Info on paddling the Eleven Point?

Some friends and I are considering a trip on Missouri’s Eleven Point River in April 2007. We are curious to learn more about the camping opportunities along the river and what the various parts of the river are like. Based on stuff we have been reading, it sounds like designated river camping spots need to be utilized instead of freely selecting riverside campsites (because of private property?). Is that true? Other paddles being considered include the lower portion of the Current River and the lower stretch of the Buffalo National River. Any information/suggestions about the Eleven Point or the other rivers from some of the “legendary” paddlers that stalk the waters of this forum would be appreciated!


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designated camp sites vs gravel bars
The reason for using the designated camp sites is that the beautiful gravel bars you find on the Current River aren’t as plentiful on the Eleven Point. The designated camp sites have lantern poles, picnic tables and fire rings. There are also pit toilets, but it appears that many folks would rather contaminate the campsites with their waste and toilet paper.

If you don’t already have it, purchase “A Paddler’s Guide to Missouri” by Oz Hawksley. It’s an invaluable resource for the lovely rivers Missouri has to offer.

You might also check out the Ozark Rendezvous (Spring 2007) thread on the get-togethers forum. The Spring trip is being planned for the third week in April on the Current River, but frequently some paddlers come early to do other rivers prior to the Rendezvous, especially the Eleven Point and the Jacks Fork.


another good guide
I currently have The Floater’s Guide to Missouri. It is a very nice description of northern and southern rivers of MO. Each “float” has vivid descriptions to educate and inform. I will look up the previous book suggested, it sounds pretty good too.

Thanks for the info on campsites.
I hate it when people don’t clean up after themselves!

I am not necessarily averse to designated campsites, but it is unclear how many of those sites there are. I have the “Paddlers Guide to Missouri”, and it looks like there are only 8 or 10 designated float camps along the Eleven Point. With relatively short days in April, I would hate to be caught without a campsite. However, use would probably be relatively low during the week (i.e., not weekend) during April. From your post, it sounds like riverbank camping is a possibility in some non-designated locations as well. With fewer gravel bars, are some of the adjacent floodplain areas usable as campsites or is it pretty much canyon-bound (sounds like that may be the case for the upper portion?).

I have paddled from
Turner’s Mill to Riverton last February. I camped on a gravel bar one night about mid-way on the trip. While no where near as plentiful as on the Current, I did find enough gravel bars to be able to pick and choose sites. Almost none of that stretch is “canyon” bound and there are several areas above the bank that are flat and suitable for camping. Also most of that section is within federal land.

for the helpful information.

Eleven Point…

– Last Updated: Jan-12-07 12:27 AM EST –

I don't know about legendary, but I guided trips on the Eleven Point & Current rivers from 1982 through 2000.
Spent over 2 years of my life canoeing/camping/backpacking/caving/orienteering on those rivers.
My tips, in no particular order.

Don't put in at Cane Bluff unless there has been some recent rain.

I don't care what the water level is; don't put in at the Hwy 99/Thomasville access, unless you like pulling a loaded canoe.

Visit Greer Spring; it's well worth the walk.

Best put in is Greer access.
At the Y junction below Greer access; stay left, as the right side twist & turns, is narrow & can be jammed with strainers.

Greer access to Hwy 142 access; best trip/easy 3 days.

Do not leave your vehicle at the Greer access parking lot; especially on a weekend. Locals sometimes party at the campground there on friday & saturday nite & some other like to cruise the parking area there.

Paddle during the week.

Use Hufstedler's canoe rental at Riverton to run you shuttle.

Stop at Turner's Mill for a break; some nice scenery up by the spring, and a huge old iron wheel left over from the mill that used to be there.

The riverbank (river left/slightly downstream) of Mary Decker shoals is a nice place to camp.
Water going through the boulders there will lull you to sleep at night, and its a nice place to "play" in your canoe.

