Silver Mines Recreation Area


Area Status: Open

Silver Mines offers a variety of recreational opportunities and is abundant with historic and geological wonders. This beautiful area is located along the St. Francis River, the only river in Missouri classified as "white water," and is used for kayaking during the spring high waters. People enjoy hiking and fishing along the river throughout the year.

Silver Mines is located at a historic mining operation and is known for its Precambrian granite and felsite rocks. Silver Mines Recreation Area is named for the abandoned “Einstein Mine”, which was mined for Silver, Tungsten and Lead. The Einstein Silver Mining Company began mining in 1877, and mining ceased completely in 1946.

Nearby visitors can visit other natural attractions in the area, including Elephant Rocks State Park and Johnsons Shut-ins State Park.

Millstream Gardens Conservation Area, located up-river from Silver Mines, is the put-in for those looking to experience the white water on the St. Francis river.

This is a large recreation area, and particularly busy during the spring. However, visitors who come during the fall months will be treated to spectacular fall color along the St. Francis River.

 

Site Map

A printable Recreation Area Map.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Hiking, Picnicking and River Access:  6AM – 10PM
Campground: Only registered campers allowed in the area from 10PM – 6AM.
Reservations: Electric Campsites: Reservation needed -
  • Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance of visit for Standard campsites.
  • Reservations can be made up to 12 months in advance of a visit for Group campsites.
  • Reservations must be made at least 4 days in advance of visit.
Go to: Recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777 to make a reservation. Nonelectric Sites: No reservation
  • Nonelectric sits are available first come, first served.
 
Area Amenities: Accessible,Tent camping,Camping trailer,Fee charged for some activities,Picnic tables,Toilets,Drinking water,Parking
Fees: Day-Use Fee:
  • $5 per vehicle,
  • $10 per bus,
  • $20 for season pass;
Camping Fees:
  • $15 for single non-electric,
  • $25 for double non-electric, 
  • $20 for single electric,
  • $35 for double electric;
Group campsite
  • $50 to $100 depending upon number of campers.
Usage: Light
Restrictions:
  • ATV's & UTV's may not be operated within this recreation area
  • 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. 
  • This site has a campground host in Riverside Campground Loop
Closest Towns: Fredericktown, Ironton, Arcadia Valley, Farmington
Water: Pressurized Drinking Water
Restroom: Vault
Passes: Pass information can be found on the Passes and Permits page of the website. 
Operated By: USDA Forest Service
Information Center: Potosi-Fredericktown Ranger District
Email | Phone and Address

General Information

Directions:

From Fredericktown:

  • From the intersection of MO Hwy 72 and US Hwy 67, head West on Hwy 72 approx. 4.3 miles to State Hwy D, near the small community of Oak Grove.
  • Turn Left onto Hwy D, and travel approx. 2.9 miles to the entrance on your right.

From Arcadia/Ironton:

  • Head East on MO Hwy 72 approx. 13.6 miles to State Hwy D, near the small comminuty of Oak Grove.
  • Turn Right on Hwy D, and travel approx. 2.9 miles to the entrance on your right.

Accessibility:

All restrooms are ADA compliant.


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Campground Camping

Recreation areas with activity Campground Camping:

This campsite is popular during spring kayaking season. Silver Mines Recreation Area consists of 4 campground loops and 2 day use areas.

Campgrounds loops are:

  • Riverside: 11 electric hookup sites, views of river, lots of trees : busiest site
  • Prospect and Summit adjoined campgrounds: 43 non-electric sites, no river views, lots of trees: moderately busy
  • Group Site: max number of 74 people: moderately busy
  • Spring Branch: 16 non-electric sites, no river views, wooded : not busy

Each site has a table, fire ring, lantern post and a parking spur. Drinking water and vault toilets are conveniently located. No water hookups, showers or dump station facilities.

Some sites will accommodate RV/trailer combinations of up to 50 feet.

No. of Sites 70 individual sites:
  • 11 sites with electric hookup,
  • 59 nonelectric sites
1 group site

RV Camping

Recreation areas with activity RV Camping:

This campsite is popular during spring kayaking season. Silver Mines Recreation Area consists of 4 campground loops and 2 day use areas.

Campgrounds loops are:

  • Riverside: 11 electric hookup sites, views of river, lots of trees : busiest site
  • Prospect and Summit adjoined campgrounds: 43 non-electric sites, no river views, lots of trees: moderately busy
  • Group Site: max number of 74 people: moderately busy
  • Spring Branch: 16 non-electric sites, no river views, wooded : not busy

Each site has a table, fire ring, lantern post and a parking spur. Drinking water and vault toilets are conveniently located. No water hookups, showers or dump station facilities.

Some sites will accommodate RV/trailer combinations of up to 50 feet.

