Step Outside - Missouri WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 Step Outside - Missouri 144 144 Tue, 21 Aug 2018 13:13:45 -0500 5 Gorgeous Beach Campsites in Missouri If you’re going camping, why not enhance the experience by doing it on a lakefront spot? Camping by the water not only provides awe-inspiring views, but ample opportunity for water recreation such as swimming, kayaking, and boating. Make your reservations at these five excellent beach campsites in Missouri. 

Pomme de Terre Lake is located where Lindley Creek and the Pomme de Terre River merge in southwest Missouri. Pomme de Terre State Park offers campgrounds in both the Pittsburg and Hermitage areas of the park. Both campgrounds feature a variety of amenities and family campsites for campers who need a little extra space. The Pittsburg campground area features a full-service marina, beach, picnic area, and trails. The Hermitage area features amenities that include a large beach, picnic area, and trails.

Part of the Mark Twain National Forest, Loggers Lake Campground was constructed in 1942. For people who love to fish, this is your spot. The spring-fed lake is maintained as a fishery and boats with electric motors are the only ones permitted—so it will be a quiet, relaxing experience. Other amenities include great hiking areas, kayak rentals, and prime star gazing. 

With a campground, camper cabins, day-use area, and access to Big Lake, this 407-acre state park offers endless amenities for an unforgettable getaway. Big Lake, popular for boating and fishing, is the largest remaining oxbow lake in Missouri. While camping here, you’ll enjoy the wetland bird species and migratory waterfowl that are supported by the shallow waters of Big Lake.

Stockton State Park offers a range of lodging options from campsites to cabins and the clear waters of Stockton Lake are great for recreational water activities. Campers who are interested in sailing will be happy to know that a nationally-recognized sailing school is housed at the marina here. The area is perfect for sailing due to a perpetual southwest breeze. Campers also enjoy the interesting wildlife, picnicking with the family, or just taking in the beauty of southern Missouri.

Lake Wappapello State Park offers campsites that range from basic to electric to sewer/electric/water. Family campsites at Lake Wappapello feature two camping pads as well as two tables, grills, and lantern posts. At Lake Wappapello, visitors can enjoy hiking, horseback riding, and fishing for crappie, catfish, and bass. 

Africa Studio/ Tue, 14 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Best Backpack Camping Spots in Missouri With Missouri’s magnificent natural features and range of topographies, the state makes for a wonderful place to camp. One of the best ways to connect with nature is through backpacking. So stuff everything you’ll need into your pack and get ready for a truly rustic adventure. Here are the best backpack camping spots in the state. 

You will experience one of the oldest mountains regions in North America, the St. Francois Mountains, on this beautiful trail in Sam A. Baker State Park. The Mudlick Trail is a rugged hike that is nearly 17 miles in length and winds mostly through the Mudlick Mountain Wild Area, one of Missouri’s most significant landscapes. Hikers will find this park’s first backpack camp area at Mudlick Hollow, which is about three miles down Mudlick Trail.

The challenging, nine-mile Peewah Trail at Trail of Tears State Park in Jackson, Missouri, is broken up into an east loop and a west loop. This popular trail explores the 1,300-acre Indian Creek Wild Area, one of the most rugged areas of the Mississippi River hills. While visitors to Peewah Trail enjoy sightings of eagles, snakes, turkey, and white-tailed deer, they need to be aware of possible downed trees, briars, poison ivy, and ticks.

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Only hikers and backpackers are allowed on this popular trail at Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Camdenton, Missouri. Turkey and deer are often spotted on the rugged 6.5-mile Turkey Pen Hollow Trail as it takes visitors past a variety of landscapes, a large sinkhole, and a primitive backpack camping area.

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Lake Wappapello Trail is a moderate, almost 13-mile-long trail at Lake Wappapello State Park in Williamsville, Missouri. Counterclockwise travel is recommended on Lake Wappapello Trail and certain parts are closed to overnight camping. Visitors to this beautiful area are treat to scenic views of wildlife and landscapes.

This 12.6-mile trail is located in Park Hills, Missouri, and is rated as moderate. From natural surface of dirt to really rocky sections, visitors will experience a variety of beautiful terrain on the Pine Ridge Trail at St. Joe State Park. Sections of this trail wind through pine trees while others take hikers through typical woodlands on their way to the trails designated backpack camp.

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5 Awesome Campgrounds for Families in Missouri Missouri is famous for its dramatic and awe-inspiring nature, including mountains, caves, rivers, lakes, and wildlife. Because of this natural bounty, there’s no shortage of families who want to spend time outdoors camping, and no shortage of great places to take them. Here are five awesome Missouri campgrounds for your family to enjoy.  

Missouri is known as the Cave State, and that’s nowhere more in evidence than in Onondaga Cave State Park. The caves themselves, especially Onondaga Cave and Cathedral Cave, are worth the trip, with their stunning geological formations, but camping at the park also offers fishing, boating, hiking trails, and towering bluffs overlooking the Meramec River. Access to local attractions from the campgrounds make this an ideal Missouri vacation.

