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There is a great difference in the rivers and floatable creeks throughout Missouri. The Meremac is a great river to float near the Maramac Springs and State Park. It is only about 90 minutes from downtown StLouis. If you are an experienced canoeist you will find it a bit slow and timid. For a bit more of a fun ride and a little shorter drive from StL I would suggest the Huzzah or the Courtois Creeks. They are tributaries of the Meremac River. The Current and Jacks Fork are more of a drive from StL. Depending on your put in point it is 2 to 3 hours from downtown StL (estimated).
Here is a website that will give you more information on Missouri's float streams and some exerpts from the site. Note the gradients on each stream. That is the measure of how fast the elevation changes. The greater the number the faster the stream. The Meremac near Maramac Springs is 4.2, the gradient of the Courtios is 7.2, the gradient of the Jacks Fork as a whole is 7.3.
You can select any float stream from the drop down box.
Missouri's Meramec River
Fed by Maramec Spring and many smaller springs, the Meramec is floated most of the year. The most floated sections are those between Maramec Spring and Meramec State Park, although there is still much reasonably attractive river down to St. Clair or even Pacific. Beyond that point, however, real estate developments, railroads, and industry may make the river unattractive to some paddlers. For those who do not mind these distractions, the river is floatable right down to the Mississippi. Floats above Maramec Spring are recommended only for high-water periods.
Difficulty: I, seldom II.
Gradients: general (to Palisades) - 3.4; Hwy. 19 to Hwy. M - 7.8; to Hwy. 8 - 5.3; to Hwy. 19 north of Steelville - 4.2; to Onondaga Cave - 3.2; to Moselle - 2.6; to Palisades - 1.6
Counties: Dent, Crawford, Phelps, Franklin, Jefferson, St. Louis.
Missouri's Jacks Fork River
This tributary of the Current River is one of the wildest and most scenic of the Missouri Ozark streams. Its deep valley is nearly a canyon, with no bottomland fields for the first 25 floatable miles. It is therefore advisable to camp well above river level if there is any chance of sudden rain. Trips with loaded canoes above Alley Spring are recommended only in spring or after good summer rains. The few miles immediately above Alley Spring are especially wide and shallow and may have to be walked in low water. Upper sections of the river provide fine fly fishing water.
Difficulty: I and II.
Gradients: general -- 7.3; Prongs to Hwy. 17 -- 8.6; to Bunker Hill -- 8; to Alley Spring -- 7; to Current River -- 6.3.
Counties: Texas, Shannon.
Missouri's Current River
Most spring-fed of all the Ozark rivers, the Current may be floated at almost any time of the year, particularly below Welch Spring. On hot summer weekends, the river is usually crowded. Weekdays floats are much more peaceful. Due to the increase in size of the river and the frequency of motor boats below Big Spring, most canoe and kayak trips are made on the sections above Big Spring.
Difficulty: I, occasionally II.
Gradients: general- 4.4; Montauk to Akers - 8.7; to junction of Jacks Fork - 5; to Big Spring - 3.8; to Doniphan - 3.2.
Counties: Dent, Shannon, Carter, Ripley.
Missouri's Huzzah Creek & Courtois Creek
These two clearwater gems, which join their waters to the Meramec River in Crawford County, are only about 100 miles from St. Louis. Although they are too small to provide adequate floating water at all seasons, the angler will find them pleasant and profitable floating-wading streams. In seasons of good water, the canoeist will find them quite sporty. Their valleys are relatively unspoiled and have real Ozarks atmosphere. It would be wise to check water levels of these creeks at Hwy. 8 bridges before attempting floats upstream from the highway. The names of the creeks are pronounced locally as Coort-a-way and Hoo-za.
Difficulty: frequently II due to sharp turns, obstructions and narrow channels.
Gradients: Hwy. V to town of Huzzah- 8.9; from town of Huzzah down - 7.
Difficulty: frequently II due to sharp turns, obstructions and narrow channels.
Gradients: Brazil to Hwy. 8 - 9.2; from Hwy. 8 down - 7.2.
Counties: Washington, Crawford.
Updated Oct 7, 2010
There are several large dams in the Ozark Plateau, so I stopped for a closer look at one of them near the town of Warsaw.
The Harry S. Truman Dam was built by the Army Corps of Engineers to help control flooding on the Missouri River and was constructed over 15 years between 1964-1979. The dam holds back the water of the largest flood control lake in Missouri and also provides the energy to run six 27 MW hydro generators.
An interesting Visitor Center building overlooks the dam, housing an information desk, videos of the construction and a museum-like display of the geological history of the area. When I stepped outside for a brief photo opportunity, I was surprised at the number of birds that were moving around in the trees only a short distance from me. An entirely red bird dropped out of a branch and disappeared before I got a good look, but it must have been a Cardinal. In the same tree I saw a Woodpecker and then a Nuthatch moving headfirst down the trunk, one of their characteristic traits. Too bad darkness was starting to fall, I had to hit the road!
Updated May 25, 2008
Table Rock Lake is Located in West Branson, Mo. It's about 250 miles from St. Louis and there is alot to do in the area. There are resorts on the lake you can stay, and there are motels in the area. You can also drive into Branson and catch some shows. Branson is very family friendly.
