Noblett Lake Recreation Area


Area Status: Open
Fall view on Noblett Lake

This beautiful recreation area was built in the late 1930s by men employed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).  It is a popular picnic, boating, and fishing site.  Several scenic hiking routes have trailheads near Noblett Lake.

Camp Willow housed the CCC and remnants of the camp can be seen about 2.5 miles east of AP Highway on Forest Road 108 (opposite the Noblett Lake Road). 

Noblett Lake Recreation Area located on the shore of the 26-acre lake, is a particularly scenic spot that offers picnicking, fishing, bird watching, canoeing and electric motor boating.

The picnic pavilion is set in a forest of oak and pine trees.

Primitive camping is available at the old loop known as Sugar Hill across from Noblett trailhead. The old Sugar Hill loop can accommodate trailer parking as well.

The Noblett Trailhead for the Ridge Runner National Recreational Trail is located within the area and offers a small amount of parking.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: The Noblett Recreation Area (Day Use Area and Dam Area) is open including the bathrooms. The area below the dam is open for dispersed camping.  The pavilion is available  by 1st come/1st serve. 
Operational Hours: Day Use hours 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Reservations: Reservation needed for the picnic pavilion -
  • Available for use first come, first served when not reserved.  
  • Reservations can be made up to 12 months in advance of visit.
  • Reservations must be made at least 3 days in advance of visit.
Area Amenities: Tent camping, Fee charged for some activities, Picnic tables, Toilets, Parking
Fees: Group picnic area pavilion:
  • $25/day.
Permit Info: If your group is over 75 people (whether using the pavilion or not), a special use permit is required. 
Open Season: January - December
Usage: Light-Medium
Restrictions:
  • No overnight camping allowed in Day Use Area.
  • Motorized travel, including trail bikes and All Terrain Vehicles are not permitted on the Ridge Runner Trail.
  • Horses are not allowed in the Day Use Area.
  • Dogs must be on a 6 foot leash in the day use area
  • Fireworks are prohibited.
  • Boats are allowed, only electric motors are permitted.
Closest Towns: West Plains; Willow Springs; Cabool; Mountain Grove
Water: None
Restroom: Vault
Operated By: USDA Forest Service
Information Center: Ava Cassville/Willow Springs Ranger District
Email | Phone and Address

General Information

Directions:

From Willow Springs

  • at the junction of Highways 60/63 and 76, take Highway 76 west for about 7 miles.
  • Turn left/south on Highway 181 for a little over a mile
  • turn left on Highway AP  for about 3 miles.
  • Turn right on Forest Road 857 and continue about 1 mile to turnoff for the day- use area.
  • The road continues to the Noblett Dam and Trailhead.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Mountain Biking

There are two short trails, a 0.31 mile walking trail connects the picnic area to the dam, and the 7.2-mile long Short Loop trail which circles the lake. The Noblett Loop, a connector between the Short Loop and the Ridge Runner Trails, can increase the loop around Noblett Lake to 13.4 miles.

Ridge Runner Trail - 23-miles

There is a 23-mile long segment of the Ridge Runner Trail that connects Noblett Lake and North Fork Recreation Area. Open to hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians, the trail leads you through a part of the Missouri Ozarks known for its beauty and limestone karst topography.

The landscape varies from gently rolling to very steep terrain with rock outcrops and bluffs. Vegetation along the trail is diverse and includes oak-hickory, short leaf pine, and bottomland forests. Remnant prairie plants can be seen, a reminder of a time when repeated wildfire burned the Ozarks allowing fingers of prairie to extend into the woods.

Dispersed Camping

Dispersed camping is allowed at the old campground loop on the hill across from the Noblett Trailhead.

Dispersed camping is the term used for free camping anywhere in the National Forest OUTSIDE of a designated campground.

Dispersed camping means there are no toilets, no structures, no trash cans, no treated water, and no fire grates.

There are extra responsibilities required for this type of camp. It's a must to educate yourself before you try it, but we hope the adventure of dispersed camping in the Mark Twain National Forest calls to you!

  1. Pick a Campsite and follow the Leave No Trace Principles
  2. Camp 100 feet away from trails and water sources.
  3. Treat any water found in the area before consuming it.
  4. Human waste (Feces) must be buried at least 6 inches deep and covered.
  5. Pack out all of your garbage.