Bad Seeds 6.4.17

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The Endangered Wolf Center was founded by naturalist Marlin Perkins to protect a species that was quickly going extinct. Located right outside St. Louis, the Wolf Center allows camping with one particular attraction—campers can walk to the wolf habitat area and howl at the wolves, and the wolves almost always howl back. 

Set in the clean, well-kept areas outside of St. Louis, Babler State Park features walking trails, fire circles, a paved bicycle trail, riding trails, and playgrounds. With easy-to-use parking slabs, clean toilets and showers, plenty of shade, and quick access to the city, it’s an ideal place for a family vacation. 

Perfect summer night for camping!! #justanotherdayinparadise

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The Mastodon State Historic Site is part park, part campground, and part archeological dig. Families can hike along multiple trails, and one of those trails leads directly to the Kimmswick Bone Bed, where it was first discovered that mastodons and humans shared the planet at the same time. Campers can also go to the interactive museum, the playgrounds, or the wildflower garden. 

St. Joe is one of the few parks in the system that has absolutely everything—including ATV trails, horseback riding trails, hiking trails, biking trails, swimming, and playgrounds. It’s near local attractions, including local wineries, but there’s enough to do at the park to make it a destination all on its own. 

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5 Awesome RV Campsites in Missouri Whether you are out for a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, an RV allows you the chance to take a road trip without the hotel. However, you still need a place to park for the night with hookups for electricity and water. If you are traveling in Missouri, there are several parks and campsites that cater to RVs and even provide other amenities that can make your stay even better. Here are some awesome places to stay when traveling through the state. 

Located just outside of St. Louis, Pin Oak Creek RV Park has what you are looking for. This site has full hook-up for all your needs, plus premium sites with bigger areas to enjoy picnic tables and larger fire pits. Along with their campsite, this park has a camp store, DVD rentals, an on-site laundry room, and clean restrooms with showers for guests to use. If you are looking for entertainment, you can either travel about 30 minutes from camp and explore St. Louis or you can stay on site and enjoy activities hosted by the park. Whether you are looking for a place to stop and relax for a weekend or a place to sleep while passing through Missouri, check out this site for all your RV needs. For more information on rates and directions to the park, visit their website.

For a quiet and peaceful place to stay, try St. Peters’ 370 Lakeside Park with a 140-acre lake just minutes away from shopping and restaurants. With 50 full-service RV sites, this park has the space you will need for your stay. Plus, you will have access to picnic tables, fire rings, and free Wi-Fi to use. If you are looking for something to do, they have a 4.5-mile pedestrian/bike trail around the lake or you can take a boat out on the water during the day. The park offers watercraft and bicycles for rent to guests for a fee. You can also enjoy the St. Peters Rec-Plex that has an indoor pool, gym, and ice skating rink and only pay what residents do to use the facilities. Check out their website for more information on rates and directions to the park. 

Located right off I-35 in northern Missouri, Eagle Ridge RV Park is a great place to stop on your travels. Along with the needed hookups, the park offers an in-ground swimming pool to enjoy and hiking trails to explore during your stay. If you are looking for a place to fish, they even have a four-acre pond you can fish in, either on their dock or on a paddle boat. They are also pet friendly and have a plenty of open area for them to explore. Check out their website for more information on rates and directions. 

Offering visitors a scenic and tranquil getaway, Big Creek RV Park is a great spot to camp during your travels in Missouri. Located in the southeastern part of the state, this campsite has full hookups, free Wi-Fi, and even cable TV for those looking to keep up with their favorite sports team or TV show. If you want to get out and stretch your legs, the park offers walking trails and a creek for fishing. They also have a volleyball area, free use of outdoor games, and a playground for kids. If you are looking for other activities, you can take a float trip, go horseback riding, or even do some shopping less than an hour from the campsite. Visit their website for more information on their rates and the other attractions close to the park. 

Located just three miles north of St. Joseph, AOK Campground and RV Park provides guests with all the needed amenities and then some, with a pool and recreational areas to use. If you enjoy fishing, they have a fully-stocked lake on the campgrounds that guests can enjoy all throughout the day. For other activities, you can visit St. Joseph and explore the local museums, the Remington Nature Center, or take in a show at the Missouri Theater. The serene atmosphere and beauty of the park will give you the opportunity to relax on your next vacation through Missouri. Be sure to check out their website for more information on rates and directions to the campsite. 

klom/ Mon, 13 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Beautiful Scenic Hikes in Missouri If you are ready to explore the amazing scenery of Missouri, one of the best ways is to go hiking. Many of the state and local parks have trails that twist and turn through miles of woodlands, filled with wildlife and native vegetation. Take your camera and make sure to capture the beauty during your time in the wilderness of Missouri.  

