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Ozark National Scenic Riverways

A One-of-a-Kind National Park

Discover the beauty and majesty of Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways was the nation's first scenic riverway and the first national park area specifically set aside to protect a river system. The park includes 134 miles of the Current River and Jacks Fork River, and is known as one of the midwest's best float streams. 

About the Park

The two major waterways of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways are the Current River and Jacks Fork River. Numerous additional streams feed into the waterway, including Welch Spring, Pulltite Spring, Big Spring, Round Spring, and Gravel Spring. A number of waterfalls can also be found in the park. (Rocky Falls especially popular with visitors.)

The park is also has a quite a few caves. Popular ones include Round Spring Cavern, Devil's Well, and Jam-Up Cave. Round Spring Cavern is open to the public and has ranger-led tours in the summer months.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways is made up of 80,000 acres. The park has around 100 species of fish, 200 species of birds, and close to 60 species of mammals, a variety of amphibians and reptiles, and over 1,000 species of plants. In short, the park has a high level of biodiversity.

It is relatively easy to access most parts of the park, with hundreds of miles of roadways covering the area.

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Image may be subject to copyright

Things to Do

A variety of activities are availble in Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Three of the most popular are floating, hiking, and camping.

The Current River and the Jacks Fork River are considered two of the best float rivers in the country. Canoeing, kayaking, and rafting are also popular on the rivers. A number of businesses authorized by the National Park Service provide rental services if you require them.

Hiking is, of course, popular in Ozark National Scenic Riverways, even though the park only maintains a few trails. The Ozark Trail traverses the area, and is extremely popular with hikers. Other trail of note are Cave Spring Loop Trail, Blue Spring Grail, and Alley Spring Overlook Trail.

Finally, camping is allowed in a number of areas in Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Campgrounds are divided into front country campgrounds, back country campgrounds, and primitive sites. In addition, floaters can camp on gravel bars as long as they are a half mile from designated campgrounds. 


If you love clean, cool, clear water coming from the ground, you'll love this area. The rivers are amazing, among the best in the country. There are many first magnitude springs, which means of 65 million gallons per day.
wonderful. kelly r, Trip Advisor
We visited the southern end of the ONSR near Cave Spring. The Current River is less than a mile from the spring and both are in the ONSR boundary. The spring outflow runs into the Current. There are no signs directing you to Cave Spring but take Hwy E west out of Hunter and look for a county road that goes to your right near a small group of houses. Stay on this gravel road until you get to the small parking area. The spring is to your right a few 100 feet. Fairly walkable trail with interesting rock formations. To get to Current River get back on Hwy E heading west until you reach the river. You will have to drive through the spring outflow to reach the river and it's not passible in high water. There's not a lot to do at either place except enjoy the quiet and solitude
Beautiful River. maldenmusic, Trip Advisor
We stopped on a whim just to have a picnic lunch while traveling through the area. Best decision. We love the outdoors and visit many state parks while traveling. The river water was so clear with a tint of green; we walked along the edge identifying deer, squirrel, and raccoon tracks. Even our teenagers enjoyed the swing set (something I'm sure we won't see much longer. Lol). Great location for families to spend time camping, hiking, or just having a picnic!
Best stop on a whim. sgraeter08, Trip Advisor
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