Any good unknown Ozark River?

Looking for a river in the Ozarks where one can do a multi day trip (3-4 days). I did the Buffalo, Jacks Fork, Eleven Point, and the Current. Is the Gasconade, Big Piney, N.F of the White River etc. any of those rivers worth doing? Any suggestions? I am comfortable in CL II –III water.


Black River
The Black River in Missouri is crystal clear and very pretty.

Black river … interesting
Thank you, Looks interesting, from where to where did you run it? It looks like there is a dam half way, can it be portage? How was the wild shore camping oportunities? Look like it has a good gradient too. Any water level problem? This would be for an early spring trip.


Black River info
I have only done a couple of day trips on the Black, but there are numerous gravel bars. I have not paddled below Clear Lake, so I don’t know any information about the conditions below there. I do know that it continues for a long way, including Poplar Bluff, but I don’t know about access. I would go back to the Black in a flash. It is very pretty. I don’t know of anything over a class I on it, but those who paddle it regularly may have a better memory than I have. Look for posts by or wildernesswebb and email them direct for info on the Black. They are locals who know it much better than I do. I have a Paddling Missouri Rivers book, but don’t have access to it at the moment. I’ll check later and see what I have forgotten.

Check here for some good information also.

great paddle!
black river is a great trip… anything above clearwater lake is very nice as descrived above.

I use a local outfitter to shuttle my boats/car… the company is "black River Rats’ forget the number though. great guy, very cheap.

other ozark rivers, a little farther north but very nice are






the book mentioned above is also on the web. heres a link, and there is a drop down at the top for all Mo rivers, and a mile by mile map/description of each

hope this helps you

Emailed wildernesswebb…

– Last Updated: Dec-10-07 10:26 AM EST –

I don't think wilderness webb has seen this thread. I think he would have already responded with some Black river information if he had.
I emailed him to take a look at the thread.

I have done only a few, short trips on the Black; I know he has more knowledge of that river than I do.

Simonbee; have you done "all" of the Current river, or just a couple of sections?
It is over 135 miles long.


N.F. White

– Last Updated: Dec-10-07 1:06 PM EST –

The N.F. of the White is very good when you avoid the hot summer weekends (but that goes for the Current and JF too) and start a little further upstream of the hotspots.

There is a lot of NF land that surround it and one decent public campground at Hammond Camp - there are a number of private ones too.

My folks used to live a couple miles from the river and there is some nice trout fishing to be had as well (in TU's top 100 trout streams) - that start to happen downstream of Hammond.

Let me know if you need any other info.

None Unknown

– Last Updated: Dec-11-07 7:46 AM EST –

Brian mentioned the North Fork and it's definitely one I enjoy. Haven't paddled it as much as there are SO MANY good ones closer to me. Did the Big Piney a few times in the early '80's. Nice place but same story, further drive for me and I love the rivers closer to me.

The upper Black would be only an overnighter for all but the slowest paddlers. It's considered Clearwater Lake below Hwy K, but it is definitely "River" down to where I take out at Hwy CC (about 8 miles below K). Paddling all the way to the dam and portaging around would be a major hassle as you would have to portage via a narrow, curvy roadway.
I wouldn't do it!
The lower river is less clear, but not bad as far down as Hendrickson (probably 30 miles). Haven't been on that stretch in a couple decades except below Hendrickson, where my inlaws farm is along the river. Below Hedrickson it's muddier, and mostly high sand and mud banks with lots of canebreak along the river.

Another river where you could spend a couple nights on the river is the St. Francis. Even below the "Whitewater" section (that section not recommended for a loaded canoe) there are several fun class I and II little runs. You will see an occasional house and a rare farm, and you'll never be all that far from a country road, but you'll have the river mostly to yourself except for a fisherman or two, the wildlife and a few eagles.

And, if the water level permits, Big Creek is a nice winter and spring paddle. There's rarely enough water in summer, but it has some of the most beautiful scenery in MO, and some technical little rapids in the shut-in's section.

Another option would be to stay at Sam A. Baker State Park and paddle all three waterways. You'll have the campground pretty much to yourself and you're right on Big Creek, a few minutes from the St. Francis, and 35 minutes from the Black. Shuttles could be pre-arranged with me or I'm certain WBaker, who also lives close by.

Good luck, and let us know if interested in some paddling company and/or shuttles. Here's a couple pics of the rivers. Big Creek, Black, St. Francis, and the North Fork (a few hours further west than the others).

Bryant Creek
Good fishing and floating, but needs some water.

Current river
I ran it from Baptist Camp to the junction of the Jacks Fork. It becomes a big river after that and I am concerned about motor boat traffic. I usually do Ozark Rivers in early spring I would not dare going in the summer, perhaps earlier spring would be ok.

Thank You
Great pictures! I noticed the dates on your pictures, winter, fall and spring. A great time to paddle busy rivers. My favorite time to paddle

Great advice
Thank you all for your info, I will add the Black, N.F. of the White on my wish list. I will be doing a WW trip on the St Francis in the coming year, I will need to check out for a longer trip

St. Francis…

– Last Updated: Dec-13-07 12:03 PM EST –

If you're going to run the whitewater section of the Saint, and need any information about same, let me know. I've canoed it 15 or 20 times.


P.S. Much of the land on both sides of the North Fork of the White is posted/private property, and the land owners won't be shy about telling you so. It is generally a good idea to attempt to find a spot to camp before you "need" to find a spot. In other words, start looking for a campsite early.