Sutton Bluff Recreation Area


Area Status: Closed

Roomy campsites surrounded by open lawn and natural shading, cool breezes, abundant songbirds, and scenic views all await visitors at the Sutton Bluff Recreation Area.

The Sutton Bluff Campground is set alongside the West Fork of the Black River in a forested hardwood bottom. Sutton Bluff is located 13 miles outside Centerville, Missouri. It is nestled among a variety of short-leaf pine trees and shrubs, and a number of campsites sit alongside the West Fork of the Black River.

This campground serves the nearby Sutton Bluff ATV and Motorcycle Trail System. A 45-mile off-road vehicle trail. Permits are required for off-road vehicle use in the area.

The Karkaghne section of the Ozark Trail, which is popular among backpackers, hikers and mountain bikers, is accessible from a trailhead less than a mile from the campground.

The West Fork of Black River provides access to a serene, slow-moving mountain stream and a natural gravel beach. Visitors enjoy wading in the waters, however the current is not strong enough to enable floating the river. Anglers can enjoy a variety of bass and bluegill.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Quiet Hours 10PM and 6AM.
Reservations: There are some first come, first served single sites. Reservation needed -
  • Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance of visit for single sites.
  • Reservations can be made up to 12 months in advance of a visit for group site and picnic pavilion.
  • Reservations must be made at least 3 days in advance of visit.
Go to: Recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777 to make a reservation.  
Area Amenities: Accessible,Tent camping,Camping trailer,Fee charged for some activities,Picnic tables,Toilets,Drinking water,Parking
Fees: Electric sites:
  • Single - $20,
  • Double - $30
Non-electric sites:
  • Single - $10,
  • Double - $20
  • Group non-electric campsite: $40
Day Use Fee
  • Per Vehicle: $2
  • Per Bus: $10
  • Group picnic area pavilion: $25
There is a 50% discount for camping for anyone with an Interagency Access or Senior Pass. Interagency passes cover the full day use fees, excluding busses.
Permit Info: Permits are required for off-road vehicle use on Forest Service trails. Permit information can be found on the Passes and Permits page of the website.
Open Season: March - November
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Restrictions:
  • ATV use in the campground limited to ingress and egress to the trail
  • Campground: Fees will be paid at the fee tube provided.
  • Campsite parking allows for two vehicles per site. Park only in designated parking areas.
  • No more than 8 people are permitted at single sites (16 for double sites).
  • Dogs must be on a 6 foot leash in the campground.
  • Only collect dead and downed wood for campfires.
  • Fireworks prohibited
  • ATV’s and UTVs must stay on road surfaces, and cannot be on grassy areas within the campground or in the river/on adjacent gravel bars.
  • Livestock, including horses, are not permitted at the recreation area
Closest Towns: Centerville, Bunker
Water: Pressurized Drinking Water System - No hookups
Restroom: Flush and separate Vault Toilet
Passes: Pass information can be found on the Passes and Permits page of the website.
Operated By: USDA Forest Service
Information Center: Salem Ranger District
Email | Phone and Address

General Information

Directions:

From Centerville, Missouri,


Accessibility:

Campsites are all accessible. Lantern posts, grills, restrooms, tables, and fire rings are all accessible. The pavilion at this site is also accessible.


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Campground Camping

This is a loop campground adjacent to the West Fork of the Black River. Most sites are roomy, with a wide, flat-to-gently sloping paved parking spur. There is a lot of space between campsites.

Each of these has a picnic table, fire ring, and lantern post. Flush toilet and showers available.

No. of Sites
  • Electric: 10
  • Nonelectric: 18
  • Group: Nonelectric: 1

RV Camping

Can accommodate RV/trailer combinations of up to 50’ in length. There are a few sites that cannot accommodate trailers or large RV’s, they are 29, 32, and 33.

Electrical hookups available at this location. No water or sewer hookups available.

This is a loop campground adjacent to the West Fork of the Black River. Most sites are roomy, with a wide, flat-to-gently sloping paved parking spur. There is a lot of space between campsites.

Each of these has a picnic table, fire ring, and lantern post. Flush toilet and showers available.

No. of Sites
  • Electric: 10
  • Nonelectric: 18
  • Group: Nonelectric: 1
Vehicle Clearence No restrictions
Size Restrictions Can accommodate RV/trailer combinations of up to 50’ in length. There are a few sites that cannot accommodate trailers or large RV’s, they are 29, 32, and 33.
Pavement Type of Parking Asphalt

Group Camping

1 group camp site which can accommodate up to 50 people.