At Wallace State Park, you will have the opportunity to take one of two main trails through the preserved woodlands. The trails can be taken separately or together for a three-mile hike that will take you around Lake Allaman and over deep ravines. Check out the small sand bars, fish and amphibians, woodland birds, and deer tracks as you enjoy your hike. These trails are maintained by the park system. However, you may experience downed vegetation, slippery surfaces, and occasional water over the trails. Visit the park website for more information.  

Zoli our foster slash rescue enjoys camping.

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Located by the Lake of the Ozarks, Ha Ha Tonka State Park has one of the most interesting collections of geological marvels in the state. You can see sinkholes, a huge natural bridge, caves, and sheer bluffs. If you like castles, there are turn-of-the-century stone castle ruins located within the park grounds that you can explore during your hike. Take the Turkey Pen Hollow Trail through the woodlands and open rocky glades of the park and enjoy the relaxing scenery on the 6.5-mile trail. If you want to camp in this park, there are several primitive sites to use. Visit the state park website for more information on camping and available amenities. 

PSA: it's the peak of fall make sure you don't miss it??

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With three types of trails to take, Table Rock State Park has a way for most people to enjoy a hike in these woodlands. The easiest path to take is the Table Rock Lakeshore Trail that is only 2.25 miles-long. This trail is paved and relatively flat, which is perfect for beginning hikers. The second path is the Chinquapin Trail and it is rated as a moderate trail. This natural surfaced route is approximately 1.5 miles-long and is flat for the most part. However, it gives hikers the chance to experience the woodlands and glades of the region. The most rugged trail is the White River Valley Trail that has an elevation that ranges from 710 to 1,200 feet above sea level and gives hikers a chance to test themselves with physically challenging obstacles and elevation changes along the trail. Every hiker will have the opportunity to take in the beauty of the scenery, including the great blue heron, roadrunners, and collared lizards.   

Couldn't get high enough on the hike the other day ????

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Located in Northwest Missouri, Mozingo Lake Recreation Park offers hikers of all skill levels the chance to explore the woodlands that surround the lake as well as the lake itself. There is a 1.3-mile paved walking trail for those just starting out or for those more experienced, you can try your hand at the over three-mile naturally designed trails on the east side of the lake. There is also nine miles of trails designed for both hiking and horseback riding. Either way you decide to hike in this park, you are bound to enjoy the beauty of the bright blue lake and crisp green forest area. 

With eight trails to choose from, Castlewood State Park will keep you busy for hours. The length of the trails varies from 1.5 miles to 6.5 miles-long. However, all the trails have spectacular views and terrain to enjoy along the way. Try the Al Forest Trail as it follows the original route of the Pacific Railroad until it reaches the Meramec River. If you are looking for a challenge, you can try the Chubb Trail that is 6.5 miles-long and travels through three parks. The terrain changes from hilly to flat, forested bottomland and back again. Watch out for a variety of wildlife on your hike and make sure to take pictures along the way to capture your experience in Castlewood State Park.  

Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away??

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LanaG/ Fri, 10 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Energizing Hikes in Missouri Sometimes, the regularly-traveled, easy trails don’t provide the exhilarating hike you’re seeking. If you’re looking to up the ante a bit and challenge your endurance, Missouri features some outstanding hikes that will really make you work up a sweat. Here are our favorite energizing hikes in the state. 

This is just one of the many great trails in Castlewood State Park near Ballwin, Missouri. Accessible via Chubb Trail, Castlewood Loop passes through old farmland, field, and forest. Because this trail is in a floodplain, hikers may experience sand and/or water at different spots along the path. A popular feature found on Castlewood Loop is Lincoln Beach, which was a popular swimming hole in the mid-1900s.

The 0.8-mile Bluestem Knoll Trail near Kaiser will give you a glimpse into Missouri history. The landscape in Miller County looked a lot different a few centuries ago before the first settlers arrived here. It takes an average of 35 minutes for visitors to hike the multi-terrain Bluestem Knoll Trail.

Chinquapin Trail, near Pickens, is a natural surface trail at Table Lake State Park that shares a section with Table Rock Lakeside Trail. Visitors to Chinquapin Trail are treated to scenic views of the Missouri Ozarks and native wildlife as they hike across a variety of terrain. In an effort to preserve the native wildflowers, visitors are asked to please not pick the flowers.

At nearly 13 miles, the multi-terrain Honey Run Trail is an energizing three-in-one trail in the Lake of the Ozarks State Park. Most visitors break this hike up into three sections: the three-mile Upland Flatland Section (two hours or more), the 4.25-mile North Loop (three hours or more), and the 2.5-mile South Loop (one hour or more). The trailhead for Honey Run Trail is located at McCubbins Drive.

This moderate, 1.5-mile hike is just one of the many popular trails at Johnson’s Shut-In State Park. Horseshoe Glade Trail takes visitors on an energizing hike through the wilderness of the East Fork Wild Area of the Park. A fraction of this trail is uphill and, after rain, hikers may see water covering the trail at certain parts.

