Ozark National Scenic Riverways
Ozark National Scenic Riverways was created by an Act of Congress on August 24, 1964, to protect 134 miles of the Current and Jack's Fork Rivers in the Ozark Highlands of southeastern Missouri. The clean, clear waters of these two beautiful rivers provide excellent opportunities for johnboating, canoeing, swimming, fishing and tubing. Hunting is also an authorized use within the Riverways' boundaries. The landscape is predominantly rural, with broadleaf forests and occasional open fields. The southeast Missouri Ozark Mountains are typified by narrow steep-sided hollows, numerous streams, and bluffs. Much of the area is underlain by soluble limestone and dolomite, giving rise to sinkholes, caves, and springs of a classical karst topography. There are over 300 recorded caves within the boundaries. Sixty per cent of the rivers' flow comes from seven major springs and 51 other springs of various sizes within the drainage basin. Big Spring, one of the largest springs in the United States, has an average flow of 276 million gallons of water per day. The maximum recorded flow in one day was 840 million gallons in June 1928. There are 112 species of fish, 196 species of birds, and 58 species of mammals found in the park. There are also 25 species of snakes found in the park, including 4 poisonous species.
Seasonality / Weather
Ozark National Scenic Riverways is open year around. The rivers are much less crowded on weekdays during the summer and during the off season, such as April and May and September through October which are both beautiful times to float. You may want to consider a visit during those times.
The area is best reached via Interstate 44 or U.S. Route 60.