Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Programs title bar with the National Park Service arrowhead Parknet and arrowhead


Missouri Segments
Hector Santiago
National Park Service
Midwest Regional Office
601 Riverside Drive
Omaha, Nebraska 68102
(402) 661-1848
Photo of river in Missouri

River

County

Reach

Length (miles)

Year Listed/ Updated

Potential Classification

ORVs

Description

Other States

Beaver Creek

Douglas and Taney

Beginning at S24, T26N, R17W and ending at Bull Shoals Lake, S12, T23N, R19W

41

1995

R

S, R, F, W

The White River section is one of the most rugged portions of the Missouri Ozarks, with steep ridges and high bluffs towering 300-600' above major streams. The streams have high gradients, are generally very clear and are fed by numerous springs. Beaver Creek is one of the largest tributaries of the White River without low dams or significant sources of pollution and flows adjacent to the Hercules Glades Wilderness Area of the Mark Twain National Forest. It is of high quality and is popular for fly fishing (smallmouth bass) and canoeing. It is classified by Pflieger (1989) as a Small River with significant value as one of the best remaining examples of small river community in the Ozark-White Aquatic Division and supports several endemic fish (checkered madtom (state watch list), Ozark bass, yke darter, White River saddled darter, Ozark shiner (state status undetermined, federal C20, and dusky-stripe shiner) and crayfish. One great blue heron rookery with 14 active nests is located along the creek.

 

Big Piney River

Pulaski, Phelps, Texas

Gasconade River to Hwy 63, 1 mile NE of Cabool, MO.

63

1993

S

S, R, G, F, W

Rare darter and mussel species. Caves, springs, impressive limestone bluffs. Good recreational stream.

 

Big Sugar Creek

McDonald

From S35, T22N, R30W to S34, T22N, R32W at Pinevillle, joins Little Sugar Creek to form the Elk River.

24

1995

R

S, R, G, W

Unusually clear and popular for canoeing, camping, and fishing. The watershed is generally rugged and highly dissected, with bluffs, limestone glades, springs and caves being common. Mississippian limestone (Burlington-Keokuk Formation), underlain by Devonian Chattanooga shale, is exposed along Big Sugar Creek. Fowler's Tunnel, an L shaped natural tunnel 20' high and 120' long, is the only natural tunnel in Southwest Missouri. The creek passes along and through Big Sugar Creek State Park(MO Department of Natural Resources). Of note is a great blue heron Rookery. Draba Aprica(state watchlist plant) is found in one location along the creek. Big Sugar Creek is located in the Elk River Section of the Ozark-Neosho Aquatic Division(Pflieger, 1989) and is classified as Headwater and Creek. The purple lilliput mussel(state watchlist, federal C2) has been found.

 

Black River

Reynolds

Highway K to source (confluence of East and West Forks)

14

1982

 

S, R, G, W

Exceptionally clear water in rugged picturesque surroundings; on southern flank of St Francois Mountains which, with Appalachians, constitute oldest mountain formations in Nation; drainage cuts through Precambrian igneous rock; popular floating, fishing stream; Taum Sauk section of Ozark Trail crosses stream; two endangered mussels found in basin.

 

Bourbeuse River

Franklin, Crawford, Gasconade, Phelps

Noser Mill to Highway B

74

1982

 

S, R, F, W

High scenic value and heavy recreational use, including fishing; unique stream since, although an Ozark river, it does not have the typical Ozark river's fish fauna composition; endangered Indiana and gray bats in basin; rare/endangered mussels.

 

Bryant Creek

Douglas, Ozark

North Fork White River to Highway 14

40

1982

 

S, R, H

Bryant Creek Natural Area, springs; two historic mill sites, including operating grist mill; wide variety of high quality recreation opportunities, including floating.

 

Castor River

Bollinger, Wayne, and Madison

 

62

1995

S

S, R, G, F

The Castor River supports a diverse fish fauna, including at least six state-listed species(scaly sand darter(state watch list), flier(state watch list), American brook lamprey(state rare), pallid shiner(state extirpated), pug-nose minnow(state watch list), and eastern slim minnow(state rare)). Although the river has effectively been divided in two by channel diversion, this segment is one of the few unchannelized streams left in southeastern Missouri. (Below this segment, the old channel near County Road C below the headwater diversion in Bollinher County supports the most substantial population of taillight shiner {state endangered} left in Missouri). 1.2 miles of Castor River are rated as exceptional where it flows through the Amidon Memorial State Forest and is designated as the Castor River Shut-In Natural Area. Here the river alternates with pools, riffles, a shut-in and various waterfalls. It receives moderate to heavy use in the summer by swimmers and sunbathers.

