Council Bluff Recreation Area

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

View of the Beach and playground area at Council Bluff Lake

This lake is the largest of the lakes on the Mark Twain National Forest and is managed under a special use permit from the USDA-FS.  Offers camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, and swimming. The lake was created by a dam across Big River; the lake is 87 feet deep at its deepest point with an area of 440 acres. Boat motors are limited to 10 horsepower or must be operated at a no wake speed if larger than 10 horsepower. A Printable Brochure is available.

At a Glance

Operational Hours:  Beach: 5/24/13 thru 9/3/13: 10:00AM – 8:00PM 
Campground: Open Year-Round 6:00AM – 10:00PM (except for campers)
Boat Ramp: Open Year-Round
Lake Shore Trail: Open Year-Round 
Fees Day-Use Fee: $3 per vehicle; $10 per bus; $20 for season pass. Pavilion - may be reserved; additional fee of $25 for the pavilion, plus $10 reservation fee. Camping Fee - $10.00 single and $20 double sites. Chapel Hill Beach - 54,000 sq.ft. sand beach; concession stand; coin-operated hot showers; changing rooms; flush toilets; body showers.
Usage: Light-Medium
Restrictions: Individual concessionaire may have certain restrictions in place; no food, glass containers or pets on beach.
Closest Towns: Belgrade, Caledonia, Viburnum
Water: Drinking Water
Restroom: Vault in campground; Flush at beach
Operated By: Concessionaire, Bear Paw Recreation LLC 573-766-5765

General Information


From St. Louis, take Hwy. 21 south to Potosi (60 miles); turn west on Hwy 8, then south on Hwy P at the first stoplight; continue south on Hwy P (12 miles) to Hwy C, then turn west for .1 miles to Hwy DD; turn south and continue to entrance (7 miles).


Beaches & Dunes

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Camping & Cabins

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Campground Camping

Wild Boar Campground, open year-round, has 39 single sites, 7  double sites, 9 walk-in sites, and 4 group sites, each with table, fire ring, lantern post and (except for walk-in sites) a parking spur. Drinking water and vault toilets are conveniently located. Coin-operated hot showers available at Chapel Hill from 5/24/13 thru 9/3/13. Pressurized water hydrants available in central locations. 

Fees: Single Sites - $10; Double Sites - $20; Group Sites - $25

RV Camping

Can accommodated up to 40' RVs. No electric or water hookup, showers or dump station facilities. Sites are available for reservations through, or by calling 877-444-6777.

Group Camping

4 group camp sites which can accommodate up to 50 people each and is available for reservations at


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Nature Viewing

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Water Activities

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