mention the freshwater springs in the park. Even though this national park area is popular for its river systems, there is so much more to see and do here.

So many recreational opportunities are available at Ozark National Scenic Riverways for the adventurous camper. The clear waters of both rivers in the park offer opportunities for canoeing, swimming, tubing, and fishing. Hiking and bird watching are other activities that campers can enjoy in the park. Within designated areas, hunting is allowed. Cave exploration is another unique activity that campers get to enjoy in this area. There are also four designated equestrian trails open to horseback riders in the park. Exciting and educative ranger programs are offered to campers and visitors of all ages.

It's no wonder that about 1.5 million people visit Ozark National Scenic Riverways annually. There are three RV campgrounds within the park, which makes this place an ideal stop on your next RV camping trip.

Park Alerts (1)

[Park Closure] Big Spring Bridge Closed for Replacement until Fall 2019

The project to replace the Big Spring Bridge located on State Rte 103 is underway. Bridge will be closed to all vehicle and pedestrian traffic. The bridge will be closed until Fall 2019. Take Peavine to access Big Spring which is still open.

RV Rentals in Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Transportation in Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Driving

Ozark National Scenic Riverways is easy to access by RVs, trailers, and cars via Interstate 44, State Highway 19, or US Highway 60 in Missouri. The park has 318 miles of roads, many of which are secondary public routes and backcountry roads.

The main roads in the park are well maintained, so you’ll have no difficulty getting around in your RVs and cars. Exercise caution as you drive on the park’s hilly and winding roads and look out for other road users like cyclists, equestrians, and logging trucks. Dirt roads in the park may not be suitable for vehicles and RVs.

Parking

Parking lots are available for vehicles and RVs at Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Parking is allowed only in designated parking spaces. You can park your vehicles/RVs overnight if you’re camping here.

Public Transport

There are no direct public transportation services to Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

Campgrounds and parking in Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Campsites in Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Reservations camping

Round Spring Campground

Round Spring Campground, located 13 miles north of the town of Eminence, Missouri on Missouri Highway 19, features 52 pet-friendly campsites available for family tent, group, and RV camping. Six campsites in the campground offer electric hookup options for RVs. The RV length limit is 35 feet.

A shower house, RV dump station, restrooms, lantern post, and trash dumpsters are some of the amenities within the campground. An amphitheater, ranger station, campground hosts, and store are also on hand.

Reservations are accepted and some campsites may be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Big Spring Campground

Big Spring Campground features 123 pet-friendly campsites that accommodate tents, trailers, and RVs. There are 28 campsites in the campground that are equipped with electric hookup options for RVs. The vehicle length limit is 50 feet.

Campground amenities include shower houses, restrooms, lantern posts, and dumpsters. Campsites are equipped with picnic tables and fire rings.

Reservations are accepted and some campsites may be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Alley Spring Campground

Alley Spring Campground features 171 pet-friendly campsites that offer family tent camping, group camping, cluster camping, and RV camping options. There are 26 campsites in the campground equipped with electric and water hookups for RVs. No sewer hookups are available, but a dump station is located at the entrance to the campground. The RV length limit is 35 feet.

Campground amenities include shower houses, restrooms, and dumpsters. Campsites are equipped with picnic tables and fire rings.

Reservations are accepted and some campsites may be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Spring

Flora

Ozark National Scenic Riverways is home to diverse plant communities ranging from southern pine forests, to eastern hardwood forests and Great Plain biomes.

The white oak forests in the park feature paw paw trees and prickly pear cactus that grow side by side. Around the entrance to the park’s caves, some plant species which are relics of the Ice Age, thrive in cool areas. The dry rocky glade areas however consist of desert plant species. Together, these constitute just some of the 1,000 plant species that decorate Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

Summer

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is a popular activity at Ozark National Scenic Riverways, owing to the fact that the park has four designated equestrian trails that add up to about 26 miles. The horseback riding trails are even color coded. When you visit the park and want to ride your horse, you should know that the activity is restricted to the state and country unpaved roads in the park and the four designated equestrian trails.

You’ll have the opportunity to explore Ozark’s landscapes from the open fields to forested riparian bottomlands and upland oak-pine ridges on horseback. All these will offer panoramic views of this beautiful park.

Ranger Programs

Take advantage of the ranger programs on offer at Ozark NSR to make your visit to the park perfect. Some of these activities are done on a daily basis while others are annual. In any case there will be something for you do.

The ranger programs are interesting because Ozark National Scenic Riverways has many wonderful places to visit, which you’ll definitely want to see while at the park. Rangers, for instance, lead tours to The Alley Mill, a beautiful spot in the park which is open daily. You may also be interested in touring the Round Spring Cave with a ranger in the park. Campfire and Junior Ranger programs are also available.

Fall

Fauna

Ozark National Scenic Riverways is home to a wide variety of fauna species that range in size from shrew and moles to black bears and white-tailed deer. The most popular and abundant game animal in the park is deer. Bears, on the other hand, are quite rare, but sightings have been recorded and may be on the increase.

You may encounter panthers or mountain lions in the area too, although they are sighted rarely. Within the park’s waters beaver, mink, otters, and muskrat commonly occur. Squirrels, chipmunks, and mice are other mammals that exist within the park’s ecosystem.

Bird Watching

About 200 bird species have been seen nesting or migrating through Ozark National Scenic Riverways due to the wide diversity of habitats in the park and its situation along the Mississippi Flyway. It's really a premier bird watching destination for campers and visitors.

If you want to enjoy the best bird watching, you should visit the park during spring or fall. If you happen to be here in winter, not to worry, bald eagles are still commonly seen during this time.

A guide book and pair of binoculars will make your viewing experience more enjoyable.

Winter

Caving

One of the best things to do at Ozark National Scenic Riverways is to go caving. With more than 300 recorded caves in this park, there are more than enough exploratory possibilities for you. The abundance of caves in the area is due to the soluble dolomite that underlays the area, giving it the Karst topography.

What’s interesting is that several caves in the park house endangered Indiana and Gray bats, and you may find that some of the caves are even gated and/or signed to protect these bat populations.

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