 

Cedar Creek

Bonne, Callaway

Missouri River to Highway WW

29

1982/ 1993

S

S, R, G

Significant Ozark/prairie transition stream. Chimney rocks. Scenic seasonal float stream.

 

Cedar Creek

Boone, Callaway

Missouri River to Highway WW

36

1982

 

S, R, G

Significant Ozark/prairie transition stream; chimney rocks; scenic seasonal float stream.

 

Cedar Creek

Cedar, Dade

Sac River to Source

45

1982

 

S, R, F

Highly scenic Ozark/prairie transitional stream; unique fish species--spotted sucker.

 

Courtois Creek

Crawford, Washington

Huzzah Creek to Brazil

21

1982

 

S, R, W, H

Clear water and unspoiled valleys create pristine Ozark atmosphere; several identified potential natural areas; good fishing and recreation opportunities; caves; federally listed endangered Indiana and gray bats may be found in the area; historic Iron Furnace area.

 

Courtois Creek

Crawford, Washington

Huzzah Creek to Brazil, MO.

18

1982/ 1993

S

S, R, W, H

Clear water and unspoiled valleys create pristine Ozark atmosphere. Good fishing and recreation opportunities. Endangered Indiana and gray bats. Historic Iron Furnace area.

 

Cuivre River, West Fork

Montgomery, Lincoln

Cuivre River to County Highway AC

40

1982

 

S, R, F

Ozark/prairie habitat transition boundary; five potential natural areas along stream; northernmost site records for Ozark plant species; Ozarkian geological features; large, diverse transitional fishery rarely found in northern Missouri; high recreational use.

 

Current River

Dent, Shannon, Carter

Entire segment within Ozark National Scenic Riverways

100

1993

S

S, R, G, F, W, H, C

Large karst springs, the most of any river on Ozark plateau. Good water quality, many caves, and geologic features.

 

Elk River

McDonald

From Pineville formed by the junction of Big and Little Sugar Creeks, to the Missouri-Oklahoma state line; becomes Lake of the Cherokees in Oklahoma.

23

1995

R

S, R, F, W

Popular for canoeing and fishing; more isolated below the town of Noel. The watershed is generally rugged and highly dissected, with bluffs, limestone glades, springs and caves being common. Mississippian limestone (Burlington-Keokuk Formation), underlain by Devonian Chattanooga shale, is exposed along major drainages. The river has many point bars and 4 great blue heron rookeries. The Elk River is located in the Elk River Section of the Ozark-Neosho Aquatic Division(Pflieger, 1989) and is classified as a small river. The fish fauna of this division is the most distinctive of any of the major Ozark divisions. A number of species do not occur elsewhere in Missouri. However, many of the fish species unique to the Neosho Division are absent from the Elk River, not due to disturbance, but as a natural feature. The Southern brook lamprey(state rare) is found, as is the purple lilliput mussel(state watch list, federal C2).

 

Gasconade River

Gasconade, Osage, Maries, Phelps, Pulaski, LaClede, Wright

Missouri River to source

66

1993

S

S, R, G, F, W

Karst features, caves, rock bridges, sink holes, limestone bluffs, and many large springs. Rare darter and mussels, good floating, fishing stream.

 

Huzzah Creek

Crawford

Meramec River to Dillard

30

1982

 

S, R, W, H

Clear water and unspoiled valleys create pristine Ozark atmosphere; good fishing and recreation opportunities; caves; federally listed endangered Indiana and gray bats may be found in area; Scotia Iron Furnace Stack.

 

Huzzah Creek

Crawford

Meramec River to Dillard, MO.

28

1982/ 1993

S

S, R, W, H

Clear water and unspoiled valleys create pristine Ozark atmosphere. Good fishing and recreation opportunities. Caves. Endangered Indiana and gray bats. Scotia Iron Furnace Stack.

 

Indian Creek

Douglas and Howell

Beginning at S29, T27N, R10W and ending at S19, T26N, R11W, North Fork of the White River (located almost entirely within the Mark Twain National Forest)

18

1995

S, R

S, R, F, O

The White River section is one of the most rugged portions of the Missouri Ozarks, with steep ridges and high bluffs towering 300 to 600 feet above major streams. Indian Creek is a clear running Ozark headwater stream with a forested watershed of limited development in the Ozark White River Aquatic Division. It flows into the North Fork of the White River Section and supports several section endemic fish and crayfish. Indian Creek is listed as an Outstanding State Resource Water in Missouri (it passes through the Mark Twain National Forest for 17.5 miles) and is noted for its excellent water quality. A prairie fen is located nearby with populations of Filipendula rubra(state endangered plant) and Carex stricta var. strictior (state rare plant). Sullivantia sullivantii(state watch list, federal 3C) is found in 3 locations along Indian Creek.

