North Fork Recreation Area


Area Status: Open
Floating the North Fork of the White River

North Fork Recreation Area provides camping, picnicking, boating, canoeing, hiking and fishing access to the beautiful North Fork of the White River, which has a total of nine major springs flowing into it.

As you drive into the site, the first right takes you to the boat access area. If you go straight you’ll hit a t-intersection, if you go left you enter the campground, if you go right you enter the day use.

The site is surrounded by an oak/hickory forest, there are a lot of tulip poplar and sycamore in that area.

From the day use area, and sometimes the campground, you have amazing views looking across the river of the mixed hardwood and pine forest and the rock bluffs that envelope the river. On the other side of the river is the beginning of the Devils Backbone Wilderness Area. Some sites have views of the river before trees and bushes leaf out.

North Fork Recreation Area serves as trailhead for the 35-mile long Ridge Runner National Recreation Trail and the Blue Spring Trail.

There are multiple springs that contribute to the river, one of the largest is Blue Spring, which contributes around 7 million gallons  of cold, clear water every day to the river. Near North Fork, from the river you can paddle up into Blue Spring or hike the Blue Spring Trail. The spring is about 30 feet in diameter. One three sides, the stone wall is made of cherty Gasconade dolomite that surrounds the spring and represents the karst topography of Ozarks.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: North Fork Recreation Area - Day Use Area
  • open year-round
North Fork Recreational Area Campground
  • open for season April 1
  • No water during cold weather
Operational Hours: North Fork Recreation Area - Day Use Area
  • Quiet Hours 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM.
North Fork Recreational Area Campground 
  • Quite Hours: 10:00 PM – 6:00 AM;
  • Check out time: 2:00 PM
Reservations: All sites are first come, first served.
Rentals & Guides:  
Area Amenities: Accessible, Boat ramp, Tent camping, Camping trailer, Fee charged for some activities, Picnic tables, Toilets, Drinking water, Parking
Fees: Campground – single site nightly fees are
  • $10.00/nonelectric
Day Use Area Fees:
  • $2.00 per vehicle
  • $10.00 per bus
  • $20 annual fee
Open Season: May - November
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Restrictions:
  • No motorized vehicles permitted on trail system. No motorized vehicles beyond posted signs.
  • Fireworks are prohibited.
  • 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. 
  • Please use trash containers located at the day use area and in the campground
  • Please adhere to posted speed limits
  • Campground: Fees will be paid at the fee tubes provided for camping, day use, and the boat launch
Closest Towns: West Plains, Dora
Water: Pressurized Drinking Water System
Restroom: Vault
Passes: Pass information can be found on the Passes and Permits page of the website. 
Operated By: USDA Forest Service
Information Center: Ava Cassville/Willow Springs Ranger District
Email | Phone and Address

General Information

Directions:

From West Plains, MO

  • take State Route CC west 18 miles
  • The site is on the left side of the road

From Dora


Accessibility:

Several picnic tables, toilets, handicap parking at the day use area

 

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Campground Camping

Recreation areas with activity Campground Camping:

Each site has a table, fire ring with grills on them, and tent pad. Drinking water, vault toilets and garbage collection are centrally located.

Sites are suitable for small, under 30’, travel trailers.

There is electric at one site.

Sites are spread out around three loops, and are relatively private from each other. 

No. of Sites 19 single sites

RV Camping

Recreation areas with activity RV Camping:

Each site has a table, fire ring with grills on them, and tent pad. Drinking water, vault toilets and garbage collection are centrally located.

Sites are suitable for small, under 30’, travel trailers, but some can accommodate up to 34' RVs.

There is electric at one site. The RV pedestal hookup is a 30 amp and also has a 110 outlet.

Sites are spread out around three loops, and are relatively private from each other. 

No water and sewer hookups available at this location.

The use of generators is not prohibited, but remember quiet hours start at 10:00 PM.

