7 Missouri Adventures You Need To Experience

Dillard Mill

Dillard Mill

The warm weather is upon us and what better way to enjoy it than to get outside and explore the Missouri countryside. Check out some of these fun adventures to try this summer!

Overnight Backpacking on the Ozark Trail

A section of the 35-mile Ozark Trail runs right through Taum Sauk Mountain State Park and is perfect for an overnight backpacking trip. Take the 14.5 mile hike from Taum Sauk to Johnson Shut-Ins and be on the top of Missouri - literally! At 1772 feet, this trail gives you views from the tallest point in the state and will take hikers right past the 132 foot waterfall, Mina Sauk Falls. The rough and rugged terrain winds through two state parks and provides an awesome experience in the Missouri countryside.

Area Attractions: Ozark Trail, Mina Sauk Falls 
Ozark Trail Length: 14.5 miles (Taum Sauk to Johnson Shut-Ins) 
Trail Difficulty: Rugged 
Backpacking Information 

Outdoor tub at Pine Valley’s Airstream

Outdoor tub at Pine Valley’s Airstream

Glamping Near Dillard Mill State Historic Site

A red mill set on the blue waters of Huzzah Creek is as pretty a picture as there is in Missouri, and that’s the setting for Dillard Mill State Historic Site. The site interprets one of the state’s best-preserved gristmills, completed in 1908. Most of the machinery in the mill is still intact and original to the building and tours are provided daily. If you like the outdoors, the site’s location on Huzzah Creek in the Ozarks provides plenty of opportunities to fish, hike, and picnic. Camp right up the road at Pine Valley, where we offer unique indoor and outdoor camping experiences.

Area Attractions: Dillard Mill, Huzzah Creek, Mark Twain National Forest

Camping: Cozy Cottage, Airstream

Day Trip to Elephant Rock State Park

Overnight backpacking trips are awesome, but not for everyone. Those wanting a more relaxing and leisurely adventure should take a day trip to Elephant Rock State Park. This park is home to 1.5 billion year old giant boulders and granite structures tower over all those who visit! Take the easy, 1.2 mile Braille Trail. It’s a short one mile loop around the park and gives you spectacular views of these massive wonders. After you’ve worked up an appetite, have a picnic at one of the many picnic sites scattered throughout the park.

Area Attractions: Braille Trail, Natural Elephant Rocks
Braille Trail Length: 1.2 miles
Trail Difficulty: Easy 
Visiting Information

Current River

Current River

Float the Historic Current River

The Current River is the first river in America to become a National Riverway and is the perfect floating adventure for both inexperienced and experienced paddlers. The 8-mile float trip from Cedar Grove to Akers Ferry is the perfect distance for a day float. Floaters will be rewarded with crystal clear waters, the Medlock Spring Waterfall, and those brave enough can take a quick dip in Missouri’s fifth-largest spring, Welch Spring! Be sure to read up on the Dos and Don'ts of Floating before you go.

Area Attractions:
 Welch Spring, Medlock Spring, Current River
Float Length: 8-miles, 4-6 hours (Cedar Grove to Akers Ferry)
Float Difficulty: Easy
Floating Information and Prices 

Go Trout Fishing on the Big Niangua River

Put on the waders and cast your line out for trout! Bennett Springs State Park stocks their spring branch daily during fishing season. Anglers have the option to fish from three different zones and each zone allows for specific lures and flies. The daily limit is up to four trout and state fishing permits are required for anyone over 15 and under 65 years of age. Get out and experience Missouri trout fishing on the Big Niangua River!

Area Attractions: Trout Fishing, Natural Tunnel Trail, Big Niangua River
Type of Fish: Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Daily Limit: Daily limit is four, only one of which may be a brown trout equal to or greater than 15". No length limit on rainbow trout. Possession limit is eight trout.
Fishing Information

Onondaga Cave

Onondaga Cave

Explore the Depths of the Onondaga Cave

Explore the depths of Onondaga Cave State Park. The Onondaga Cave is a National Natural Landmark and offers some amazing geological wonders! Take the one hour and thirty minute tour through the cave and experience the King’s Canopy, The Twins, and other unusual natural formations. The cave’s temperature stays a cool 57 degrees Fahrenheit year-round and the electric-lit, paved walkways keep you from stumbling throughout the tour. 

Area Attractions: Onondaga Cave, Cathedral Cave, Deer Run Trail
Cave Trail Length: 1 mile (Onondaga Cave Tour)
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Cave Information and Prices

Pitch a Tent at Meramec State Park

Meramec State Park offers nearly 200 campsites to get away for the weekend. Located next to the Meramec River, visitors can swim, fish, raft, and boat. Adventurers can explore more than 13 miles of hiking trails and tour Fisher Cave, but don’t forget your flashlight! All basic sites include a fire ring, picnic table, lantern post, and grill and modern bathrooms are just a short walk away. Those who like a little more luxury when camping can upgrade to electric/water/sewer sites for a small fee. Cabins are also available.

Area Attractions: Meramec River, Fisher Cave, Hiking Trails
Available Campsites: Basic, Electric/Water, Electric/Water/Sewer, Cabin, Motel 
Camping Information and Prices

Evan Gardner