Join us at Ozark National Scenic Riverways for a variety of hiking opportunities this fall! All activities and events are free and no prior registration is required.
Now is the time to start planning some fall and winter hiking adventures. Ozark National Scenic Riverways offers a variety of great trails for all to enjoy. Visitors can explore the trails independently or can participate in several ranger-led hiking events scheduled throughout the fall. The fall hiking season kicks off with activities in the Round Spring area on Saturday and continues with special activities most weekends through early November.
Fall is the perfect time to try the Current River Challenge hike/float adventure. This self-guided activity has three “legs” to complete: a four-mile hike from Round Spring to Echo Bluff State Park, a four-mile hike from Echo Bluff to Current River State Park, and a four-mile float from Current River State Park in Round Spring. Hikers can pick up a cartographic information brochure at one of the park’s three sites. At the end of each “step”, participants will stamp their card at the designated kiosks (Carrs Canoe Rental, Echo Bluff State Park Campground Entrance Station, and the bulletin board on the other side from the lake house to Current River State Park). Upon completion of all three stages, participants can present their stamped card to the Pulltite Ranger station to receive an award recognizing their achievement. The Current River Challenge is a self-guided activity that can be completed at your own pace, in any order and within your desired time frame. It can be completed in one day or over several days.
Plan accordingly when hiking or participating in any outdoor recreational activity. Hikers should consider weather conditions and be prepared for all seasons. Drinking water, rain gear, map, snacks, flashlight, sturdy hiking shoes, clothing suitable for the weather and terrain, and emergency campfire supplies are recommended . Don’t forget to tell someone about your plans.
• September 17: start of the fall hiking season
The fall hiking season will kick off with a hike from Round Spring to Echo Bluff State Park. Complete the first leg of the Current River Challenge hike/float adventure and discover other trail possibilities in the park. This 4.25 mile hike starts at 10:00 am from the Round Spring Lodge parking lot. A shuttle back to Round Spring will be provided.
• September 24: Chubb Hollow, Lookout and CCC Trails near Big Spring
This 7 mile hike will explore three trail loops south of Big Spring, where you’ll experience beautiful scenery while learning about the cultural history of the original Big Spring State Park. Meet at Big Spring parking lot at 10am
• October 1: BARK Ranger hike in Big Spring
Bring your four-legged friends and join a Park Ranger for a short hike around Big Spring starting at 10 a.m. After the hike, all dogs will be officially sworn in as Ozark National Scenic Riverways BARK Rangers and will receive an exclusive Riverways BARK Ranger bandana. Dogs must be kept on a six foot leash at all times.
• October 1: Cedar Grove to Susie Nichols Cabin
John and Susie Nichols built their home in 1910, where Susie lived until her death in 1959. Today, the park has stabilized the structures to preserve Nichols Farm’s sixty-year history. Meet at 10am at Cedar Grove, near the restrooms and parking lot east of the bridge. This hike is 4 miles, round trip.
• October 8: from Rocky Falls to Klepzig Mill
Meet at 10 a.m. at the Rocky Falls parking lot. Hikers will be transported to Klepzig Mill to explore the historic mill and cascading rhyolite falls before setting off on the 3 mile hike through the scenic mill mountain area. The hike will end at Rocky Falls. Participants are encouraged to bring lunch to eat at the Rocky Falls picnic area after the hike.
• October 15: Discovery of the Middle Current River
This hike will follow the Ozark Trail from the Powder Mill trailhead to the Blue Spring trailhead and back, for a 5 mile round trip. Rangers will share the history of elk in the Missouri Ozarks using Henry Rowe Schoolcraft’s journal entries and discuss the reintroduction and current status of the herd. Stops at historic Owls Bend School and the Ramsey Barn will understand the history of the Owls Bend community. Meet at the Powder Mill trailhead at 10:00 a.m.
• October 22: Autumn colors at the Devil’s Well
Admire the spectacular fall colors along the Cave Spring Trail. Meet at Devils Well at 10 am to hike 2.2 miles to Cave Spring, then return via the loop trail (2.7 miles) for a total of about 8 miles.
• October 29: “Howl”-o-ween BARK Ranger Hiking Costume
Bring Fido and Fluffy for a special BARK Ranger costume hike around Alley Spring. Participants are encouraged to bring their dog fully dressed for Halloween. Participants will receive a BARK Ranger certificate and prizes for different categories. Meet at Alley Mill at 2 p.m.
• November 6: March in honor of veterans
This ride will begin with a brief Flag Ceremony at 10:00 am in Rocky Falls in honor of our veterans. Pack a lunch and hike 2.5 miles on the Ozark Trail to the top of Stegall Mountain. After lunch, participants will return to Rocky Falls, a total distance of five miles. Bring your favorite veteran or just show your appreciation for others. The Ozark Riverways Foundation will offer special recognition to all veterans in attendance.
The trails are a major attraction for visitors to the area. Many come to float and paddle the river trails. Horse enthusiasts travel great distances to participate in treks in the region. The Ozark Trail passes through the park and local communities. Volunteer groups attract hundreds of people to build and maintain trails. Trails are an important part of local heritage and recreational opportunities available in the Ozarks today. Fall is the perfect time to take advantage of all that the region’s trails have to offer.
Ozark National Scenic Riverways preserves the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork rivers, surrounding resources, and the unique cultural heritage of the Ozark people.