No. of Sites Single: 19
Vehicle Clearence No restrictions
Size Restrictions Sites are suitable for small, under 30’, travel trailers, but some can accommodate up to 34' RVs.
Pavement Type of Parking Asphalt

River and Stream Fishing

Recreation areas with activity River and Stream Fishing:

Float, Wade, or bank fish to catch bass, sunfish and/or trout in the North Fork of the White River.

Fish Species Bass, sunfish and trout
Fishing Mode boat, shore, wade
Fishing Platform None
Water Temperature Cold
Fishing Method Fly, Pole

Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:

Day hikers can enjoy the 0.6 mile Blue Spring Trail, or portions of the Ridge Runner Trail or Devils Backbone Wilderness Trails.

Blue Spring Trail - .6 miles

This very short walk takes you from North Fork Campground to the beautiful Blue Spring. The Trail parallels the North Fork of the White River and travels into the Devil’s Backbone Wilderness.

Ridge Runner Trail - 33 miles

The Ridge Runner Trail, a National Recreation Trail, consists of a 6 mile loop at Noblett Lake, a 6 mile loop near the North Fork Recreation Area, and a 21 mile long segment in between that extends from Noblett Lake in the north to the North Fork Recreation Area in the south.

Devils Backbone Wilderness Trails - 13 miles

Thirteen miles of maintained foot and horse trails follow the Devils Backbone and four other ridges, dropping off into surrounding hollows in a forest dominated by oaks, hickories, and shortleaf pines.

Backpacking

Recreation areas with activity Backpacking:

Day hikers can enjoy the 0.6 mile Blue Spring Trail, or portions of the Ridge Runner Trail or Devils Backbone Wilderness Trails.

Blue Spring Trail - .6 miles

This very short walk takes you from North Fork Campground to the beautiful Blue Spring. The Trail parallels the North Fork of the White River and travels into the Devil’s Backbone Wilderness.

Ridge Runner Trail - 33 miles

The Ridge Runner Trail, a National Recreation Trail, consists of a 6 mile loop at Noblett Lake, a 6 mile loop near the North Fork Recreation Area, and a 21 mile long segment in between that extends from Noblett Lake in the north to the North Fork Recreation Area in the south.

Devils Backbone Wilderness Trails - 13 miles

Thirteen miles of maintained foot and horse trails follow the Devils Backbone and four other ridges, dropping off into surrounding hollows in a forest dominated by oaks, hickories, and shortleaf pines.

Picnicking

Recreation areas with activity Picnicking:

There are 4 sites for day use picnicking with grills and tables. The area also offers vault toilets, drinking water and centralized garbage collection.

No. of Sites 4 sites

Boating - Non-Motorized

Recreation areas with activity Boating - Non-Motorized:

There is a concrete ramp leading to a stepped entry into the river for visitors to carry down canoes or kayaks to the water. Where the ramp ends and the steps start going down there’s a five foot drop between the end of the ramp and the riverbed.

The put-in before North Fork is Hebron, operated MDC. The section from Hebron to North Fork is very shallow during the summer months.

Access to the river south of North Fork is at Blair Bridge, operated by MDC, to take out, about 10 miles by river. This section can be floated all year.

Type of Craft canoe, kayak
Class of Rapids The Falls – heading to Blair Bridge - may be an average of a two foot drop; about 7 miles downriver from North Fork

Swimming

Recreation areas with activity Swimming:

Swimming is out of the day use area. There’s a small cove with fairly shallow water (if you are over 5’5”), and a slower current as long as you stay near the shoreline.

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

Tubing

Recreation areas with activity Tubing:

You can tube from the day use area to Blue Spring, about a half mile trip.

Amenities

Camping trailer: Yes
Picnic tables: Yes
Tent camping: Yes
Parking: Day Use: 20 vehicles; Boat Launch: 10 vehicles with trailers
Toilets: Yes
Fee charged for some activities: Yes
Accessible: Some features and amenities are accessible
Boat ramp: Yes
Drinking water: Yes

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Latitude : 
36.758606

  Longitude : 
-92.152801