Recreation

Mark Twain National Forest has a wide range of popular recreation opportunities. The forest has over 750 miles of trails. There are trails for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and motorized use. The trails vary in length and difficulty.

Approximately 200 miles are completed of the 500-mile Ozark Trail, connecting from St. Louis to the Arkansas border. Plans are to connect the Missouri section with the Ozark Highlands Trail in Arkansas.

The Forest has more than 350 miles of perennial streams, most suitable for floating with canoes, kayaks, rafts, and inner tubes. The Forest and Missouri Department of Conservation maintain river accesses on popular streams.

Permitted outfitters provide services to the public at various locations throughout the forest. 

There are more than 35 campgrounds and picnic areas usually located near a special attraction such as a spring, stream, lake, towering bluff or other scenic area. Campgrounds and picnic areas vary from a few table sites to developed campgrounds. There are no cabins available for rent on the forest at this time.

The forest manages more than 78,000 acres as semi-primitive areas where the only access is by hiking, horseback, or mountain bike. Another 265,000 acres offer semi-primitive motorized recreation. These areas provide moderate to high opportunities for solitude. Hunting and fishing, with a valid Missouri Department of Conservation fishing license, are permitted in these areas.

In addition, Mark Twain National Forest has seven Congressionally-designated Wilderness areas and 26,000 “special areas.” Special areas are managed for the protection of unusual environmental, recreation, cultural or historical resources, and for scientific or educational studies.

(image)Forest broken out in 4 Zones

(link) zone 1(link) zone 4(link) zone 2(link) zone 3

The Recreational Sites are broken down by Districts which are located in 1 of 4
areas. Each area contains maps of recreation opportunities for that area,
included on these map are some of the local government facilities that are also
available.

Area 1 Cedar Creek, Houston and Rolla Ranger District
Area 2 Ava, Cassville and Willow Springs Ranger District
Area 3 Eleven Point and Poplar Bluff Ranger Districts
Area 4 Potosi, Fredericktown and Salem Ranger Districts

For District specific Recreational Opportunities

Ava/Cassville/Willow Springs
Eleven Point
Houston/Rolla/Cedar Creek
Poplar Bluff
Potosi/Fredericktown
Salem

For up-to-date information on closures and other current conditions, see "Alerts
& Notices" on the left..

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Recreation Conditions Report

 Area Name Status Area Conditions
Bar-K Wrangler Camp Open to Visitor
Bay Nothing Boat Launch Open to Visitor
Berryman Trail \& Campgrounds Open to Visitor Campground - Open, Restrooms - Open, Pavilion - Open, Day use parking for trail use and picnicking open.
Big Bay Recreation Area Open to Visitor Day Use Area - Open, Boat Launch - Closed for Safety issues, Restroom - Temporarily Closed until Further Notice.
Big Piney Trail Camp Open to Visitor Open year round
Bozemill Float Camp Open to Visitor
Brazil Creek Recreation Area Open to Visitor Campground - Open, Restroom - Temporarily shut down until Further Notice, and Trail Head is Open
Cane Bluff River Access Open to Visitor
Caney Picnic Area Open to Visitor
Carrington Pits Recreation Area Closed to Visitor Closed for the season
Chadwick Motorcycle and ATV Use Area Open to Visitor
Cobb Ridge Recreation Area Open to Visitor
Council Bluff Recreation Area    Wild Boar Campground - Closed, Chapel Hill Beach - Closed, Boat Launch Open, Boat Launch Toilet - Open, Enough Boat Launch Open, Enough Boat Launch Toilet - Open
Deer Leap Recreation Area    Camp ground closed but boat ramp open
Dry Fork Recreation Area    Open to day-use year round. The campground will closed for season on Thursday October 1st at the close of the business day. (36 CFR 261.58b) Entering or using a developed recreation site or portion, thereof, when that site or facility is posted closed. (36 CFR 261.58b) is prohibited. The campground will reopen on April 15th, 2021.
Falling Springs Picnic Ground Open to Visitor
Float Camp Recreation Area Closed to Visitor
Fourche Lake Recreation Area Open to Visitor
Greer Crossing Recreation Area Open to Visitor
Greer Spring and Trail Open to Visitor Open
Hendrickson Boat Launch Open to Visitor
Hercules Glades Wilderness Open to Visitor
Highway 142 River Access Open to Visitor
Lane Spring Recreation Area Closed to Visitor Closed for the season. Please be aware that the Lane Spring Pavilion reservations are still closed until further notice at this time.
Loggers Lake Recreation Area Closed to Visitor Closed for season
Marble Creek Recreation Area Closed to Visitor
Markham Springs Recreation Area Open to Visitor Campground - Open, Day Use Area - Open, All Restrooms - Open, Boat Ramp - Open, Pavilion - Temporarily Closed until Further Notice, Fuchs House - Open Use limited to 10 persons or fewer.
Noblett Lake Recreation Area Open to Visitor The Noblett Recreation Area (Day Use Area and Dam Area) is open including the bathrooms. The area below the dam remains closed, this is due to flooding concerns.  The pavilion is available  by 1st come/1st serve, people need to practice social distancing.  We are not accepting reservations on recreation.gov for the pavilion at this time.
North Fork Recreation Area Open to Visitor
Paddy Creek Recreation Area Open to Visitor Day use open all year, CAMPING closes December 1st
Pine Ridge Recreation Area    Day use open all year, but CAMPING closed for the season on October 1st (36 CFR 261.58b) Entering or using a developed recreation site or portion, thereof, when that site or facility is posted closed. (36 CFR 261.58b) is prohibited. The campground will reopen on April 15th, 2021.
Pinewoods Lake Recreation Area Open to Visitor Campground - Open, Day Use Area – Open, All Restrooms - Open, Pavilion - Temporarily Closed until Further Notice
Red Bluff Recreation Area Closed to Visitor Closed for season
Ripley Lake Open to Visitor
Shell Knob Open to Visitor
Silver Mines Recreation Area Closed to Visitor Closed for season
Slabtown Recreation Area Open to Visitor Open
Sutton Bluff Recreation Area Closed to Visitor Closed for off season
Thomasville River Access Open to Visitor Open, but Restroom Temporarily Closed until Further Notice
Turner Mill North River Access Open to Visitor
Turner Mill South River Access Open to Visitor
Watercress Recreation Area Open to Visitor
Whitten River Access Open to Visitor
Wolf Creek Trail Open to Visitor

Related Information

Areas & Activities


https://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/mtnf/recreation