No. of Sites 11 sites with elecric hookups
Vehicle Clearence No restrictions
Size Restrictions Some sites can accomodate RVs up to 50'
Pavement Type of Parking Asphalt

Group Camping

Recreation areas with activity Group Camping:

1 group camp site  with two vault toilets, trash receptacles, water, 3 picnic tables, grills, 3 fire rings, and a walking trail that leads to the river.

The group site is back in the woods. There is a central picnic area with the tables, grills and fire rings. There is a loop around the central picnic area and there are three established camping areas off of the outside of the loop so your group can spread out.

No. of Sites 1 site that can accommodate up to 74 people

River and Stream Fishing

Recreation areas with activity River and Stream Fishing:

The St. Francis is a “pool-drop” type of river, with several stretches of swift water separated by placid calm pools, providing many fishing challenges.

Fish Species bass, sunfish
Fishing Mode float, bank, wade
Fishing Platform None
Water Temperature Warm
Fishing Method Pole

Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:

There are two 1 mile trails within the recreation area.

Silver Mines Trail

The Silver Mines Trail follows the St. Francis River. It is a wooded trail with beautiful bluffs of Precambrian granite and felsite rocks. There are no boardwalks. This is a hilly, well-maintained trail.

The 1-mile trail is located on the right side of the St. Francis River and can be accessed from the Take Out parking area and goes to Turkey Creek Picnic Area. From Turkey Creek Picnic Area, a 1.2 mile trail leads to Mill Stream Gardens Conservation Area, managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation (https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places/millstream-gardens-conservation-area)

Riverside Trail

The 1-mile Riverside Trail leads to the old Einstein Silver Mine from the Riverside Pavilion parking area. This trail follows the east side of the St. Francis River. It is a wooded trail with beautiful bluffs of Precambrian granite and felsite rocks. There are no boardwalks. This is a hilly, well-maintained trail.

The Einstein Mine is gated and there is no public access.

Viewing Wildlife

Recreation areas with activity Viewing Wildlife:

This is a great place to view eagles and other birds.

The ultimate wildlife viewing experience is watching animals in their habitat.  Here are some helpful tips to become a wildlife friendly viewer:

  • Use the right tools - A field guide, a pair of binoculars and a camera.  Wear clothing that is appropriate for the season and activity.
  • Watch at dawn and dusk - This is the time when most wildlife species are active enough to view.
  • Keep your distance - Maintain a distance that is comfortable for the wildlife.
  • Stay quiet - Move slowly and quietly to increase your chances of viewing wildlife, and to avoid stressing the animals you wish to watch.
  • Do not feed the wildlife - There is plenty of food availale in the wild.  Human food can cause digestive problems, provide improper nutrition, and even kill an animal. 

An online version of the Missouri Wildlife Viewing Guide is available on their website.

Viewing Scenery

Recreation areas with activity Viewing Scenery:

There are bluffs along each side of the St. Francis river.  You can walk over the bluffs  on the Silver Mines Trail

Picnicking

Recreation areas with activity Picnicking:

There are two day use areas and the Take-out.

Turkey Creek Day Use – This is a large lawn area next to the river. The grass is mowed regularly. There are two vault toilets. Each site has a pedestal grill. This is a good place to hang out and relax.

Riverside Day Use – This site is located up on the embankment next to the St. Francis River with a short, sandy, trail leading down to the river. The sites at this area each have a pedestal grill and table; and there is a water spigot located here. The toilets for this area are in the campground area.

Take-out – There is a picnic table, fire ring, vault toilets, a bench, and approximately 10 parking spots located here. This is a popular rest stop along the river for paddlers who put in at Millstream Gardens, before the river becomes unpassable.

No. of Sites Turkey Creek:
  • 8 individual sites
Riverside:
  • 8 individual sites
  • 1 pavilion
Take-out:
  • 1 individual site

Group Picnicking

Recreation areas with activity Group Picnicking:

Riverside Day Use – This site is located up on the embankment next to the St. Francis River with a short, sandy, trail leading down to the river. There is a water spigot located here. The toilets for this area are in the campground area.

The picnic shelter has one large grill and 6 picnic tables. There is a dumpster located nearby.

No. of Sites 1 pavilion for up to 74 people

Swimming

Recreation areas with activity Swimming:

This part of the St. Francis River is popular for water play and cooling off during the summer. There’s no swimming beach, but visitors are welcome to wade in the river.

The area is not managed for swimming: there are no lifeguards, depth or hazard markers, and the water is not tested. Rocks and drop-offs are not marked, and the current can be strong, especially during periods of high water. Enter the stream at your own risk.

Amenities

Camping trailer: Yes
Picnic tables: Yes
Tent camping: Yes
Parking: Turkey Creek: 10 vehicles; Riverside: 20 vehicles; Take-out: 10 vehicles; Day Use Parking (Summit and Prospect Loops): 15 vehicles
Toilets: Yes
Fee charged for some activities: Yes
Accessible: Some features and amenities are accessible
Drinking water: Yes

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Latitude : 
37.559161

  Longitude : 
-90.438790