Current River Missouri

Looking for advice on the current river. 5 buddies and I will be doing a 2 night 3 day float July 14-16. We would like to do Akers to Two rivers but we don’t want to be bombarded by jet boat traffic and don’t want to have to rush every day in order to complete our float before dark on Sunday. Any advice or tips or even recommendations for other places is more than welcomed.

Its only 35 miles
Pretty easy three day trip
I have done it solo. in one day in high water
That said Akers has a busy livery and you are going on a weekend. Akers runs shuttles with school buses. Ergo you will have all sorts of comoany.

You didn’t mention whether you are bringing your own boats and running your own shuttle or require the services of an outfitter for gear and a shuttle.

If you do require boats and/or a shuttle service I would strongly advise you to contact Anita at Two Rivers Canoe Rental. You can easily find her website. She has been one of the few remaining concessionaires on the Current that will still shuttle private boaters with their gear if you have boats but need a shuttle.

If you do not require a shuttle there is good parking at both Akers Ferry and at Two Rivers. The public boat access at Two Rivers is a good half-mile downstream of Anita’s campground store which is just a short distance downstream of the confluence of the Jacks Fork River with the Current and both are located on river right.

There are two landings at Akers Ferry, both on river left, situated not quite 1/4 river miles apart. Most folks seem to prefer the upper landing (if it is not overrun with outfitters’ busses, trailers, and boats) and parking is above the lower landing in a sizable field that used to be a campground and is now a picnic/parking area.

From the upper landing at Akers Ferry to the public boat access at Two Rivers is almost exactly 37 river miles. In July you will have plenty of daylight so unless you get going very late in the morning, do a lot of fishing, or make a lot of long stops for sightseeing, eating, or whatever, you should have no trouble making that daily river mileage and set up camp well before dark without having to paddle too hard. There are lots of gravel bars to camp on but if rain is in the forecast don’t camp on islands and make sure you have some easy way to egress to higher ground should the river come up quickly during the night.

I would go to the National Park Service website for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways and familiarize yourself with the boating and camping regulations. Make sure you do not take any glass containers or styrofoam materials like coolers onto the river. The rangers are pretty serious about this. There is also a facebook page for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways which tends to have up-to-date info on subjects such as river closures due to high water, etc.

There are National Park Service campgrounds at Pulltite (about 9 1/4 miles downstream of Akers) at Round Spring (which is a little over 9 miles downstream of Pulltite Canoe Access) and at Two Rivers itself so these would be possible overnight stopping points if you want access to bathhouses with flush toilets and showers. Drinking water is available at Akers, Pulltite, Round Spring and Two Rivers but not between Round Spring and Two Rivers so if you don’t want to bother with boiling or filtering water make sure you stop at Round Spring and water up for two days paddle to Two Rivers. There are also outfitter’s stores at Akers Ferry, Pulltite Campground, Carr’s Canoe Rental (at the upper Round Spring landing on river left just before the Hwy 19 bridge), and at Two Rivers Campground and Canoe Rental.

There is a “primitive” campground at Jerktail Landing a little over 12 miles downstream of Round Spring but there are no amenities of any sort at Jerktail. It would be a possible point of river egress by road if you encountered an sort of emergency or mishap, however.

There are a number of points of interest along the way. Almost exactly 5 miles downstream of Akers Ferry on river left is Cave Spring, a cave which you can paddle into. It is usually a big hit with newcomers to the Current River. Keep on the lookout for it since trees have grown up on a little spit of land that extends in front of the cave mouth and when leafed out they completely block view of the cave from upstream until you are even with it. Pulltite Spring is on river right about 3/4 miles downstream of the Pulltite canoe landing. You can see the spring branch entering the river and there is a trail leading back to the spring mouth and an old hunting cabin that is now in a sad state of neglect. Not quite a half mile farther downstream also on river right is Fire Hydrant Spring, a much smaller spring the issues out of a rock face a few feet above river level. You might also want to make a brief stop at Round Spring to check out Round Spring itself. If you do, stop at the lower Round Spring landing on river right about 0.4 miles downstream of the Hwy 19 bridge. That is also where the campground bathhouse is located and where you can get drinking water.

Between Round Spring and Two Rivers the river becomes a bit flatter but there are some lovely bluffs including huge Bee Bluff on river left a little over 10 miles downstream of Round Spring. This stretch of the river can become thick with jet boaters on nice Summer weekend days. If at all possible I would try to schedule your trip to do this stretch on weekday days.

Here is a summary of river way points with approximate river mileage downstream of the upper landing at Akers Ferry:

Mile 0 - Akers Ferry Canoe rental and outfitter’s store. There is also a NPS Ranger building there with flush toilets at the parking area above the lower landing. You will pass by the old ferry between the upper and lower landings.

Mile 5 - Cave Spring on river left.

Mile 9.25 - Pulltite Landing on river left. The newer bathhouse is right above the public boat access. The outfitter’s store at Current River Canoe Rental is just a little farther up the hill from there.

Mile 10 - Pulltite Spring and Cabin on river right. Look for the spring branch entering river. There is a trail leading up along the left side of the spring branch (as seen from the river) going back to the spring mouth and cabin and a very small brown sign at the confluence of the spring branch and river.

Mile 10.5 - Fire Hydrant Spring river right. You usually hear this spring before you see it.

Mile 18.25 - Hwy 19 bridge. The only bridge you will pass under. The upper landing is on river left just before you would pass under the bridge. This is where the outfitter’s store at Carr’s Canoe Rental is located.