For more information on Dispersed Camping visit our dispersed camping page which has information on picking a campsite, how to protect water quality, and campfires!

Lake and Pond Fishing

Noblett Lake is a popular place to fish for panfish (bluegills and sunfish), bass, and catfish. Electric motors only allowed.

Fish Species bluegills, sunfish, Panfish, bass
Fishing Mode boat, shore
Fishing Platform A concrete platform along the shore of the lake can be fished from. There are no railings so please use caution. There is a one-foot step up to get on the platform.
Fishing Method pole

Day Hiking

There are two short trails, a 0.31 mile walking trail connects the picnic area to the dam, and the 7.2-mile long Short Loop trail which circles the lake. The Noblett Loop, a connector between the Short Loop and the Ridge Runner Trails, can increase the loop around Noblett Lake to 13.4 miles.

Ridge Runner Trail - 23-miles

There is a 23-mile long segment of the Ridge Runner Trail that connects Noblett Lake and North Fork Recreation Area. Open to hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians, the trail leads you through a part of the Missouri Ozarks known for its beauty and limestone karst topography.

The landscape varies from gently rolling to very steep terrain with rock outcrops and bluffs. Vegetation along the trail is diverse and includes oak-hickory, short leaf pine, and bottomland forests. Remnant prairie plants can be seen, a reminder of a time when repeated wildfire burned the Ozarks allowing fingers of prairie to extend into the woods.

Backpacking

There are two short trails, a 0.31 mile walking trail connects the picnic area to the dam, and the 7.2-mile long Short Loop trail which circles the lake. The Noblett Loop, a connector between the Short Loop and the Ridge Runner Trails, can increase the loop around Noblett Lake to 13.4 miles.

Ridge Runner Trail - 23-miles

There is a 23-mile long segment of the Ridge Runner Trail that connects Noblett Lake and North Fork Recreation Area. Open to hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians, the trail leads you through a part of the Missouri Ozarks known for its beauty and limestone karst topography.

The landscape varies from gently rolling to very steep terrain with rock outcrops and bluffs. Vegetation along the trail is diverse and includes oak-hickory, short leaf pine, and bottomland forests. Remnant prairie plants can be seen, a reminder of a time when repeated wildfire burned the Ozarks allowing fingers of prairie to extend into the woods.

Horse Riding

There are two short trails, a 0.31 mile walking trail connects the picnic area to the dam, and the 7.2-mile long Short Loop trail which circles the lake. The Noblett Loop, a connector between the Short Loop and the Ridge Runner Trails, can increase the loop around Noblett Lake to 13.4 miles.

Ridge Runner Trail - 23-miles

There is a 23-mile long segment of the Ridge Runner Trail that connects Noblett Lake and North Fork Recreation Area. Open to hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians, the trail leads you through a part of the Missouri Ozarks known for its beauty and limestone karst topography.

The landscape varies from gently rolling to very steep terrain with rock outcrops and bluffs. Vegetation along the trail is diverse and includes oak-hickory, short leaf pine, and bottomland forests. Remnant prairie plants can be seen, a reminder of a time when repeated wildfire burned the Ozarks allowing fingers of prairie to extend into the woods.

Picnicking

Individual picnic tables and grills in an open area near the pavilion. Vault toilets are available. There is no water available; visitors must bring their own.

No. of Sites 3 sites

Group Picnicking

The pavilion offers seating for up to 75 people, is equipped with electricity, tables and grills. Trash collection services are provided. There is no water available; visitors must bring their own. A parking area for the pavilion and the adjacent trail is available.

No. of Sites 1 picnic pavilion

Boating - Non-Motorized

The 26-acre Noblett Lake is a popular place for canoeing or fishing with small non-motorized or electric motor boats. The lake is shallow at the upper end and around 20 feet deep at the dam.

There is a gravel boat launch by the dam.

Amenities

Picnic tables: Yes
Tent camping: Yes
Fee charged for some activities: Yes
Parking: Day Use: 35 vehicles; Trailhead: 7 vehicles
Toilets: Yes

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Latitude : 
36.90828

  Longitude : 
-92.096578