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5 Great Hiking Trails in Missouri Discover Missouri’s magnificent wilderness by exploring one of the state’s many beautiful hiking trails. You can bring the kids along, too! Many hiking trails across the Show-Me State are easily accessible for small children and less-experienced hikers. From the Ozarks to beautiful bluffs, check out these five great hiking trails for families in Missouri! 

The Ozark Greenways are actually an award-winning network of multiple hiking, riding, and biking trails that span over 70 miles with multiple access points. Hikers can take short easy nature walks, or enter the network in a more rugged or isolated area. It’s a great way to spend some quality time in the scenic foothills of the Ozarks.

Hawn State Park is an exquisite park to explore, affording views of glistening streams and blooming with orchids. While there are several trails to take on, the Overlook Trail serves as a great, short trek for children. The trail is paved and only 300 feet in length—taking about 10 minutes to explore. But it’s a great primer to the park. When the little ones are ready for the next level, consider exploring the moderately-rated, 3.75-mile long White Oaks Trail. 

The Weldon Spring Conservation Area outside of St. Louis boasts four important trails, and two of them, including the Hamburg, are suitable for both hiking and biking. Of the four, only the Hamburg, which runs parallel to the Missouri River in places, is rated as an easy hike. At just six miles in length, this trek is ideal for your kiddos. 

The Pickle Springs Natural Area is not only a Missouri treasure, but has also been designated a National Natural Landmark. The Trail Through Time is a two-mile walk that leads through geological, botanical, and zoological areas, showcasing the development of this landscape over centuries, even millennia, of time. It’s an easy hike, but not necessarily a fast one—hikers frequently stop to look at all the trail’s features!

TRAIL THROUGH TIME This scenic trail at Pickle Springs Natural Area is a national, natural landmark that traverses geological wonders with rare plants and animals. You can walk or hike the two mile loop through sandstone rock formations and box canyons. The ridge tops overlook oak and short leaf pine forests. There is also a creek and waterfall. Watch out for mosses and lichens and seven species of ferns. The canyon walls provide a cool and moist climate from another era. This is a must see area and visitors are asked to stay on the trail to protect the rare species and formations found here. To find directions and learn more about Pickle Springs visit and search under Discover Nature/Find Places to Go in MO/Natural Areas #mdcdiscovernature #mdcarea #picklesprings #trailthroughtime peg@moconservation

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While there aren’t quite any “easy” trails at Cuivre River State Park, the Mossy Hill Trail is something everyone in the family can enjoy. The loop trail is designated as moderate, and is just under a mile in length. Explorers will walk through woodlands, with picturesque mosses, lichen, and wildflowers. Keep an eye on the little ones when you’re walking, as the area has roots that can be tripped over, some shifting rocks, and occasional slippery areas. 

crazystocker/ Wed, 08 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Exhilarating Jet Skiing Spots in Missouri There’s something so freeing about ripping across open water on the back of a jet ski. It doesn’t matter if you don’t own one yourself, or if you’ve never used one before, there are plenty of excellent places across Missouri to rent your ride and hit the waters for the very first time! These immaculate, sprawling lakes make up five of the most exhilarating jet skiing spots in Missouri!  

Jet skiers enjoy the water recreation offered by the beautiful Table Rock Lake. Nestled in one of America’s top tourist towns, Table Rock Lake is well-known as a popular spot for water sports. Table Rock State Park has long-served as one of Branson’s best attractions as well as a base camp for outdoor recreation. 

Lake of the Ozarks is one of Missouri’s largest lake destinations and a beautiful spot for an exhilarating jet ski ride. Not only will you enjoy jet skiing on this body of water, but you’ll also love the untouched natural beauty and solitude of the area, as well. Rent a Sea-Doo at Bombay Boat Rental right on the lake! 

Pomme de Terre Lake is located at the confluence of Lindley Creek and the Pomme de Terre River in southwest Missouri near Pittsburg. With two public swimming beaches as well as fantastic jet skiing waters, Pomme de Terre Lake is a perfect spot to cool off or to just laze the day away. Check out Nemo Marina for rentals, where you can ride on the weekends for four hours for $280. That’s a deal. 

This sprawling lake is nestled in the Salt River Hills of north-central Missouri, the largest in the area. Mark Twain Lake offers numerous opportunities to get away from the crowds, including some beautiful water for an exciting jet ski ride!

This popular Kansas City-area lake features not only one of the most popular swimming beaches in Jackson County but it’s also a great spot to jet ski. These sandy beaches are watched over by certified lifeguards and are located near a full-service marina that offers lakeside gasoline pumps, boat rentals, and much more.

Wollertz/ Tue, 07 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Great Paddleboarding Spots in Missouri Paddleboarding is an activity that blends surfing with kayaking and allows you to enjoy many types of waterways. If you are just starting out or looking for places to work on your skills, the scenic lakes of Missouri will make great spots to stop during your travels. Here are five great spots to dip your paddle in the water in Missouri.  

