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Council Bluff Recreation Area

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

View of the Beach and playground area at Council Bluff Lake

The Council Bluff Recreation Area is perfect for anyone looking to enjoy the outdoors. The Wild Boar Campground and sheltered picnic area, available for individual families or large groups, is next to the largest lake in the Mark Twain National Forest. The area provides ample opportunities for camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, swimming and more.

Located in southern Missouri, the Council Bluff Lake was created by a dam across Big River. It is 440 acres in size and 87 feet deep in some places.

The Chapel Hill Beach is at the eastern end of the campground and provides 54,000 square-feet of sandy beach. Visitors can either walk or drive to the lake.

Boating is a popular pastime on the lake, but all boats on the lake must operate at a no-wake speed. Visitors can access the water via the two boat ramps located at the lake. 

Canoeing, swimming and fishing are also available. Anglers can expect a catch of a variety of freshwater fish, including bass bluegills, catfish and crappies. 

The 12-mile Council Bluff Trail encircles the lake, with spurs to the campground. Hikers can enjoy scenic views of the lake and a look at the Mark Twain wilderness. 

Waterfowl hunting is permitted on Council Bluff Lake and the nearby Enough Fields provide upland game opportunities. A variety of wildlife makes its home in the heavily wooded area.

A Printable Brochure is available.

Bath House and Concession Stand at Council Bluff Lake Fishing at Council Bluff Lake Council Bluff Beach view of the fishing dock along side the boat launch view of the Beach and the accessible walkway

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Beach: Open the Monday before Memorial Day through the day after Labor Day 10:00AM – 7:00PM. Closed on Monday, except for Holiday Mondays.
Campground: Open March 1 to November 30, 6:00AM – 10:00PM (except for campers)
Boat Ramp: Open Year-Round
Lake Shore Trail: Open Year-Round
Reservations: Reservations can be made at Recreation.gov All reservations must be made at least 4 days in advance of arrival. Group sites and picnic area pavilion can be reserved up to 12 months in advance. Standard sites can be reserved up to 6 months in advance.
Fees Day-Use Fees: $3 per vehicle; $10 per bus, $20 for season pass; Group picnic area pavilion: $25/day; Campsite (Non-Electric): $10.00 single and $20 double sites.
Usage: Light-Medium
Busiest Season: Memorial Day to Labor Day
Restrictions: Individual concessionaire may have certain restrictions in place; no food, glass containers or pets on beach. Boat motors are limited to 10 horsepower or must be operated at a no wake speed if larger than 10 horsepower. Drinking water is not available in the campground from Nov. 1 to April 1. Additional fees are collected for use of the boat ramp. Additional fees are charged for parking. Horses and off-road vehicles are prohibited in developed areas.
Closest Towns: Belgrade, Caledonia, Viburnum
Water: Drinking Water
Restroom: Vault in campground; Flush at beach
Operated By: Concessionaire, Bear Paw Recreation LLC 573-766-5765
Information Center: The Wild Boar Ridge Campground offers multiple single-family, large group and walk-in sites, available for tent and RV camping. Each is equipped with tables, lantern posts and campfire rings or campfire circles, with grills. 

The large group sites can accommodate up to 50 people and a nearby picnic pavilion can hold up to 75. The pavilion is paved, with a roof overhead and is equipped with multiple tables and grills. 

Accessible vault toilets and drinking water are provided. Electricity is not available, but some sites will accommodate RVs up to 40 feet in length. Some sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

The beach provides accessible flush toilets, drinking water and coin-operated showers. A small play area with a slide and climbing structure is adjacent to the beach. The Trace Creek section of the Ozark Trail is located just west of the recreation area.

General Information


From Potosi, take Highway P south for 10 miles to C Highway junction. Continue on C Highway for less than a mile to DD Highway junction. Turn left on DD Highway and continue for approximately 5 miles to the recreation area entrance.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Beaches & Dunes

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Camping & Cabins

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Group Camping

4 group camp sites which can accommodate up to 50 people each and is available for reservations at www.recreation.gov.

RV Camping

Can accommodated up to 40' RVs. No electric or water hookup, showers or dump station facilities. Sites are available for reservations through www.recreation.gov, or by calling 877-444-6777.

Campground Camping

Wild Boar Campground, open March 1 through November 30, has 39 single sites, 7  double sites, 9 walk-in sites, and 4 group sites, each with table, fire ring, lantern post and (except for walk-in sites) a parking spur. Drinking water and vault toilets are conveniently located. Coin-operated hot showers available at Chapel Hill. Pressurized water hydrants available in central locations. 

Fees: Single Sites - $10; Double Sites - $20; Group Sites - $25


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Nature Viewing

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Water Activities

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Areas & Activities


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