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Roaring River State Park
Known for its trout fishing, Roaring River State Park is a beautiful place to spend the weekend away, fishing on the river with the beautiful Ozark scenary and woods all around you. The river is stock daily from the hatchery at the head of the river, located in the park. If you want to take a break from fishing, the park has seven different trails to hike, with varying lengths and difficulties.
Where is Roaring River State Park?
Roaring River State Park is located in Cassville, in southern Missouri, about an hour and a half south-east of Joplin, MO. From Joplin, take I-44 East and exit onto 44 South. Then take 37 South until you get to Cassville. Exit 37 in Cassville onto 112 South. The park will be about a ten minute drive from Cassville.
Roaring River is in the Ozark hills, with deep and narrow valleys and mountainous terrain.
Note that Roaring River State Park is prone to flooding, so especially in the spring, check the weather and the parks website, or call the park before your trip. Sometimes the park is closed, but more frequently, they will close individual campsites.
At Roaring River State Park, there are three campgrounds. Across these campgrounds, there are 41 basic campsites, 126 electric, and 10 accessible. Each campground has bathrooms and showers, which are open seasonally, from February 25 through October 31. Campground one has a public swimming pool, and is open year-round, but only reservable during the season. Campgrounds two and three are only open seasonally. Campground one is located closer to the park entrance, visitor center and inn. Campgrounds two and three are located by Roaring River, each on opposite sides of the river.
If you want to enjoy the outdoors, fishing and hiking, but you want a cozy bed to go back to at the end of the day, consider staying in the Emory Melton Inn. This inn is located inside the park, just across the street from the park office and in between Campgrounds One and Two. The rooms are decorated with rustic decor, and a few of them offer a private balcony. Duplex rooms and motel rooms are also available, as are canine friendly rooms.
Roaring River State Park has seven trails to hike, ranging from a quarter mile to four miles long.
Deer Leap Trail
Deer Leap Trail is a short, quarter mile trail that takes you to a boardwalk that overlooks the fish hatchery and the spring that feeds Roaring River. A connector connects this thrail to Fire Tower Trail.
Devil’s Kitchen Trail
Located between the park office and the fish hatchery, Devil’s Kitchen Trail takes you on a mile and a half trail to “Devil’s Kitchen,” a rock outcrop that is shaped like a covered room, with walls on three sides. The room has collapsed, but according to legends, it was used as a hideout for guerillas during the Civil War.
Eagle’s Nest Trail
Eagle’s Nest Trail starts out at Campground Two, but can also be accessed from Campground Three via a service road bridge. Eagle’s Nest Trail is about three miles long, and takes you quite a ways along the Roaring River, before looping around one of the tallest points in the park. It is named for the bald eagles that nest in the park over the winter.
Fire Tower Trail
The Fire Tower Trail is a four mile long, rugged trail that starts at Campground Three and loops through the northeast part of the park, designated as the Roaring River Hills Wild Area, with rugged Ozark hills terrain and dense woodlands. A connector connects Deer Leap Trail to this trail. The trail takes you by the old lookout tower, built in the 1930s for park personel to keep watch for wildfires.
Pibern Trail is a one mile trail that starts by the park office and loops through the woods in the northwest area of the park. The trail takes you by a small stream and some Ozark bluffs, and ends at the opposite side of Campground One.
The River Trail is a short, three-quarter mile, trail on the east side of Roaring River that connects the lodge with Campground Three.
South of the Inn, there is a short, half-mile trail called the Springhouse Trail. This trail loops around the remains of a springhouse, which was basically a refridgerator, using the cool temperature of the spring and rocks to keep food from spoiling. The trail goes through dry woods, where you can see some pretty wildflowers.
Open 9 to 5 Wednesday through Sunday and closed Monday and Tuesday, except for opening week and closing week, when they are open all 7 days. The Nature Center contains displays about the park’s history, nature, and animals, and has a few live animals on display. It also has various books, guides, and souvenirs available for purchase.
Roaring River Fish Hatchery
Located inside Roaring River State Park, the Roaring River Fish Hatchery is located at the head of Roaring River, adjacent to the Roaring River Spring. The hatchery is managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, guided tours of the fish hatchery begin at 2pm daily. In May and September, the guided tours are given at 2pm on Saturday and Sunday. The hatchery has 40 raceways, where the trout are raised, an egg incubation building, and a display pool stocked with trout.
Stocked daily by the fish hatchery, Roaring River State Park is particularly known for its trout fishing. Trout fishing licenses and tags are available for purchase in the park store. Trout fishing in Roaring River is divided into three zones, with different rules in each zone. Zones are posted in the park along the river. Zone 1 allows artificial lures only. Zone 2 only allows flies, and part of zone 2 is designated catch and release only. Zone 3 allows for artificial lures, flies, and natural and scented baits. Trout fishing is permitted daily from March 1 through October 31, accoring to park and state rules and codes. The fishing day starts between 6:30am and 7:30am, and ends between 6pm and 8:30pm, depending on the month.