Take a ride on your board around any of the three lakes at Wakonda State Park and enjoy the view of the surrounding shorelines. You can easily make your way into the water from the 20,000-square-foot beach or use the boat launch area at the Wakonda or Agate Lakes. After your day out on water, you can relax in any of the two campgrounds that have basic, electric, and sewer/electric/water campsites. Check out their website for more information on directions and park hours. 

If you are looking for a place to improve your paddleboarding skills, then try Big Lake at Big Lake State Park. With its shallow waters, you can work on your balance and strength as you stand on your board. Enjoy watching the sunset as you make your way around the lake and keep your eyes open for all the amazing wildlife around the banks. If you want to stay at the park, there are basic and electric campsites available or try out one of their eight premium cabins. Visit their website for more information on park hours and how to reserve a campsite or cabin. 

Take a ride down the 4.5-mile long Peabody Lake water trail in Finger Lakes State Park with your paddleboard and enjoy the scenery of a once active mining area. Once filled with rich coal deposits, the waterways were created when the coal was removed and filled with water. You will be able to see high rock walls and the timberline of the surrounding forest as you make your way through the park. If you need a place to rest, the campground has basic and electric campsites that you can reserve during the season. For more information, check out their website. 

Located close to Mark Twain National Forest, Echo Bluff State Park is a beautiful and secluded area, with a perfect place to practice your paddleboarding skills. Sinking Creek is a tributary of the Current River and allows for a calm waterway for you to see the bluffs and the forest around the area. With campsites, a lodge, and cabins, you will be able to get some rest after you take a trip around the creek. Visit their website for more information for directions and reserving a place to stay. 

You will have plenty of opportunity to explore the waterways of Stockton State Park by paddleboard. One unique feature is the water trail that is decorated with limestone bluffs and wildlife, like bald eagles and beavers. You can stop off for lunch at one of the coves or check out an island on the way down the 6.65-mile trail. If you would like to stay in the park, you can reserve a campsite or rent a cabin for the weekend. For more information on directions and the park, check out their website. 

sergua/ Mon, 06 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Excellent Places for Beginners to Kayak in Missouri If you’re looking to hit the waters on a kayak with little experience, Missouri has plenty of calmer rivers and lakes suitable for novices. A rating system, created by the American Whitewater Organization, ranks waterways from 1-5 depending on the severity of the water’s current. The lower the number, the calmer the currents. In the state of Missouri, there are several places with easy waters. It’s also recommended to head out with a guide for your first time out, or take a safety course before your excursion. Here are five great places for kayakers to dip their paddle in the water for the first time! 

Sam A. Baker State Park is home to the Big Creek and St. Francis River. Each has its own beautiful scenery as you float down. With their Class 1 ranking, these two make a great place to try out new kayaking skills. Along with this, there are plenty of other great activities and amenities at the park so you can make a whole weekend out of it. 

Located just an hour outside of St. Louis, Missouri, Meramec State Park is home to the Meramec River. With a Class 1 ranking, the river offers first-time kayakers the chance to see the wonders of the state’s wild outdoors. Whether you have all day or all weekend, the campgrounds have you covered with cabins or places to camp under the stars.

The rope swing was still my favorite part 😏

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The Black River gives visitors the opportunity to access to an amazing trip down a Class 1-ranked river in the Southeast Missouri Ozarks. Take your kayak and enjoy the blue skies and the sounds of nature, while floating your cares away. If you are looking for a place to rest after a great day of kayaking, the Johnson’s Shut-In State Park offers campers the chance to rough it or try a cabin for the night.

float trip was fun 🛶

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The Current River, located inside the Current River State Park, will give kayakers the chance to see the ruggedness of the Ozark landscape while honing their paddling technique. The lush trees and clear waters will give you the sense of being far away from civilization, while being close to St. Louis, Missouri. Since the park does not offer campgrounds, there are lodges, bed and breakfast locations, and motels just 16 miles away in Eminence, Missouri.

About to go to my Trig class while its storming outside but all I really wanna be doing is paddling🚣🏽

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Roaring River is in the southwest Ozark hills, where outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the majestic scenery as they take the river through the park. The best stretch of the river is from the park to Highway 86 and is only 5.8 miles. This distance is great for a day trip for a new kayaker wanting to try out their new skills on a Class 1 ranked river. Once done, you can enjoy a stay at one of the rustic cabins or modern motel rooms located in the park. 

trek650/ Fri, 03 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Best Dirt Motorcycle Trails in Missouri The dirt biking scene in Missouri will provide thrill seekers with an adrenaline fix. Some of the trails are in state parks, while others are privately owned and operated by outdoor enthusiasts. If you have a taste for getting muddy and trying some cool tricks, check out these amazing places to take a ride through nature. 

