TOP 5 Secluded Campsites in the Ozark Mountains


Editors choice of quiet places to pitch a tent in the Ozarks.

The Ozarks, also known as the Ozark Mountains , Ozark Plateau, or the Ozark Highlands is a physiographic region in the U.S. states of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and extreme southeastern Kansas. The Ozarks cover a significant portion of northern Arkansas and most of the southern half of Missouri, extending from Interstate 40 in Arkansas to Interstate 70 in central Missouri. There are two mountain ranges within the Ozarks: the Boston Mountains of Arkansas and the St. Francois Mountains of Missouri. Buffalo Lookout, the highest point in the Ozarks, is located in the Boston Mountains. Geologically, the area is a broad dome with the exposed core in the ancient St. Francois Mountains, some of the oldest rocks in North America. The Ozarks cover nearly 47,000 square miles (120,000 km2), making it the most extensive highland region between the Appalachians and Rockies. Together with the Ouachita Mountains, the area is known as the U.S. Interior Highlands. There are many places to camp in this region and it seems to be catching on. As campsites get more and more crowded every season it can feel like you are almost placing your tent right against someone else's. If you are an outdoor adventurer looking for a place a little more off the grid, we have a few listed here. Please respect others when you run into others in these places. All though these places are primitive camping, it is still after all a great big, small world.

 

1. WOLF JUNCTION

Located along the beautiful Glade Top Trail In southern Missouri. Wolf Junction is one of just a handful of camp/picnic sites located along the scenic Glade Top Trail. The Glade Top Trail is an amazing 23 mile long scenic stretch of well maintained dirt road that cuts through the top of this portion's of Missouri's Mark Twain National Forest. The Wolf Junction campsite is a historical site. Once the old homestead of Mr. Findley a noted author, local historian, and was known as the “walking preacher of the Ozarks”. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE>

“And when Indian Summer comes and God hangs a shimmering curtain of blue purple over these Ozark Hills, and the trees put on their robes of scarlet and gold, just take a drive over the Glade Top (Skyline) drive and you’ll say you’ve seen a little bit of “Ozark Glory,” too. God must have loved our hills a lot, or He wouldn’t have made so many of them.” (Ozark Glory, 1985 J.W. Findley) CLICK HERE TO LEAR MORE>

 


2. PADDY CREEK WILDERNESS CAMP

This 7035-acre wilderness is located in northwestern Texas County. In the early 1800’s Sylvester Paddy began the first logging of the area, transporting timber from this area by river to St. Louis. Until the 1930’s the area was homesteaded and grazed as open range. It became federally designated wilderness in 1983. Big Paddy and Little Paddy Creeks characterize the Paddy Creek Wilderness with steep cliffs and rock outcrops along the drainages. These creeks have water in them throughout most of the year. This recreation area is nestled in a hollow along Paddy Creek, a major tributary to the Big Piney River, 1/2 mile away. This USDA campground provides a picnic area and 23 campsites. It is located adjacent to the east boundary of the Paddy Creek Wilderness and is one of the 3 trailheads for the Big Piney Trail.Paddy Creek flows year-round and is a crystal clear wading creek. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION>

The Big Piney Trail is a 17 mile loop that cuts through the Paddy Creek Wilderness. Connecting the trailhead access at Roby Lake and the Paddy Creek Campground, the loop has a north leg and south leg that are basically separated by Little Paddy Creek. The wilderness is located 30 miles south of the I-44, between Rolla and Lebanon, making it one of the most accessible of the many Missouri hiking trails and wilderness areas. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO>

 

3. WHITE ROCK MOUNTAIN RECREATION AREA


Experience nature and adventure at historic White Rock Mountain! This National Forest Recreation Area features three unique and rustic natural stone cabins and a large natural stone lodge built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Each features a stone fireplace new, antique, and original wood furniture handcrafted by the CCC. Wind, rain and natural elements had caused the deterioration of the buildings over the years. In 1987 a volunteer group, Friends of White Rock, began a project to renovate the historic structures. With a lot of commitment and hard work, the lodge and cabins were restored to their original state in 1991. White Rock Mountain also offers nine primitive family camping sites. These easily accessible shaded campsites include tents pads, fire rings, grills, picnic tables and access to restrooms and water. Small RVs or pop-up campers can be accommodated at a few sites. CLICK HERE FORE MORE>

The grounds at White Rock Mountain are open year-round. There is a gravel parking area, clean vault toilets, and eight family picnic units with grills and tables. The facility features four CCC crafted shelters along the White Rock Rim Trail that offer spectacular views. Overnight parking for the Ozark Highlands Trail access is available onsite. The lodge and three cabins are available for rent at White Rock Mountain. There is a lodge and 3 cabins you can rent and reserve. They all have electricity and running water and fireplaces. All units are equipped with bathrooms and a full kitchen. Great place!! CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO> CABIN RENTALS CLICK HERE>


 

4. RICHLAND CREEK WILDERNESS

The Richland Creek Wilderness was created by the 1984 Arkansas Wilderness Act and contains 11,801 acres in the middle of the Boston Mountains. One of three wildernesses on the Buffalo Ranger District, it takes its name from the main creek running through the area. This area has a picturesque mountain waterfalls, rocks, and beautiful bluffs. There is access to the Richland Creek Wilderness Area which has 11 family camping sites as well as many primitive sites scattered about the area. Because of very rough roads, visitors are not encouraged to take camping trailers to Richland Creek.

Probably my favorite place to enjoy the Ozarks Mountains. This area is full of beauty and mystery. Topography within 1/4 mile on either side of Richland and Long Devil’s Fork Creeks is quite rugged and scenic. Rock bluffs over 100 feet high and extending over a mile along each side of Richland Creek graphically reveal the earth’s development. FOR MORE INFO CLICK HERE> or go to https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/osfnf/recarea/?recid=43479

 

5. BAR K WRANGLER AREA

Bar-K is located on the west bank of Swan Creek, serves as a Trailhead for the Swan Creek Trail and is open year round. Bar-K Wrangler Camp is a primitive horse camp, with limited picnic tables and fire rings and one vault toilet. Parking to accommodate stock trailers and towing vehicles. When you camp at Bar-K Wrangler Camp you will likely see salt-of-the-earth horse ridin’ nature lovin’ folk. So watch your step on the trails. Pack in/Pack out garbage.

Excellent place to camp! Lots of other campsites in the immediate surrounding area as well. Some in like a campground loop with neighbors and a short walk to the water, others are more secluded and private. Spend some time scouting out the area beforehand to discover the other sites nearby. Beautiful area! Enjoy cooling off in the summer swimming in Swan Creek. FOR MORE INFO CLICK HERE>

 

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