Mark Twain National Forest Guide

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.

Where to Camp

Camping in Mark Twain National Forest

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.

RV Rentals Near Mark Twain National Forest

Shape Hiking Trails

Mark Twain National Forest Hiking Trails

Things to Do

Activities in Mark Twain National Forest

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.

map-marker-alt-regular How to Get There

How to get to Mark Twain National Forest

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Mark Twain National Forest

Does Mark Twain National Forest offer free camping sites?

Yes, Mark Twain National Forest offers free camping sites. Dispersed camping is allowed in many areas of the forest, as long as campers leave no trace when they pack up camp. The Berryman Campground in the forest offers free, primitive camping with access to vault toilets and picnic tables.

Is there a limit to how long you can camp in Mark Twain National Forest?

Yes, there is a limit to how long you can camp in Mark Twain National Forest. Campers may stay 14 consecutive days and then must move at least one mile before setting up camp again.

If you are camping in a developed recreation area, you may camp for up to 14 days, and then must leave the campsite for at least seven days before returning.

Is Mark Twain National Forest open all year round?

Yes, Mark Twain National Forest is open year-round. Some areas may only have services during the summer season, however, and in some spots there is no water available in the winter months.

How many hiking trails does Mark Twain National Forest have?

There are 32 miles of maintained trails in the Mark Twain National Forest. Hikers will find trails for a variety of abilities, from easy walks to lengthy hikes in the forest.

What type of wildlife lives in Mark Twain National Forest?

Wildlife living in the Mark Twain National Forest includes roadrunners, bald eagles, wild turkeys, deer, and black bears. There is a variety of songbirds and other small animals living in the forest as well.