South of Kansas City, Missouri, this dirt bike park is located on 315 acres with up to nine miles of tracks with loops and dirt for the racer ready to get muddy. With hair pin turns and hills to jump, this trail has something for everyone. They also play host to several motocross events including, the Missouri Vintage Motocross Series, the Best of the Midwest Series, and the Missouri State MX Championship. For more information on these events or getting out on the trail, visit their website or Facebook page. 

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Located in Lewis County, this park is filled with wild trails and unique scenery of Northeast Missouri. With 20 miles of trails, there is plenty of mud and dirt to get messy all day long. Through the 680 acres of land, you can drive through timber, fields, and mud bogs. The owner, Don Grimwood, is best known for using his construction background to create multiple bridges to make the trails better for riders. If you need a place to stay, he has also built cabins and added RV hookups to the park. After a hard day’s ride, you can enjoy a beach with hammocks on the property as well. 

About an hour south of St. Louis, St. Joe State Park is home to the second off-road trail in the state park system. With 54 miles of premium trails, this park is well-known for the sandflats and challenging trails in the woods. Enjoy driving through mud, dirt, and gravel as you take your bike through the lush woodlands. If you are planning on staying the weekend or longer, make a reservation for a spot at their campground for either basic or electric access areas. They also have family sites for those who need some extra room for everyone. 

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If you want to try this mile of track, you’ll have to travel to the southwest part of Missouri. Established in 1977, this area has exciting elevation changes, loops, and jumps for riders to enjoy. This track has areas for both older and younger rides to try out and host racing events during the season. They also offer shaded parking and bathrooms for their guests. For more information on when the track is open, check out their website and Facebook page. 

Located less than 15 miles away from Columbia, Missouri, this park provides an open riding area with wooden landscape, a number of lakes, and mounds created by coal mining back in the 1960s. The 5.25-mile trail runs through dirt, mud, rocks, and steep inclines that riders will want to be careful of as mother nature can cause some hazardous conditions as times. If you are looking for a place to camp for the night, the park has several basic and electrical campsites for guests to reserve.

Out having some fun at good old finger lakes today.

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7 Best Outdoor Festivals in Missouri In Missouri, there’s always a reason to celebrate the outdoor lifestyle. From fishing and hunting to watersports and hiking, wildlife viewing and extreme biking, there’s no shortage of outdoor interests that get you off the couch and into the sunshine. If you’re an avid outdoorsman, love the water, or just want to find a new favorite hobby, you won’t want to miss these seven amazing outdoor festivals in Missouri.

In partnership with Red Bull, Primal, and Springfield Brewing Company, this annual festival is all things mountain bikes. Spanning three days at Two Rivers Mountain Bike Park, thousands of mountain bikers from across the country convene for clinics, trail runs, bike races, campfires, and networking with fellow bikers. Happening over Labor Weekend, you can expect no shortage of amazing trails at this scenic Ozarks venue. 

As the world’s oldest balloon event, kids and adults alike can’t help but marvel at this masterful collection of hot air balloons. Entry to the event is free and includes a viewing of the balloons, the evening balloon glow, fireworks show, skydiving show, balloon race, and more. It’s a thrilling show, to say the least, and is guaranteed to give you a new perspective on what kind of fun you can have outside. This spectacular event is made possible thanks to KMOX NewsRadio 1120, Maryville University, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and Purina.

This festival calls for all those who love long bike rides, beer, music, and camping. From June 17 to June 23 find yourself riding through Missouri’s via the Historic Route 66. This cross-state festival starts in Joplin, and brings you the selected towns of Willard, Lebanon, Waynesville, Cuba, and Eureka, each housing campgrounds/hotels. After reaching your destination, there are an abundance of things to enjoy—live music, beer gardens, plenty of eateries, and many much more are all included in the plan. You won’t have worry about hauling around your bags as they will be transported via baggage shuttle by the staff. With sponsors such as Public House Brewing Company, St. James Winery and McIntyre Cider, you’ll be drinking well!

Grab your boat and head over to the Mighty Mississippi River for a two-day festival geared toward enthusiastic and experienced paddlers! There are 13 miles to paddle through, starting at the Trail of Tears portion and ending at Red Star Access. There is so much to enjoy and learn on the Mississippi River and its spectacular surrounding land. Bring your lunch and libations to have on the sandbar. Safety is the name of the game with this festival so a safety course the Friday before is required to participate.

Snow in June? You heard that right. You don’t have to wait until December to experience this mountain of snow at Jordan Valley Park in Springfield. Brought over from the Ice Park, this mound will provide you and your family with a day threaded with a hybrid of summer/snow related activities. Enjoy a snowman building contest, interactive art projects, games, a bounce house, and plenty more to be entertained with. Thanks to the Springfield Regional Arts Council partners this event is free to enjoy!