 

Jacks Fork

Texas, Shannon

Entire segment within Ozark National Scenic Waterways

38

1993

W, S

S, R, G, F, W, H, C

Includes many federally threatened and endangered plant species. Vertical bluffs and karst features on river.

 

Little Black River

Butler and Ripley

From S36, T25N, R2E to S2, T21N, R3E, the Missouri-Arkansas state line.

48

1995

R

S, R, F, W, O

The surrounding topography is very deeply dissected, with numerous springs and streams with high gradients. This is a tremendously diverse region and one of the richest parts of the state for rare and unusual flora. Just southeast of the Little Black River drainage is the transition from Ozarks to Mississippi lowlands. The Little Black River contains numerous state listed sites for plants, mussels, and fish(the Harlequin Darter (state endangered), pugnose minnow (state watch list), Pallid shiner (state extirpated) and taillight shiner (state endangered)) and an unusual assemblage of fen complexes (deep muck, prairie, forested). The Little Black River is designated as a Missouri Outstanding State Water Resource where it flows through the Mudpuppy and as the only remaining habitat for the Curtis' pearly mussel (state endangered, federal endangered). It is located in the Ozark-Black River Aquatic Division and is the largest remaining essentially unchannelized, unregulated lowland stream left in Missouri. Butler County is in the process of being inventoried.

 

Little Niangua River

Camden, Dallas, and Hickory

From S20, T35N, R19W to S4, T38N, R18W, Lake of the Ozarks.

52

1995

R

R, F, W

One of the best fishing rivers in the state, with good diversity of fish species and high quality aquatic habitat. The Little Niangua River is classified by Pflieger(1989) as a Creek and Small River in the Ozark-Missouri Aquatic Division and is ranked as an outstanding aquatic community in Camden County and as significant in Hickory County. It is fed by many large springs and is critical habitat for the Niangua darter(federal threatened), which is endemic to this division and very sensitive to disturbance. Three of its tributaries (Starks, Cahoochie, and Thomas Creeks) also have Niangua darter populations. Three great blue heron rookeries and a medium population maternity cave for the federally endangered gray bat are additional features. It is noted for limited watershed development, excellent water quality, and diverse natural fauna.

 

Little Piney Creek

Phelps and Dent

From S21, T34N, R8W to S24, T37N, R10W, Gasconade River (substantially within Mark Twain National Forest boundaries)

36

1995

S, R

S, R, W, O

The Little Piney is spring fed, has good fly fishing, and its lower reaches are deep enough for canoeing. It is listed as an Outstanding State Resource Water in Missouri from its mouth to S21, T35N, R8W where it flows past the Mark Twain National Forest for 30 miles; and is noted for its limited watershed development, high quality, and diverse natural fauna, including one great blue heron rookery. The grotto salamander (state watch list) is found at Little Piney Spring. There is some gravel mining and introduced rainbow trout are stocked.

 

Little St. Francois River

Madison

From SUR3087, T33N, R7E Northwest of Fredericktown, to S24, T33N, R7E, St. Francois River.

18

1995

S

S, R, G

The terrain of the watershed is highly dissected with igneous knobs overlying sedimentary rock in the valley floors. Numerous "shut-ins", constricted valleys formed by water flow through very resistant igneous rock, characterize streams in the St. Francois Mountains. This river provides excellent white water canoeing. At least 15 miles are runnable below Highway 72 with adequate water. The lower end is one of the most beautiful small river white water runs in the state. It has one set of rapids, one shut-in, and several reddish porphyry bluffs. The Little St. Francois River is part of the Ozark-Southeast Aquatic Division. There is one great blue heron rookery and several narrow sandstone canyons in its headwaters in St. Francois County. Madison County is in the process of being inventoried in the Missouri Natural Features Inventory.

 

Locust Creek

Sullivan

End channelization (sec. 8, T61N, R20W) to Sec. 28, T64N, R20W

28

1982

 

S, F

Unique riffle-pool arrangement; one of last unchannelized, undisturbed landform features in northern Missouri exhibiting oxbow lakes; meanders; unimpeded flooding typical of natural prairie stream; one of best examples of aquatic community types in region; diverse fish types including unique stone cat.

