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Old 10-03-2017, 11:17 AM   #1
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Your Southeast Missouri Camping Suggestions are Welcome

I'd greatly welcome your suggestions for camping in Southeast Missouri, specificaly south of I44 between St. Louis and Springfield.

I'm planning to do business just south of Springfield, Mo and thought I'd try to mix business with pleasure, camping a few days before my Monday appointment, then camp in Northwest Arkansas for four nights (the Eureka Springs and Buffalo River areas) before heading back north to Wisconsin. I only have a total of 9 nights.

I've done some research on Missouri's state parks and the Mark Twain National Forest but can't seem to decide. Johnson Shut-Ins State Park seems like it might be an option on the way back from the Buffalo River. But on the way down I'd like to stay pretty near I44 or HW63. OR, I could get down as far as Branson, then drive a little north for my meeting.

Generally, I prefer wilderness over RV parks, but hope to have shower access Monday morning, so let that be your guide to suggestions.

Any suggestions?
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Old 10-06-2017, 06:15 AM   #2
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Well if no one has a suggestion for camping in "southeast" Missouri (near I44), how about south central? Anyone? Anyone?
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Old 10-06-2017, 06:35 AM   #3
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Hello, lonekingfish. I recently spent a few days campin in Missouri and Arkansas and I quite enjoyed them both. I tend to be very all over the map in my travels, so sometimes my routes might not make sense, ha!

But in Missouri I found a beautiful, free campground that was called Pinewoods campground near Ellsinore, which I really liked and it was a lil south I think. Also, hwy 19 in Missouri between Eminence and Rolla has got a whole lot of great campin opportunities. Echo Bluffs State Park is the most developed one but there are better ones that are less developed and more private.

I also loved the Buffalo River in Arkansas and I enjoyed Eureka Springs. There, I was able to boondock on the dry river bed at a place called Grinders Ferry but it is a lil tricky and ya need 4-wheel drive.

Here are the links to my posts from there:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/show....php?p=1985848

http://www.airforums.com/forums/show....php?p=1985375
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Old 10-06-2017, 08:02 AM   #4
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Bennett Springs state park and trout hatchery near Salem, mo.
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Old 10-06-2017, 08:03 AM   #5
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If you're okay with Corps of Engineers campgrounds, you can find them all at the Corps Lakes Gateway: www.CorpsLakes.us

There are two Corps lakes in southeastern Missouri, Clearwater Lake and Wappapello Lake. Clearwater Lake has five Corps campgrounds, four of which have sites reservable on Recreation.gov. Wappapello Lake has three Corps campgrounds which are reservable on Recreation.gov AND one Missouri state park*, imaginatively named Wappapello State Park.

*Corps Lakes Gateway lists every recreational facility on a Corps lake or river project, whether managed by CoE or by others. But if it's managed by others, no links are provided, only the name. You'd have to look up those campgrounds on your own.

Full disclosure, I haven't stayed at any of these parks— yet. But I haven't ever stayed at a Corps campground that I didn't like, so I feel confident in recommending these sight- (or site-) unseen.
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Old 10-06-2017, 08:11 AM   #6
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If it's not too late for this suggestion, we camped at Devils Den State Park in NW Arkansas and loved it. Beautiful park, good facilities, trails, waterfalls.. AND a cave!
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Old 10-06-2017, 08:23 AM   #7
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A big thanks for the recommendations, TravlinMan. I'll explore more about what's available along Hwy 19 between Eminence and Rolla, MO.

Also enjoyed the links to your past posts! Oark looks so quaint-I think I have to drive to that General Store. My plan was to camp near Ponca, AR and explore a variety of sites along the Buffalo river, east of there. But continuing down HWY 21 south of Ponca sounds like it should be in my plan too.
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Old 10-06-2017, 09:38 AM   #8
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In Devil's Elbow, MO, there is a biker bar called the Elbow Inn along old Route 66. They have a campsite behind the bar that they may allow you to stay in. I tent camped there for about a week while doing old Route 66 on my motorcycle years ago. Not sure if they still do biker night on Thursdays, but it was a blast. No hookups, but good folks and decent barbeque. I don't know about a shower. There's a river ...
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Old 10-06-2017, 09:50 AM   #9
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Johnson Shut Ins is a nice campground, with a nice bike trail to the Shut Ins. There is also Sam Baker State Park not to far. And on the way go to Elephant Rocks State Park to explore but theres no camping there.
On I44 there is both Meremac State Park and Onadoga Cave State Park which has a beautiful show cave.
Don't know when your going but these state parks all close Nov 1.
Eureka Springs has several campgrounds and is also close to Beaver lake which has nice COE campgrounds
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Old 10-06-2017, 10:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
If you're okay with Corps of Engineers campgrounds, you can find them all at the Corps Lakes Gateway: www.CorpsLakes.us

There are two Corps lakes in southeastern Missouri, Clearwater Lake and Wappapello Lake. Clearwater Lake has five Corps campgrounds, four of which have sites reservable on Recreation.gov. Wappapello Lake has three Corps campgrounds which are reservable on Recreation.gov AND one Missouri state park*, imaginatively named Wappapello State Park.

*Corps Lakes Gateway lists every recreational facility on a Corps lake or river project, whether managed by CoE or by others. But if it's managed by others, no links are provided, only the name. You'd have to look up those campgrounds on your own.

Full disclosure, I haven't stayed at any of these parks— yet. But I haven't ever stayed at a Corps campground that I didn't like, so I feel confident in recommending these sight- (or site-) unseen.
Wow, thanks Protagonist, for the link to the Corps site! Thought I knew all the relevant links (US Forest Service, BLM, etc.) but I was certainly mistaken!
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Old 10-06-2017, 10:28 AM   #11
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Devils Elbow

Thanks so much everyone. I'm researching suggestions. I found this info about a flood in May along the river/Route 66 in Devil's Elbow. http://www.route66news.com/2017/05/0...ls-elbow-gone/

That little town and the Elbow Inn certainly look intriguing to me. Anyone know if the road is now open?
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Old 10-06-2017, 09:49 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Lonekingfish View Post
Thanks so much everyone. I'm researching suggestions. I found this info about a flood in May along the river/Route 66 in Devil's Elbow. http://www.route66news.com/2017/05/0...ls-elbow-gone/

That little town and the Elbow Inn certainly look intriguing to me. Anyone know if the road is now open?
Yikes. That's awful to hear. That must have been an amazing amount of water. The photo on this article has the parking lot under water, which IIRC was a good 20+ feet above the water.

http://www.route66news.com/2017/05/2...eopens-friday/

Thanks for posting that. I need to check on some old friends.
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