Marble Creek Recreation Area

Area Status: Open
View of the Marble Creek shut-ins that run along the recreation area

Marble Creek, which travels through the National Forest for about 20 miles, is named for its colorful deposits of dolomite, which was mined and used as "Taum Sauk Marble" many years ago.  

The mineral dolomite is the main component of the sedimentary rock that is also called dolomite. It is similar to the mineral calcite but contains magnesium as well as calcium. Just based on looks, the rock dolomite is often impossible to distinguish from limestone, which is composed mainly of calcite.

Previously, a grist mill operated in the area operated until 1935. Remains of the grist mill dam and building are still visible today.

The site is remote, with the nearest town about 20 minutes away and there is no cell service.

This is a great campground to visit if you are looking for a quiet visit to the forest. This is also a great place for swimming and fishing. Campsites are shaded by the tall trees around the area. There are several Creekside sites available.

Located in the campground is the main trailhead for the Marble Creek Section of the Ozark Trail. The trailhead is across highway D, directly across from the campground entrance.

Old Mill Dam swimming hole in Marble Creek Recreation Area View of the Marble Creek shut-ins that run along the recreation area

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Scheduled to open April 4, 2024
Operational Hours: Campground Quiet Hours - 10:00PM to 6:00AM
Reservations: All sites are first come, firsts served
Area Amenities: Accessible, Tent camping, Fee charged for some activities, Picnic tables, Toilets, Parking
Fees: Campgrounds:
  • Single - $15.00/night
Day Use:
  • $5.00 per vehicle per day
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.
Open Season: April - October
Usage: Light-Medium
  • Trash service available April - October only.
  • Horses are allowed at trailhead, but not within campground or picnic area.
  • 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. 
Closest Towns: Ironton, Fredericktown
Water: None
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


From Fredericktown:

  • From the intersection of MO Hwy 72 and US Hwy 67, head South on Hwy 67 approx. 2.8 miles to the MO State Hwy E exit,
  • then turn Right/West onto Hwy E. Travel approx. 15.5 miles along State Hwy E;
  • Marble Creek will be on your right.

From Arcadia/Ironton:

  • Head south on MO Hwy 21/Hwy 72 for approx. 1.5 miles to State Hwy E.
  • Travel approx. 12.5 miles along State Hwy E;
  • Marble Creek will be on your left.


Restrooms, tables, fire rings, and lantern posts are handicap accessible. All of the sites, except the Creekside sites, are accessible.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Campground Camping

You enter the campground and will drive down a hill to the campground loop, there are campsites located along either side of the road as you drive. At the bottom of the hill, the 6 downhill side sites are located next to the creek.

The Creekside sites are located on a hill, with paths from them that lead down to the creek. The sites are shielded from view by trees.

Each site has a table, fire ring and lantern post. Two centrally located vault toilet buildings serve campers and trail users. There is no drinking water, but the campground is adjacent a year- round stream. Please remember to treat any water you take from the stream to drink. Horses are allowed in the trailhead parking area, but not in the campground and picnic areas.

No. of Sites
  • Single: 25
  • Double: 1
Hours of Operation: The campground and picnic area is open from April thru October and the trailhead parking for the Ozark Trail is open year-round. Area Closed from 10:00PM to 6:00AM (Except for Campers)

River and Stream Fishing

Marble Creek offers bank and wade fishing for smallmouth bass and panfish. The creek is fast moving and has many large rocks along the shoreline and in the creekbed. The remains of the grist mill dam form a pond that is about 4 feet deep.

There is creek access from the day use area, that is located past the campground about ¼ mile.

Fish Species bass, panfish
Fishing Mode Shore, Wade
Fishing Platform None
Water Temperature Warm
Fishing Method Pole

Day Hiking

Marble Creek Section of the Ozark Trail - 21 miles

This section of the Ozark Trail which eventually will total approximately 21 miles out and back, which runs from Marble Creek Campground to Crane Lake Picnic Area, with the Crane Lake Trail circling the lake.

Viewing Wildlife

There are eagles around this area.

Please be aware of snakes around the swimming area.

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 Plants

Viewing Scenery

Marble Creek is a beautiful place to sit and have some lunch or take a dip.

The remains of the grist mill dam create a still pond, next to the day use area, in contrast to the fast moving creek that tumbles over rocks on its way past the campground.

From the day use area, when you stand next to the pond, you’ll have fantastic views of the surrounding hillsides no matter what time of year you visit.


There are four picnic sites available next to the old grist mill dam area,each with a table and pedestal grill.

No. of Sites 4 sites


Marble Creek is a popular place for cooling off during the summer. The old grist mill dam creates a pond that is about 4 feet deep.

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 during periods of high water. Enter the stream at your own risk.


Picnic tables: Yes
Tent camping: Yes
Parking: Day Use: 6 vehicles; Trailhead: 10 vehicles
Toilets: Yes
Fee charged for some activities: Yes
Accessible: Some amenities and features are accessible

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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