 

Locust Creek

Linn, Chariton, Livingston

Grant River to U.S. Highway 36

17

1982

 

S, R, F, W, H

Locust Creek Natural Area represents last remnant landform types in northern Missouri of an active meandering river system and associated oxbow sloughs, swamps, and rich flood plain forests; one of last unchannelized, undisturbed landform features in northern Missouri; high recreation potential, especially in and near Pershing State Park; historic covered bridge; one of best examples of aquatic community types in region.

 

Marrowbone Creek

Daviess

Highway 13 to I-35

20

1982

 

S, F

Gravel substrate stream with riffle-pool arrangement; highly scenic limestone outcrops; unique fish types.

 

Meramec River

Franklin, Washington, Crawford, Phelps

Downstream boundary of Meramec State Park to Cook Station

80

1982

 

S, R, G, W, H

Scenic Vilander and Greene Bluffs; Greene Cave, one of most spectacular entrances in the State; probably greatest diversity of recreation activities and open green space of any river area in the State; popular floating stream; Ozark Trail route; Meramec Ironworks District; rare mussels; Onondaga Cave NNL.

 

Middle Fabius River and North Fork

Lewis, Knox, Scotland, Schuyler

North Fabius River to source

108

1982

 

S, F, W

Significant stand of bottomland timber; oxbow sloughs; seven identified potential natural areas; significant channel catfish and smallmouth bass fishery.

 

Mineral Fork

Washington

Big River to Highway F

14

1982

 

S, R, F, W

High quality recreation, including floating, with good accessibility; good smallmouth bass and long-ear sunfish fishery; federally listed endangered Indiana bat may be found in the area.

 

Niangua River

Dallas and Laclede

From S36, T35N, R18W, Bennet Spring Branch to the S2, T36N, R18W, Camden/Dallas County line.

32

1995

S, R

S, R, F, W

One of the best fishing streams in the state, it also passes through Bennett Spring State Park. The Niangua River is classified as a small river in the Ozark-Missouri Aquatic Division and is recognized as one of the best in the Osage River basin. It is designated as critical habitat for the Niangua darter (federal threatened), which is endemic to this division and very sensitive to disturbance. It also supports a substantial population of bluestripe darter (federal C2, state rare). Below Bennett Spring it is cold enough to support introduced trout. This segment of the river flows past a great blue heron rookery, 10 bluffs, 2 sloughs, a spring, a cave and a natural arch 3 feet in diameter.

 

Osage Fork of the Gasconde River

Webster and Laclede

From S26, T30N, R17W South of High Prairie, to S23, T35N, R14W.

76

1995

R

S, R, F, W, H, O

Good for canoeing, fishing, and camping on gravel bars. The Osage Fork winds past numerous springs and bluffs, 2 dolomite arches, and 6 caves (one historically used to produce saltpeter for gunpowder, one a shelter cave once used by Indians, another with gray bats (federal and state endangered)). The surrounding terrain is hilly and deeply dissected. The Osage Fork is important regionally and ranked as a significant headwater, creek and small river in the Ozark-Missouri Aquatic Division(Pflieger, 1989) and is a high quality stream from the standpoint of habitat quality and faunal diversity. There has been extensive clearing and grazing in the watershed. It winds past two great blue heron rookeries. In Webster County it supports the plains top minnow (federal C2, state status undetermined) and in Laclede and Webster Counties the least darter (state watch list), as well as a substantial population of bluestripe darter (federal C2, state rare). Two locations have substantial populations of lake cress (federal 3C, state status undetermined).

 

Shoal Creek

Newton, Barry

Spring River to Source

69

1982

 

S, R, F, W, H

One of two Ozarkian watersheds that extend into Kansas; bedrock substrate, waterfall; excellent canoeing; rare/endangered mussels (Missouri); rare/endangered salamanders, one species reported as only known occurrence in Northern Hemisphere; numerous mill and dam sites.

KS

South Fabius River

Knox

County Highway E to confluence of North and South Forks

28

1982

 

S, G, F

High scenic values, natural oxbow sloughs and bottomlands, two potential natural areas; high geologic values; significant channel catfish and smallmouth bass fishery.