Don't blindly paddle into Mary Decker, which has a series of riverwide boulders(placed there on purpose to stop cut logs during logging). After a heavy rain, logs/debris sometimes get trapped between the boulders.

Stop at Boze Mill spring for a break; nice scenery. Some old mill machinery there.

When the river comes to a Y junction, slightly below Boze Mill; go right, as the left channel often gets jammed with strainers. Stay fairly close to the island as you run the shoals there.
Nice place to play in your canoe after you've run the shoals.

If you let Hufstedlers run your shuttle, and are taking out at Hwy 142 access; stop at Riverton, walk up to the store, and tell them when you want your vehicle at the Hwy. 142 access.They'll have it there waiting for you.

Morgan Springs float camp on river right, slightly upstream from the Hwy 142 access, is a nice place for a break, and it's a very short walk to Blue Spring from the float camp area.

Just downstream from Morgan Springs float camp & just upstream of the takeout is a series of twists & turns where it is not unusual to run into strainers.

You will seldom encounter anything above a low class 2 on the Eleven Point. Biggest hazard are strainers, in tight turns, after heavy rains, and even they are usually visible well upstream.

The campsites/float camps are not well cared for, and have been abused. The squeaky wheel (Current River) gets the grease $$$$$$ in that area. Use the gravel bars/river banks & avoid the campgrounds if possible.

The "river dork" (aka rental canoe drunk & doper)population is "much" lower on the Eleven Point than the Current River.

If heavy rain is predicted, or has been going on for several hours before you make camp; you would be wise to camp in an area that has an escape route if the river comes up during the night.

I have seen more poisonous snakes at the Stinking Pond float camp than any other place on the river. Most prevalent; Copperheads.

There are Water Moccasins, and Timber Rattlers on the Eleven Point, but you will seldom if ever see them.

White's Creek Cave, which is a short hike from White's Creek float camp, has some nice decorations/formations. It is gated, but is sometimes open when bats aren't hibernating.
I have encountered wild pigs (domestic/gone wild) at White's Creek float camp, on numerous occasions. If they have piglets with them, they might be aggressive if they feel threatened.

If you ever see a Black Bear, or a Mountain Lion in Missouri; I think it will be if you hike into some of the more remote areas near the Eleven Point river, and there is some remoteness out there if you look for it.

There are some decent gravel bars on the Eleven Point, but they are fewer & farther between than on the Current & the Jacks Fork. Pull over early if you find a nice one.

Cell phones probably won't work there, and the river is not heavily patrolled. In fact, you will probably not see any riverway/conservation staff your whole trip.

Carry a first aid kit. You'll probably be "on your own" a lot of the time, and the nearest hospital is a long way from the river.

Carry lots of water; float camps don't have any.

Carry a camera & lots of film. Lots of photo ops.

Spring is a "great" time to do the Eleven Point.
Enjoy yourself; I think you will.

Out of courtesy, give those fishing a wide berth.

If I can be of further assistance; don't hesitate to contact me via email, or ask ????.


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Two years

– Last Updated: Jan-12-07 12:18 AM EST –

of you life! Bob, I can only hope to be so lucky as to have spent that much time canoeing and camping some day! Thanks for sharing your 12 points on the eleven point, oh wise one!


(I initially only saw 12 tips. Either I didn't scroll down or you added more!)

thebob knows the river well…
Gravel bars are pretty scarce on the Eleven Point above Riverton. You will come upon some, but if you come upon one and it’s not quite as late as you want to be on the river, take it anyway because you might not find another for a while.

The Thomasville to Cane Bluff stretch is doable, but it’s work at best and LOTS of work in late summer!

Now a harder question…(maybe)
If you had to choose between the lower portion of the Current River (say downstream of Two Rivers for 40-50 miles) and the Eleven Point for a 4 day river trip, which would you choose? Our group has paddled the middle portion of the Buffalo at about the same time the past couple of years and really enjoyed ourselves. That is why the lower Buffalo is in the running. However, something just about as nice, in terms of a wilderness/scenery experience, but closer to the Chicago area would be a draw.


