Of all the national forests in the United States, Mark Twain National Forest is one of the most unique. While it encompasses 3,068,800 acres in southern Missouri, those acres are not contiguous. Indeed, the forest consists of nine separate sections of land sprawled from one side of Missouri to the other. As the only national forest in Missouri, the Mark Twain National Forest operates as a single unit even though only 1,506,100 acres of it is publicly owned. The forest's entirety is within the Ozark Mountain Range boundaries, where trees, wildlife, fish, and birds are prolific, agile, and wily. The separated areas, both publicly and privately owned, are natural homes where humans are tolerated guests.
The way Mark Twain National Forest is spread out over southern Missouri makes it an ideal national forest to visit in an RV. By using an RV, visitors camp in one location, explore it thoroughly, and then pick up stakes and move to another section of the forest to explore a completely different environment. Each evening, these visitors can relax in comfort before tackling the next day of adventure. You can begin this journey by visiting one of the RVshare sites above to find the perfect RV to rent for you and your family.
Three Springs RV Park and Campground is located near the headquarters of the Mark Twain National Forest in Rolla, MO. The campground offers 24 pull-through gravel sites. These campsites are narrow, which means you may not be able to deploy any slide-outs from your RV. There is a playground and a rec hall with pool tables, foosball, and an arcade. Water Hookup: Yes Electric Hookup: 30/50 amps Sewer Hookup: Yes Wi-Fi Available: Yes Pet-friendly: Yes Other Amenities: Picnic tables, fire rings, restrooms with flush toilets, warm showers, laundry facilities Fee: $32 to $35 per night
Hidden Valley Family Outfitters offers 74 RV campsites, 40 of which have pull-through capability. All of the sites are 40 feet wide and 52 feet long, allowing plenty of room for visitors to deploy their slide-outs and otherwise spread out across the area. A camp store provides RV supplies, groceries, LP gas, firewood, ice, fishing supplies, and a snack bar. Situated beside the Niangua River, the campground supports a boat ramp and a river dock. The camp store rents out kayaks and canoes. Guests can enjoy fishing, swimming, hiking, biking, and wildlife observation. Water Hookup: Yes Electric Hookup: 30/50 amp Sewer Hookup: Yes Wi-Fi Available: Yes Pet-friendly: Yes Other Amenities: Fire rings, picnic tables, warm showers, restrooms with flush toilets Fee: $34 to $39 per night
Ozark Highlands MHC/RV Park offers 24 RV campsites, of which nine are pull-throughs. All the campsites are 20 feet in width. The pull-through sites are 60 feet in length, and the back-in sites are 43 feet long. The campground provides planned activities for its guests. There is a heated pool, a playground, horseshoe pits, and a rec hall. Water Hookup: Yes Electric Hookup: 30/50 amps Sewer Hookup: Yes Wi-Fi Available: Yes Pet-friendly: Yes Other Amenities: Restrooms with flush toilets, fire rings, picnic tables, warm showers, dump station, self-service RV wash station Fee: $40 per night
Council Bluff Lake Trail is a moderately used pathway located near Belleview, MO. The trail is a loop that stays close to the shore of Bluff Lake. Traveling through forests that walk right up to the lake's edge, this pathway takes hikers through natural wildlife habitat areas.
Length: 11.4 miles
Berryman Trail climbs 2,529 feet in elevation along a roaring creek with several tent campgrounds along the way. Fishing in the stream for native trout is one of the favorite activities that draws people to this path. Visitors are encouraged to take two to four days to travel the entire loop.
Length: 27.1 miles
The Lower Rock Creek Trail is an in-and-out pathway that changes 495 feet in elevation during the hike. The track is moderately trafficked and located near the town of Frederick, MO. There are many viewpoints with remarkable sights of the creek tumbling down into the canyon below.
Length: 5.5 miles
Located near Alton, MO, Greer River Trail is a short in-and-out trail that begins at a trailhead and reaches a waterfall. Though the trip is short, the path climbs 208 feet in elevation in only 0.7 miles making it difficult for some.
Length: 1.4 miles
Expect to travel through rugged terrain on this section of the Ozark Trail. While hikers get a rest when walking through the temporary meadows, the rest of the path is strewn with mudslides, rocky slopes, and incredibly steep climbs up and down hillsides. To make up for the harsh terrain, the views are incredible with many being a sight that will stay with you for a lifetime.
Length: 12.3 miles
Because of the large distances between locations and the incredible changes in elevation that each Mark Twain National Forest section enjoys, there is a vast array of plants and animals for visitors to enjoy. Visitors may choose to walk through a prairie grass section, along undulating valleys filled with the babble of a creek, or across the tops of ridges. In any case, the natural environment produces homes for different arrays of wildlife, including birds in each forest area. There are many small communities within easy reach of Mark Twain National Forest, some of which are inside the borders of one section or another. The separation of sections of the forest means that light pollution is more prevalent in most areas, reducing star-gazing opportunities.
In some forest sections, anglers find wide-open lakes or reservoirs to fish for stocked trout, crappies, or bass. In other areas, anglers combat close quarters where trees hover over creeks tumbling from one hole to the next filled with native trout, waiting for a lingering fly or floating worm.
Address: 401 Fairgrounds Road, Rolla, MO 65401
Fee: Entry fee $0
Mark Twain National Forest is an ideal place to spend a vacation in an RV. To take advantage of the opportunities that the forest provides, visit RVshare to find an RV rental that will take you and your family on a trip full of wonders.