Mile 18.65 - Round Spring lower landing on river right. Used to be a boat ramp there. Now just a big gravel bar. The bathhouse with drinking water is a short walk up the hill. To see Round Spring itself is just a little farther. Follow the signs.

Mile 29 - Bee Bluff on river left.

Mile 31 - Jerktail Landing on river right. There is no sign marking this. Just a big gravel bar. There is a 7 mile (one way) gravel bar leading in to Jerktail Landing off of Hwy 19.

Mile 36.25 - Confluence of Jacks Fork River joining the Current on river right. Just past that is the outfitter’s store at Two Rivers Canoe Rental at the top of the hill also on river right.

Mile 37 - Public boat access at Two Rivers on river right. There is a vault toilet and parking area just above the boat ramp.

10-4 we are not going to be in a hurry and just figure if we get on the water early enough friday, may try to change it and go Baptist Camp-Round Spring try to float down past Akers the first day then be on the water again before the masses and then camp somewhere the next night past pulltite and have an easy third day to round spring. Is there usually water up that high during the summer?

Pblanc we will be doing our own thing, bringing our own boats and parking truck at drop off and pick up location wont need a shuttle or rentals. Your points of interest on another thread is what actually made us want to do that trip but we are deciding to avoid the jet boat traffic and pull out at round spring water permitting.

The water level might not be high enough to make the stretch from Baptist Camp access to Cedargrove real enjoyable in loaded boats in mid July. Even if it is, expect to encounter some downed trees that necessitate a short portage of boats and gear. It is only about 6 1/2 river miles from Baptist to Cedargrove but it seems a lot longer because of a lot of twists and turns and usually a few necessary portages. From Baptist Camp to Akers Ferry is almost 15 river miles and with one definite portage and at least a couple more likely portages around obstacles above Cedargrove, it would be a pretty long day at typical July river levels.

You would definitely need to portage boats and gear around the low water bridge at Cedargrove. There is usually always enough water to put-in at Cedargrove even in Summer of dry years, although you might scrape here and there in loaded boats between Cedargrove and big Welch Spring not quite 5 miles downstream.

There are some nice sights to see between Cedargrove and Akers Ferry including Medlock Spring, Welch Spring and hospital ruins, and the antebellum Howell-Maggard cabin (which you won’t see unless you know exactly where it is).

So would Cedar grove to round spring be more ideal. We are in no rush and it will offer even more time for swimming, fishing, relaxing and sight seeing.

Yes, if you are looking to avoid motorized traffic and desire a relatively leisurely pace then Cedargrove to Round Spring would be a better choice. From the low water bridge at Cedargrove to the lower (campground) landing at Round Spring is right around 26 1/4 river miles so you would be looking to average a little less than 8 miles/day. From Cedargrove to upper Akers is just over 7 1/2 miles.

There is a nice, little NPS campground at Cedargrove with FCFS sites. It is designated a “back country” campground by the NPS, sort of between a primitive campground and a “front country” campground like those at Pulltite, Round Spring, or Two Rivers. A campground fee is charged but it is less than for the more developed campgrounds. There are picnic tables, lantern poles, a vault toilet and a dumpster.

The upper Current has a bit more gradient than the stretch below Round Spring so you would have more helpful current. There are a few Class I rapids which are usually pretty straightforward. The main hazard on the Current comes from strainers (downed trees) and root wads. These are usually easily spotted and avoided so long as you pay attention and have reasonable boat control.

If you choose to do this stretch keep an eye out for Medlock Spring which is a small spring that issues out of a cave well above river level and cascades down over rocks. It is tucked back into a little cove on river right with a sizable rock guarding the entry of the spring branch into the river. It is not quite 3 3/4 miles downstream of the low water bridge at Cedargrove and easily missed if you don’t look for it.

Just over one mile farther downstream from Medlock, big Welch Spring joins the Current on river left. You can’t miss this one as it looks like a creek entering the river. Just upstream of the junction of the spring branch and the river is an old pulmonary hospital ruins which you can get out and check out. If you want to do so pull up to the left bank just before you get to the entry of the spring branch. If you paddle past the spring branch it will be a little hard to paddle back upstream and you are not allowed to wade in spring branches. There is no real landing there but a little eddy and dirt bank you can pull a few boats into and up.

There is a neat antebellum cabin a short distance downstream of Welch Spring that allegedly Jesse James and three of his gang members stopped at on their retreat westward across the top corner of Shannon County after they robbed a train at Gads Hill in the first daylight train robbery in Missouri. As the story goes, they had widow Howell cook them a couple of chickens.

The Howell-Maggard cabin has been nicely preserved by the NPS and only requires a short hike up a little hill from the right bank of the river but you won’t see it from the river. About 1/2 mile downstream of the junction of Welch Spring branch with the Current you will pass by a large gravel bar on your left hand side. This is the location of Welch Landing. A short distance downstream of this the river, which has been flowing in a southeasterly direction, begins a lazy left turn to flow eastward. Just about 0.2 miles past Welch Landing you will see some power lines crossing the river. As soon as your boat passes under these power lines pull up to the right bank. There is a small streamlet joining the river there, but it might not have any water in July.

Walk up along the power line cut for maybe about 30 yards and you will see a trail going up to the top of the bluff to your left which leads to the cabin. There is a nice panoramic view of the bend in the Current River if you walk to the edge of the bluff upon which the cabin sits.