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Better Than a 10
Thomasville). Greer Spring, about a
one-mile hike up the outlet, ranks as
the second largest in Missouri with
Where to find clear spring water, abundant wildlife, and fascinating
an outflow of 222 million gallons of
water a day. The deep, aqua-blue dis-
side hikes year-round on Missouri’s Eleven Point River.
charge more than doubles the volume
of the Eleven Point, ensuring ample
water for canoeing even in the dry
the Ozarks of south-central Missouri, Nighttime provides some of the
the Eleven Point offers some of best times on the Eleven Point. Float
the finest river running and canoe camps (equipped with table, latrine,
camping in the Midwest. With clear tent pad, and fire ring) are staggered
water, forested banks, rocky bluffs, and along the river. Stop f or a night at
countless springs, this National Wild Whites Creek Float Camp, on river left
and Scenic River snakes through a about 12 miles from Greer. There you
tunnel of sycamore and birch on a can pick up foot trails through the
meandering 44-mile course through Irish Wilderness and explore nearby
the Mark Twain National Forest. Whites Creek Cave, a 1,600-foot-deep
Launching at Highway 99 near cavern full of wild formations (and
Thomasville, where the Eleven Point bats after mid-September, at which
is barely more than a small stream, time it’s closed). But if you prefer to
it gains width and depth as it pro- “rough it,” like many people do, feel
ceeds southeast. Springs issuing from
O free to pitch your tent on one of the
dolomite bluffs or rushing up from

gravel bars or on wooded riverbanks.
vast underground systems feed the
river with a continuous source of
water. Plan on three to four days of the river abound in wildlife, every- Civil War-era grist mills, old moon-
easy floating to reach the Highway thing from whitetail deer and beaver shiner stills, and boom holes where WHERE: The Eleven Point is a 200-mile
142 bridge take-out; though with to mink, bobcat, and coyote. Pileated logs were taken from the river and drive (4 hours) from St. Louis or a 500-
several access points, you can also take woodpeckers, kingfishers, red-shoul- loaded onto rail cars during the mile drive (9 hours) from Chicago.
shorter trips. dered hawks, great blue herons, and Ozark lumber rush between 1890
No matter how long you take, wild turkeys are a few of the more and 1910. Pick up a free, interpretive PRIME TIME: You can run the river
you’ll be immersed in nature at its common bird species an eagle-eyed brochure from the U.S. Forest Service. year-round. Early summer is most
best. The hills and hollows abutting boater might observe. One of the best sections for everyone’s favorite season when the
For something different, stretching your legs lies in the section water is still high and the afternoon
consider taking a dive mask and from Cane Bluff to Greer Crossing sun is warm. Avoid summer crowds
snorkel during summer canoe (miles 9 through 16 from the put-in). by visiting in spring and fall.
floats when the spring-fed river Several towering bluffs, rising as high
warms up a bit. You’ll usually find as 250 sheer feet directly over the DIFFICULTY: Easy for canoeists of inter-
underwater visibility excellent, river, mark this stretch. At the top of mediate skill. The water is generally
and in the deep pools you’ll see the bluffs, hikers find commanding smooth, though it can be fast flowing
a variety of fish, including large and lofty views. with twists, turns, and occasional
carp. However, if you would rather More than 30 natural springs logjams.
catch fish than watch them, you supply the Eleven Point with a con-
might want to know that the tinuous store of clear, chilled water. CONTACT: Mark Twain National
more common game fish include Many of them issue from limestone Forest, 573-996-2153;
rock bass, smallmouth bass, formations, where you’ll find numer- forests/marktwain. Ask for a complete
D walleye, and trout. ous caves and sinkholes. You won’t list of canoe-rental and shuttle-service
The Eleven Point valley also have any trouble finding Greer concessionaires authorized to operate

offers a fascinating human history. Spring Branch, a watercress-laden on the Eleven Point. A free brochure
Along the river, you’ll encounter tributary located at mile 16 (from is available with a river map. ¿
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