This hugely famous event is as lively as it gets. The whole month of October is filled with events surrounding this festival. However the official kick-off is the third Saturday of October, which includes a spectacular parade, a carnival, car and tractor shows, wine tasting, food vendors, live entertainment, and so much more. The amount of events going on seems never-ending, basketball tournaments, dachshund races, balls and pageants, World War I exhibits, quilting shows, there is something for everybody. This festival is so spirited thanks to Carthage Chamber of Commerce, Central Pet Care, Phillip Camerer Roofing, KMXL-KDMO Radio, and many more.

This annual event just wrapped up its 10th anniversary, and if you didn’t get to attend this year you’ll certainly want to join the fun in 2019. This festival is Missouri’s first bike-powered music and camping festival. Explore the famed Katy Trail as you travel from Columbia to Boonville and back again for a total of 75 miles on two wheels. The family-friendly ride takes you to various points along the way, including Les Bourgeois, Katyfish Katy’s, and Rocheport General Store and Cooper's Landing where you can enjoy food, music, and drinks. 

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5 Best Fishing Spots in Missouri Whether you’re looking to hook walleye and bass or reel in a big catfish, Missouri has a wealth of opportunities for anglers. The state’s vast lakes, reservoirs, and ponds provide the fisherman with a place to relax and wait for that big catch. Local anglers may not want to share where their treasured fishing spots are, but you can take our word for it. Here are the best fishing spots in the state. 

If you have your tackle and line ready to go, then visit this state park for the best fishing around. With bass, crappie, catfish, walleye, and muskie, the lake is filled with something for everyone. Fishing is allowed anywhere along the waterway or you can enjoy yourself at the fishing pier located in the Pittsburg area of the park. If you need some more bait or just a cool drink, stop by the park store. For extended stays, the park offers around 240 campsites that offer both basic and electrical with water sites.

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For those who enjoy nature, this spot allows for just that. With some bait and a chair, you can try your skills at catching a variety of fish including, bluegill, channel catfish, and largemouth bass. If one spot is not working for you, then there are several ponds and lakes to try in the area. When you are done for the day, there are several places to stay in Lee’s Summit or you can head up to Kansas City for more options.  

Forest Lake, located in Thousand Hills State Park, provides for a great spot for anglers of all ages. Here you have the chance to catch largemouth bass, walleye, channel catfish, and crappie. Don’t forget to bring plenty of bait as you enjoy hanging out with your best fishing buddy on the shore or out on the lake. If you are planning on staying the night, there are both basic and electric campsites to reserve. However, if you don’t want to camp, you can stay in one of the three hotels located just seven miles away in Kirksville, Missouri.  

Catfish Catcher!

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Fleming Park covers over 7,800 acres of recreational area and is home to Blue Springs Lake, Lake Jacomo and several different fishing ponds. With several different types of fish from flathead catfish to hybrid striped bass in this area, you have the chance to catch something during the day. Also, there is a fishing dock dedicated to those with disabilities, which allows everyone to enjoy this sport. Now, if you want to fish on the water, then you can launch from the boat dock. With the location of this park, there are no campsites available but there are many hotels and motels off site to accommodate everyone. 

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With a fish cleaning station, Lake Showme is set to let you come and try to catch some bass, sunfish, or even catfish. Located in Northeast Missouri, this lake has a boat ramp, restrooms, fishing docks and basic camp grounds for everyone to enjoy. Bring lunch and try to catch your dinner, while relaxing in the great outdoors. If you need a place to stay, besides the lake area, then you can find a hotel or motel in Memphis, Missouri located just four miles away. 

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SPOTLIGHT: Outback Archery of Joplin Wed, 10 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0600 A beginner’s guide: Ice fishing Vin T. Sparano, as excerpted from Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia: Camping, Fishing, Hunting, Boating, Wilderness Survival, First Aid



Ice fishing differs greatly from open-water fishing, and it is a demanding sport. It requires an understanding of and an ability to cope with winter weather, knowledge of the cold-weather habits of the fish, and the use of an unusual assortment of gear, most of it unique to ice fishing.

There are two basic ice-fishing methods: tip-up fishing and jigging. In general, tip-ups are usually used on larger fish—pike, pickerel, walleyes, trout, and such—that prefer bait and require the angler to play the waiting game. Jigging is usually preferred for smaller fish that tend to school up—bluegills, perch, crappies, and the like. But these are merely generalizations, not hard-and-fast rules. For example, jigging (sometimes called chugging) is often quite productive on big lake trout and salmon in the Great Lakes. 

Also called tilts, these come in various styles, but they all perform two basic functions: they hold a baited line leading from a revolving-type reel spool, and they signal the bite of a fish. The most common type of tip-up consists of three strips of wood, each about 18 inches long. Two are cross pieces that form an X as they span the hole. The third piece is an upright; at its bottom end is attached a simple line-holding spool, while the upper end holds the signaling device. The signal is usually a piece of very flexible spring steel with a red (some anglers prefer black) flag on the end. After the hook is baited and lowered to the desired depth, the steel arm is “cocked”—bent over and down and hooked onto a “trigger.” When a fish strikes, an arm on the revolving spool releases the steel arm and it flies erect.

