Rural Missouri - September 2020 - 38

RM | OUTDOORS

THE CURRENT
RIVER CHALLENGE
Floating 4 serene miles of the Current River can be your introduction to the Current River Challenge, or a well-earned break after an 8-mile trek
on the Ozark Trail through the Ozark National Scenic Riverways along with Echo Bluff and Current River state parks.

One River. One Trail. Three Great Parks.
by Zach Smith | zsmith@ruralmissouri.coop
photos by Jim McCarty & Zach Smith

order, at any time. A map can be picked up at the Round
Spring ranger station or Echo Bluff. Just stamp it at each
stop in order to collect your decal at trail's end.
The 12-mile trip can be completed in a single day, but
f you're looking for an autumn outdoor adventure in the
save the speed records for a second attempt. Otherwise
Ozarks, there are lots of possibilities. At the top of the
you might be missing the best of what one of Missouri's
list are two old favorites: a relaxing float with a fishing
national parks, two state parks and the Ozark Trail have
pole and a walk in the woods amid the changing leaves.
to offer. The hiking portion follows 8 miles of the Upper
And if you just can't decide between the two, that's OK.
Current Section of the Ozark Trail, meandering upriver
You don't have to, if you're willing to try the
Current River Challenge. It's a great way to
through lush wooded hollows. On the float downstream, paddlers pass a spring, an old homesite, Merput your outdoor skills to the test and experiritt Rock and Cave and the confluence at Sinking
ence the best of the Ozarks across three parks
Creek where you can stand in each stream and feel
in one public lands package.
the temperature difference.
"Whether your interests lie in the natural
Whether you're a newcomer to the parks or
resource, the history of the Ozarks or simply
trying the challenge for the first time, it's a good
outdoor recreation, the challenge offers someRound Spring
idea to be prepared, research the trail and to let
thing for almost all users," says Dena Matteson,
someone know your plans including when you
chief of interpretation, planning and partnerships
expect to finish the trip. Check in with park staff
for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. "And it
for tips on that park's specific leg of the challenge or any
doesn't have to be a one-day push."
changes to trail, river or weather conditions.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is simple:
"We want them to have that first-person interaction
Hike from Round Spring in the Ozark National Scenic
with the parks and the challenge so they can be successful
Riverways to Echo Bluff State Park and on to Current
at whatever pace is best," Dena says of would-be Current
River State Park before paddling back downriver to Round
River challengers. "And we want them to think about the
Spring. The journey's three parts can be completed in any

I

38

RURAL MISSOURI | SEPTEMBER 2020



Rural Missouri - September 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - September 2020

Contents
Rural Missouri - September 2020 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - September 2020 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - September 2020 - Contents
Rural Missouri - September 2020 - 4
Rural Missouri - September 2020 - 5
Rural Missouri - September 2020 - 6
Rural Missouri - September 2020 - 7
Rural Missouri - September 2020 - 8
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Rural Missouri - September 2020 - 38
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Rural Missouri - September 2020 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - September 2020 - Cover4
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