– Last Updated: Jan-12-07 12:47 AM EST –

If I had to choose between the Eleven Point (from Greer access to Hwy 142 access), and the same distance below Two Rivers on the Current; I'd pick the Eleven Point. The Eleven Point has a more rustic feel to it than the section of the Current below Two Rivers. No doubt there are more/larger gravel bars on the Current than the Eleven Point, and there are some huge ones down below Two Rivers. But the further down you go on the Current, the more civilization you'll see.
The area above & below Van Buren sucks!
I did both sections of the Current & the Eleven Point I'm talking about this past Summer.

I'd pick the Buffalo in the Spring, over both the Eleven Point & the Current, but then you'll have a "long haul" from Chicago area to the Buffalo.
The Buffalo is a little more rain dependent than the other two; another factor to consider.
Will be more traffic on the Buffalo than on the Eleven Point in the Spring I'll bet.
Buffalo scenery is hard to beat though.
I did Ponca to Gilbert one time & hope to make that run again some day soon.


The other thing is that Eleven Point is
the best option in periods of low or no rain, because of the big input from Greer Spring. I had just dumped my son for his co-op in Chicago, and I went by Chicagoland Canoe Base to ask what had water, in a dry August, more-or-less on my way back to Atlanta. They also advised to avoid the Current because of summer crowds, though of course the Current always has acceptable water, at least farther down. But they said I would have a much better time on the Eleven Point, starting at the Greer access, because of adequate water, few people, the more intimate feel of a smaller river, and small rapids to keep me amused in my decked c-1. All this proved to be good advice. I hope to see the Current and Jacks Fork some other time, but if I took my wife for a tandem camping trip, I would favor the Eleven Point.

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Float camps
The float camps have multiple campsites at them, so you may not have the place all to yourself. Each site at the float camp has a table, fire ring, lantern pole. One pit toilet/outhouse for the whole camp, down a trail away from the campsites. I’ve only camped at one float camp, so I don’t know if they are all alike or not. The one we used had maybe a dozen sites at it. Just guessing, could be more or less. It was high (so rising water would not be an issue) and wooded (so if there are other campers there, you might have some privacy), but I still wouldn’t want to share it with strangers unless absolutely necessary.

I didn’t realize
these were multi-unit campsites. I was envisioning a Boundary Waters-style campsite. That does make them less desirable! Thanks for filling me in.


Gosh, I Can’t Add Much…
…except to affirm the great imfo already given. As Bob said, Huffstedders will give you the best “Shuttle” rates and your vehicle will be safer. Greer & Turner Mill Access’ have been plagued at times with ner’ do wells that like to break into vehicles; although, the last couple years have been quieter with a campground host that’s very vigilant and assertive. Also, you might stop in Alton and go by the town square and drop in Ozark River Company. Bill and Janet are wonderfull people who live on the Eleven Point and can give you some up to date river imfo and even sell you a canoe or a paddle if you need one. If you like to backpack, a good weekend trip is the Whites Creek Trail going through the Irish Wilderness arround the east side of the river. I’ve went through several copies of Oz Hawkley’s “MO Ozark Waterways,” and I like the small size which makes it easy to stick in a pack or a glove box. But, “A Paddler’s Guide to MO,” the larger, newer MO “Paddling” book is also excellent. I reccomend both. Here’s a link to the latter, it’s probably the best “Value” of any book on the market. BTW, “Thank you,” Bob, for buying that for me a few years back! WW

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Good advice from Bob
and he didn’t even charge you one dollah :slight_smile:

I agree with his recommendations and would also choose the Buffalo over either the Eleven Point or Current if the Buffalo has enough water. The Eleven Point is the first Ozark river I ever paddled, and I’ve been back often.

He only left out one thing about the Eleven Point:

All the poison ivy in the world is along the Eleven Point.

Enjoy your trip

Oh Goody…
Poison Ivy!