In this type of tip-up, the reel is positioned underwater. In other variations, the reel is positioned above the ice. Each type has its advantages. The above-the-ice reel can be more sensitively adjusted for light-biting fish, but the line tends to freeze on the reel once it gets wet. The underwater reel largely eliminates the problem of freezing, but the fisherman must remove the tip-up from the hole before he can grab the line.

Baits for tip-up fishing are usually live. In general, it pays to match the size of the bait to the size of the fish you’re after. Baits range from tiny maggots (often called mousies) and grubs for panfish, to worms and small minnows for walleyes, and up to 6-inch baitfish for pike. 

As done by ice fishermen, jigging is simply a method of imparting an up-and-down movement to a lure or bait. Jigging can be—and is—done with any sort of line-holding rod or stick. 

Some jigging rods—more appropriately called sticks—are simply pieces of wood 18 inches or so long, with U-shaped notches in each end. The line—10-pound-test monofilament is very popular—is wound lengthwise onto the stick around the U-shaped notches and is paid out as needed. There are other types of jigging sticks of varying designs, and many ice anglers use standard spinning or spincast rods or the butt half of a fly rod. 

Rods made specially for ice jigging are simple affairs consisting of a fiberglass tip section that is 2 or 3 feet long seated in a short butt. The butt may have a simple revolving-spool reel or merely a pair of heavy-wire projections around which the line is wound. The tip section may have two to four guides, including the tip guide. The shortness of such a rod lets the user fish up close to the hole and have better control over the lure or bait at the end of his line. 

There are many and varied jigging lures and baits, but flashiness is built into most of them. Others produce best when “sweetened” with bait. Two popular jigging lures are: an ungainly looking critter with a heavy body shaped and painted to resemble a baitfish, a hook at each end and a treble hook in the middle of its underside, and a line-tie ring in the middle of its upper surface; and a long, slim, three- or four-sided, silvery model with a treble hook at one end and a line-tie ring at the other. 

Jigging methods vary with the fisherman and with the fish being sought. However, a productive way to fish many jigging lures, especially flashier types, is to twitch the lure slightly and then jerk it suddenly upward with a quick upward movement of the arm. The proper interval between jerks is learned with experience. 

Popular jigging baits include a single perch eye (either impaled on a small hook or used to sweeten a tiny hair or rubber-bodied ice fly), worms, grubs, maggots, insect larvae, minnows, and cut bait (pieces of skin or flesh that are cut from the tail or body of such fish as smelt and perch). 

Jiggers tend to move around more than tip-up fishermen, boring holes in different areas until they find a productive spot. 

Like most other forms of fishing, ice angling requires some auxiliary equipment. Most ice anglers prefer to keep such gear to a minimum, for they have to haul it with them wherever they go on the ice. 

If you’re going to fish through holes in the ice, you need something to make those holes. The ice auger is a popular tool for this job. Augers come in different designs. One has a long handle with a U-shaped bend at the top, and a rounded cutting blade at the bottom. The handle is turned much like that of a manual drill, and the blade cuts a round hole through the ice. Another type looks like a giant ice drill with sharp, widely spaced threads. It is used in the same way. Gasoline-powered ice drills are also available. 

Then there’s the ice spud or chisel. This is a heavy metal handle with a large, chisel-type blade at the bottom. The spud’s weight helps the angler punch down through the ice, but the user must shape the hole once he has broken through. 

An indispensable item of accessory gear is the ice skimmer, a ladle-type device that is used to keep the hole clear of ice chips and chunks and to skim ice. A heavy sinker will serve the same purpose. 

Many ice anglers like to use an attached spring clip. It is attached to the fishing line and used to determine the water depth—an important factor because in winter most game fish are found on or near the bottom. 

Winter is the time of year when ice fishermen venture out onto frozen waters. Most will have fun, but a few will get into trouble because they don’t know how to make sure that the ice is safe. The first rule is never take chances. There are two periods when accidents are likely to happen: early in the season when slush ice doesn’t freeze uniformly and late in the season when ice melts at an uneven rate. It takes prolonged periods of freezing to make ice safe. Here are some rules to remember: 

Be cautious of heavy snowfalls while ice is forming. Snow acts as an insulator. The result is a layer of slush and snow on top of treacherous ice. 

Clear, solid river ice is 15 percent weaker than clear lake ice. 

River ice is thinner midstream than near the banks. 

River mouths are dangerous because currents create pockets of unsafe ice. 

When walking with friends, stay 10 yards apart. 

Lakes that have a lot of springs will have weak spots of ice. 





About the author:

Vin T. Sparano is the author of Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia as well as three other guides for Rizzoli

He has been an outdoor editor and writer for more than fifty years. He is editor emeritus of Outdoor Life, and has written and edited more than fifteen books about the outdoors. In 2013, he was inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.

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