Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Quick Facts

Ozark National Scenic Riverways


(573) 323-4236

Map Directions

Things To Do


Ozark National Scenic Riverways was created by an Act of Congress on August 24, 1964, to protect 134 miles of the Current and Jack's Fork Rivers in the Ozark Highlands of southeastern Missouri. The clean, clear waters of these two beautiful rivers provide excellent opportunities for johnboating, canoeing, swimming, fishing and tubing. Hunting is also an authorized use within the Riverways' boundaries. The landscape is predominantly rural, with broadleaf forests and occasional open fields. The southeast Missouri Ozark Mountains are typified by narrow steep-sided hollows, numerous streams, and bluffs. Much of the area is underlain by soluble limestone and dolomite, giving rise to sinkholes, caves, and springs of a classical karst topography. There are over 300 recorded caves within the boundaries. Sixty per cent of the rivers' flow comes from seven major springs and 51 other springs of various sizes within the drainage basin. Big Spring, one of the largest springs in the United States, has an average flow of 276 million gallons of water per day. The maximum recorded flow in one day was 840 million gallons in June 1928. There are 112 species of fish, 196 species of birds, and 58 species of mammals found in the park. There are also 25 species of snakes found in the park, including 4 poisonous species.

Map of Ozark Riverways

Latitude, Longitude: 37.156635, -91.164505



  • Boating

    The clean, clear waters of these two beautiful rivers provide excellent opportunities for johnboating, canoeing, swimming, fishing and tubing.

  • Bicycling

    While the roads are beautiful and views rewarding, bicyclists should exercise extreme caution when riding through this area. Roads lack shoulders, sight distances are very limited due to curves and hills, and you'll be sharing the road with logging trucks, horse trailers and recreational vehicles.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    ATVs and UTV's are allowed in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways area, but only in certain areas. ATVs and UTVs may be operated only on county-owned roads. If the trail or route you are on is not passable in a full-sized pickup, you are probably on an illegal trail. ATVs are not allowed on park-owned roads.

  • Camping

    Campsites abound in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways Area. More information about fees and regulations can be found on the official webpage of the area.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is permitted in the Current and Jacks Fork Rivers, with a valid Missouri fishing license. However, fishing in springs or spring branches is strictly prohibited. Consult the Missouri Fishing Regulations for regulations, length limits and seasons. (There is also a booklet available where fishing licenses are sold). Anyone possessing trout must also have a valid trout permit.

  • Hiking

    The hills and forests of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways area invite the hiker. The park only maintains a few trails, however all dirt roads and old traces are open to hiking, and except for horseback riders, there won't be much traffic. The National Park Service is in the process of marking some of the trails, but a good topographical map will help.

  • Horseback Riding

    The hills and forests of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways area abound in trail riding opportunities. Horseback riding in the Ozark Riverways is limited to state and county unpaved roads, park owned unpaved or unmaintained roads and the four NPS designated horse trails. The National Park Service has marked and color coded some 23 miles of horse trails, but a good topographical map will help. Most of these are in the Two Rivers area.

  • Hunting

    Hunting is permitted inside most areas of Ozark National Scenic Riverways and subject to state regulations. Consult the Missouri Wildlife Code for legal methods of pursuing and transporting game and seasons. Regulations are available as a booklet where hunting licenses are sold.

  • Picnicking

    Picnicking is allowed.


Ozark National Scenic Riverways is open year around. The rivers are much less crowded on weekdays during the summer and during the off season, such as April and May and September through October which are both beautiful times to float. You may want to consider a visit during those times.



The area is best reached via Interstate 44 or U.S. Route 60.


The nearest commercial airports are Saint Louis, Memphis and Springfield.

Phone Numbers


(573) 323-4236