Missouri: Camping on the Beautiful Black River

I'm off and wandering again! I recently took a trip to a couple of state parks in Southeast Missouri, an area that I visited frequently while growing up.  It has been many years, likely more than 10 years, that I had been down that way, and I clearly had forgotten just how beautiful the region is.  


We stayed for three nights, right on the river, at a great campsite right on the river, courtesy of Bearcat Campground.  Good friends and good weather made for a perfect trip.  


The Black River forms near Pilot Knob in the Mark Twain National Forest of Iron County, then flows southward through Reynolds, Wayne and Butler Counties into Arkansas to its confluence with the Current River at Pocahontas. It is characterized by its lazy, slow-moving current on Class I flatwater surrounded by beautiful forests and the southeastern Missouri Ozarks. 


The clarity of the Black River in Missouri is unbelievable.  I was pleased to see that people keep it clean.  The river is popular for float trips, whether on kayaks, canoes, or the big 8 
man rafts.  


Its headwaters begin just a short distance north of Taum Sauk Mountain, the highest point of elevation in the State of Missouri, and then flow by Johnson's Shut-ins State Park above Lesterville down through Clearwater Lake and Poplar Bluff before entering Arkansas' far northeast corner. Nearby major waterways include the Big, St. Francis, Current, Jacks Fork and Eleven Point Rivers, all but the Jacks Fork eventually finding their ways into Arkansas.


While staying on the Black River in Lesterville, our goal was to visit Elephant Rocks and Johnson Shut Ins State Parks, both nearby and promising to be lots of fun.  The Southeastern part of Missouri is ripe with geological wonders and these two parks promise lots of unusual sights.  I'll be posting about the parks soon....stay tuned! 



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