Written Nov 23, 2007
"If you ever plan to motor West...."
The old song praises one of the most celebrated American highways, the US 66, that since 1926 spans from Chicago to Los Angeles across nine States. This route became particularly popular during the infamous "Dust Bowl" period in the 30s. Years of uncontrolled agricultural practices in the Plains had resulted in an extreme impoverishment of the soil, causing a serie of severe dust storms that forced hundreds of thousands of people to move to California during that decade.
"The Mother Road", as Route 66 is also nicknamed, has slightly changed over the course of time and certainly superseded by the faster-pace Interstate road system. A true icon of the past times, driving today on Route 66 is a relaxing experience and a great occasion to sample the essence of America.
Written Oct 4, 2007
I heartily recommend this magazine's web site, for its coverage of all places and things in Missouri. From the many small towns to the cities and everything in between, as they say...
I really hope you will look at this, when planning your next visit to, or Through, this fascinating state, Missouri! No, I haven't been everywhere here yet, either. So many places I want to explore, too!!!
(will add photo sooon...)(
Written Sep 13, 2007
This old jail was built in the Ozark Mountains town of Vienna, Maries County, Missouri, in 1856, and was converted into a museum beginning 100 years later. The limestone jail with a gable roof contains pioneer relics from the central Ozarks area. The structure was originally built by a Mr. Barnhard at a cost of $2,500. That seems a pretty good deal to me since it is still standing sturdily 160 years later.
Near the Old Jail Museum is another structure from the same era, the Felker Log House, built by John Felker, an immigrant from Hanover, Germany, who was one of the pioneer settlers in the area. Both buildings are owned and operated by the Historical Society of Maries County.
The Museum is near the center of Vienna, on Hwy 42 East (3 Blocks from Hwy 63).
Weekdays: Memorial Day weekend thru June
Closed July and August
Open Labor Day weekend thru last Sunday in October
Updated Nov 19, 2006
Missouri is usually regarded as a "border state" during the Civil War, and regiments of Missouri soldiers fought on both sides of the conflict. Although the war ended in 1865, many soliders who survived the war continued to live until the mid 20th century. In 1891 the state of Missouri established a home for aging Confederate veterans on 135 acres of land
in the western part of the state. 1,600 veterans and their families lived here over a 60 year period, the last veteran dying in 1950, at the age of 108. Two years later the Confederate Veterans Home became a Missouri State Historic Site. It is an interesting, albeit sobering place to visit and to contemplate the darkest chapter in the history of the United States. Walking, picnicking and fishing are among the activities that may be enjoyed here.
211 West First Street
Higginsville, MO 64037
Updated Oct 26, 2005
Union Covered Bridge is one of only four covered bridges which remain in the state of Missouri, and it is the only one of the burr-arch truss design. This Monroe Country landmark, across the Elk Fork of the Salt River, was built by Joseph C. Elliott in 1871. It was in service for 99 years, before becoming a Missouri State Historic Site.
This beautiful old bridge is in a remote location, just off Route C, southwest of Paris, MO. It may be visited any time and without charge, however, the visitor should be aware that there are no restrooms, picnic tables or other facilities. However, there is a nice interpretative exhibit which tells the story of the bridge.
Updated Sep 27, 2005
The centerpiece of this 356 acre state park in central Missiouri is a sandstone cave which was used for human habitation as long ago as 10,000 years. Visitors can explore the picturesque entrance to the cave which is 120-feet wide and 16-feet high. Inside you will find exhibits explaining some of the archeological finds which have been made here. These discoveries helped rewrite history, proving that humans lived in this area longer ago than was previously known.
I made an overnight stop here in July, 2004, on a road trip with my two grandchildren, and we enjoyed the modern camping facilities. There is also a Visitor Center, playground area, and opportunities for hiking, boating, fishing, picnicing, etc.
217 Hwy. TT
Montgomery City, MO 63361
Graham Cave State Park is in Montgomery County, East Central Missouri, two miles west of Danville off I-70.
Updated Dec 13, 2004
At the conclusion of my meetings in Kansas City, I headed into Kansas and worked my way south almost to the Oklahoma state line on a very enjoyable drive. The next day, I swung east, back into Missouri, crossing just above Joplin as I then headed up through the Ozark Plateau south of Jefferson City.
Strangely enough, I did not find this drive as scenic as I thought it would be. The hills and trees just did not impress me all that much, possibly because this turned into a mostly grey-sky day unlike the sunshine I had enjoyed in Kansas. There was a noticeable upsurge in traffic as well, even though I was keeping to the secondary highways. Maybe the fact that it was now Saturday had something to do with it. I had always heard of the Ozark Mountains and maybe had a somewhat distorted picture in my mind of what to expect.
In the end, after a brief stop at the Harry S. Truman dam and its reservoir, I headed north on Hwy 65 then west on Interstate 70 as darkness fell. I wanted to get close to Kansas City for my accommodations, in order to catch my flight to Albany, NY the next day.
Updated Nov 27, 2004
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