No electric, water or sewer hookups available.

This is a loop campground adjacent to the West Fork of the Black River. Most sites are roomy, with a wide, flat-to-gently sloping paved parking spur. There is a lot of space between campsites.

There is a large grill and multiple picnic tables. There is a vault toilet near the group site.

This site is frequently busy.

No. of Sites
  • Group: Nonelectric - 1

River and Stream Fishing

This river is known for smallmouth bass and various species of sunfish. The West Fork of the Black River has crystal clear water and runs mostly shallow with a few deep holes. Common to the streams of the Missouri Ozark, the bottom of the river is a mixed rock aggregate.

Fishing Mode boat, wade, shoreline
Fish Species smallmouth bass, sunfish
Fishing Platform None
Water Temperature Warm
Fishing Method Rod & Reel, Flyfish
Water/Flow Level medium to fast

Day Hiking

Karkaghne Section of the Ozark Trail 

This 25 mile trail section originates at MO Hwy J just east of Oates. It meanders south across the forested watershed for the West Fork of the Black river to the Sutton Bluff campground, and beyond to the Blair Creek section at MO Hwy 32 and P.

Backpacking

Karkaghne Section of the Ozark Trail 

This 25 mile trail section originates at MO Hwy J just east of Oates. It meanders south across the forested watershed for the West Fork of the Black river to the Sutton Bluff campground, and beyond to the Blair Creek section at MO Hwy 32 and P.

Viewing Scenery

When paddling down the river you will have stone bluffs on one side. From the tops of the bluffs you will have spectacular views of the West Fork of the Black River and adjacent pastoral setting of Ozark farmland nestled in the forest.

OHV Camping

Many campsites are roomy enough to accommodate ATV's and trailers. From here, you must trailer any unlicensed vehicles to the trails, unless you also possess a county permit for that vehicle. ATV’s and UTVs must stay on road surfaces, and cannot be on grassy areas within the campground or in the river/on adjacent gravel bars.

Sites can accommodate RV/trailer combinations of up to 50’ in length. There are a few sites that cannot accommodate trailers or large RV’s, they are 29, 32, and 33.

Electrical hookups available at this location. No water or sewer hookups available.

This is a loop campground adjacent to the West Fork of the Black River. Most sites are roomy, with a wide, flat-to-gently sloping paved parking spur. There is a lot of space between campsites.

Each of these has a picnic table, fire ring, and lantern post. Flush toilet and showers available.

No. of Sites
  • Electric: 10
  • Nonelectric: 18
  • Group: Nonelectric: 1 
Size Restrictions Can accommodate RV/trailer combinations of up to 50’ in length. There are a few sites that cannot accommodate trailers or large RV’s, they are 29, 32, and 33.

OHV Trail Riding

Sutton Bluff Trail

This is an almost 45-mile long trail system with multiple road crossings. The segmented trails are accessed via county roads and Forest Service system roads; trails cannot be accessed directly from the campground without riding along the road. Trail segments follow forested ridge tops and cross deep hollows.

Picnicking

There is one large pedestal grill and tables under a pavilion in the recreation area. There are also individual tables scattered around. There is parking next to the pavilion.

No. of Sites Four individual picnic tables and a picnic pavilion with 10 tables

Group Picnicking

There is one large pedestal grill and tables under a pavilion in the recreation area. There are also individual tables scattered around. There is parking next to the pavilion.

No. of Sites picnic pavilion with 10 tables

Swimming

There is a free day use area across the road, across the bridge, that is part of the recreation area.  At this area is a gravel bar with a deep pool of water that is popular for swimming.

This part of the West Fork of the Black River is popular for water play and cooling off during the summer. The current can be strong, especially during periods of high water.

The area is not managed for swimming: there are no lifeguards, depth or hazard markers, and the water is not tested.

Amenities

Camping trailer: Yes
Picnic tables: Yes
Tent camping: Yes
Parking: Pavilion: 4 vehicles
Toilets: Yes
Fee charged for some activities: Yes
Accessible: Some amenities and features are accessible
Drinking water: Yes

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Latitude : 
37.475744

  Longitude : 
-91.006698