Float trips are a hallmark of a Missouri summer. Whether you’re a fan of kayaks, canoes or a good ole raft, there’s nothing quite escaping into nature and spending the day floating down one of our many rivers. To make your planning easy, we’ve gathered some of our favorite spots near St. Louis for doing just that. Grab your friends and a few beers, and head outdoors for the weekend. Information courtesy of sources including visitmo.org, missouricanoe.org/river-maps/, nps.gov, mdc.mo.gov and usda.gov.
Float trips are a hallmark of a Missouri summer. Whether you’re a fan of kayaks, canoes or a good ole raft, there’s nothing quite escaping into nature and spending the day floating down one of our many rivers. To make your planning easy, we’ve gathered some of our favorite spots near St. Louis for doing just that. Grab your friends and a few beers, and head outdoors for the weekend.
Information courtesy of sources including visitmo.org, missouricanoe.org/river-maps/, nps.gov, mdc.mo.gov and usda.gov.
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Alley Spring Eminence, MO 65466
Alley Spring is located along the Current River. In addition to the usual canoeing, tubing and fishing excursions, this area is host to numerous springs, sinkholes, caves and streams to explore. Photo courtesy of Flickr / Granger Meador.
This is also the location of the Alley Mill, which was built in the late 1800s. It is open daily in the summer and is available for tours upon request. It also is a great Instagram photo op, if we do say so ourselves. Photo courtesy of Flickr / Granger Meador. Rocky Falls Winona Township, MO When swimming is the main thing you want to do on your float trip, it’s a good idea to head to Rocky Falls. Just a short drive from the Current River, Rocky Falls offers an ideal spot for swimming, relaxing beachside or climbing the rocks of the falls. Photo courtesy of Flickr / henskechristine. Rocky Falls can be found on Route NN off of Route H east of Winona and Eminence, Missouri. You’ll find picnic tables, a walking trail, fire grills and, yes, bathrooms. Photo courtesy of Flickr / henskechristine. Jacks Fork Eminence, MO Jacks Fork juts off the Current River, and while it’s less crowded, it’s just as pretty. The river is formed where two streams (the North Prong and the South Prong) come together, making for a pretty view of the bluff-lined confluence. Photo courtesy of Instagram / hanks_hikes. The Jacks Fork River will supply about 46 miles of water for your canoeing pleasure. Some previous canoeing experience is best: Harvey’s Alley Spring Canoe Rental, one of your rental options at Jacks Fork, recommends that you have ?a more advanced degree of canoeing skill to venture along this narrow stream. Photo courtesy of Instagram / maddiegage96. Huzzah Creek Liberty Township, MO If you’re tired of the rat race and not looking to get anywhere fast, Huzzah Creek may be just what you need. The creek is narrow and typically slow-moving. It’s generally good for floating all year ’round, though of course water can run low in the summer (hello, sun and years of limited rainfall!). Photo courtesy of Instagram / christaljohnson. Huzzah Creek is also great for those just looking to have a great time — people often aren’t there for sport so much as they are there to party. It is also the location of the 93.7 the Bull Float Trip, a weekend of camping, floating and country music. Photo courtesy of Instagram / lifted_style. Courtois Creek Steelville, MO Courtois Creek is Huzzah Creek’s sister river, and the two have many similarities. You’ll see it all at Courtois Creek, from rafts to kayaks to cliff jumping to partying. Photo courtesy of Flickr / Missouri Division of Tourism. Courtois is a good go-to for first timers, with access to raft rentals at Bass River Resort and Huzzah Valley Resort. If you want to stay overnight, camping is also an option at both places. Photo courtesy of Flickr / Missouri Division of Tourism. Niangua River Warren Township, MO The Niangua River is a popular spot that starts at Bennett Spring State Park. In addition to floating, it’s a good spot for fishermen seeking trout, bass and other fish. You may also find yourself making friends from Kansas City or Springfield while you’re there, as it’s a popular draw for residents of both cities. Photo courtesy of Instagram / jcstlsun. Don’t own your own kayak? No problem. The Niangua River has several places for rental, including One-Eyed Willy’s, Niangua River Oasis and Sand Spring Resort. Photo courtesy of Instagram / c2gathering. Blue Spring Eminence Township, MO The National Park Service calls Blue Spring “one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever find, anywhere.” Here, the water is a beautiful blue color and is more than 310 feet deep. Photo courtesy of Flickr / Timothy K Hamilton. Blue Spring is on the Current River. While you can’t float, swim or boat in the spring itself, you can see it for yourself by floating to the sandbar across from it and then swimming toward the hiking trail across the river. You’ll know you’re getting close when the water becomes cool. The Missouri Department of Conservation also provides driving instructions for those looking to access it by land. Photo courtesy of Flickr / U.S. Department of the Interior. Eleven Point Birch Tree, MO Located in the Ozark hills, the Eleven Point National Scenic River is surrounded by bluffs and tree-filled valleys. According to the USDA, there are several access points and float camps along the river, with plenty of opportunity to catch smallmouth bass and pan fish. Photo courtesy of Instagram / ohkylee and backpaddler.wordpress.com. Eleven Point receives 220 million gallons of water from Greer Spring every day. As a result, Eleven Point is a good go-to spot for floating all year ’round, according to visitmo.com. Photo courtesy of backpaddler.wordpress.com. Big Piney River Texas, Howell, Phelps and Pulaski County, MO The biggest tributary of the Gasconade River, the Big Piney is a great place for fishing. In the upper and middle reaches you’ll also have a great view, with limestone bluffs topped with pine trees. Photo courtesy of Instagram / kbarncord. A number of lovely springs feed into Big Piney River, making it a great place to float. Some float trip options include Rich’s Last Resort and Wilderness Ridge Resort. Photo courtesy of Instagram / dogwoodchannelcat. North Fork of the White River Clinton Township, MO Looking for a float that is a bit less crowded? Head to the North Fork of the White River, known locally simply as “the North Fork.” Due to its location close to the Arkansas border, it tends to draw fewer crowds. Photo courtesy of Flickr / Missouri Division of Tourism. River of Life Farm is an option if you’re looking to rent a raft, kayak or canoe to explore the North Fork of the White River. According to the River of Life Farm website, the North Fork of the White River always has plenty of water, thanks to the way it’s fed by the eighth largest spring system in the state of Missouri. Photo courtesy of Flickr / Missouri Division of Tourism.
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