 

Spring Creek

Douglas and Howell

From S24, T26N, R10W to S34, T25N, R11W (almost entirely within the Mark Twain National Forest boundaries)

17

1995

S

S, R, F, O

Ranked as an exceptional Ozark headwater stream and small river found in the Ozark-White River Aquatic Division. It is very clear running; its watershed is largely forested and of limited development. There have been minimal impacts to the creek for the past 50 years where it flows within the old Carman Springs Wildlife Refuge. Prohibition from fishing for the last 50 years has allowed an unusually mature fish population structure to develop. It is listed as a Missouri Outstanding State Resource Water for the 17 miles that pass through the Mark Twain National Forest and Carman Springs Natural Area. The riparian corridor of Spring Creek is an important component of the Carman Springs Natural Area. It is noted for its excellent water quality and diverse fish fauna. The Ozark bass and a crayfish (Orconectes neglectus chaenodactylus) occur and are endemic to the White River drainage. The lower reach includes introduced trout fishery. Two moist sandstone cliffs are adjacent to the creek; one with a 40 foot wet weather waterfall. Along these two cliffs are several state listed plants.

 

Spring River

Jasper, Lawrence

Highway 96 to Highway 44

53

1982

 

S, R, F, W

One of the two Ozarkian watersheds that extend into Kansas; narrow tree-covered corridor through gently rolling terrain; excellent canoeing; unique fish communities confined to drainage including two on Missouri rare/endangered list--Neosho madtom, redfin shiner; rare/endangered mussels (Missouri).

KS

Spring River and Warm Fork

Oregon, Howell (Randolph, Sharp, Fulton in AR)

From confluence with Black River near Black Rock upstream to headwaters near West Plains, MO

81

1982

 

S, R, G, F, W

See Spring River and Warm Fork, AR comments.

AR

Spring River, South Fork

Howell (Sharp, Fulton in AR)

From confluence with Spring River near Hardy upstream to headwaters south of South Fork, MO

75

1982

 

S, R, G, F, W

See Spring River, South Fork, AR comments.

AR

St. Francis River

Wayne, Madison, St. Francois

Lake Wappapello to Syenite

63

1982

 

S, R, G, W, H

Scenic forested lands and high quality water make this one of the most popular recreation areas in the State; drains St. Francois Mountains which, with Appalachians, constitute oldest mountain formation in Nation; 27 identified potential natural areas; best whitewater stream in State, a 'run' rather than 'float' due to boulder strewn course through granite shut-ins; attracts boaters from other states, site of national races; intersects two hiking trails; rare mussels; historic mining activity.

 

St. Francis River

Wayne, Madison, St. Francois

Lake Wappapello to Syenite, MO.

17

1982/ 1993

S

S, R, G, W, H

Scenic forested lands and high quality water. Best whitewater stream in state. Rare mussels. Historic mining activity.

 

Swan Creek

Christian and Taney

From S4, T26N, R18W to S15, T24N, R20W, Bull Shoals Lake.

32

1995

R

R, F, W

The White River section is one of the most rugged portions of the Missouri Ozarks. Swan Creek is popular for canoeing and kayaking and is a class 3 whitewater stream with two sets of rapids used by kayakers in the spring. The watershed is undeveloped and lies substantially within the Mark Twain National Forest. The creek is in a relatively remote area with little development, containing only a few low water crossings. Water quality is very high. Swan Creek is classified by Pflieger (1989) as an Ozark Creek found in the Ozark-White Division and is noted for its exceptional biotic diversity. Fisheries are characteristic of high quality Ozark streams and include smallmouth and rock bass. It is the only White River Section stream known to contain Southern brook lamprey(state rare). The little purple mussel (state endangered) was found in 1981. A past record exists for water sedge (Carex aquarilis var altior)(state endangered), but it has not been located since 1971. Swan Creek flows past one possibly abandoned great blue heron rookery and past Swan Bluff, an unusually well developed dolomite erosional overhang.

 

White River, North Fork

Ozark, Douglas, Texas

Norfolk Lake to source

30

1982/ 1993

R

S, R, G, F, W, H

Large springs, including Double Spring boiling up around large blocks of dolomite and sandstone. One of most heavily floated streams in State. Largest naturally reproducing rainbow trout population in MO.

 

White River, North Fork

Ozark, Douglas, Texas

Norfolk Lake to source

62

1982

 

S, R, G, F, W, H

Large springs, including double spring boiling up around large blocks of dolomite and sandstone creating constant flow of clear water and some of best whitewater in Missouri Ozarks; one of most heavily floated streams in State; good accessibility, USFS recreation areas; upper reach in Mark Twain National Forest retains wilderness character; largest naturally reproducing rainbow trout population in Missouri; rare/endangered mussels; old mills; paralleling hiking trail.