The Mark Twain National Forest is seen as a symbol of pride for the state of Missouri. The forest covers parts of Central and Southern Missouri. It covers about 1.5 million acres within the famous Ozark Highlands.
The forest is home to many oak and pine trees that combine with the grasslands to form an expansive savanna and woodlands scenery. It is full of springs that feed rivers throughout the year. An estimated 3000 springs are scattered across Mark Twain National Forest.
Perhaps the most iconic of the springs is the Greer Spring which attracts admirers from all over the world. In addition to springs, there are lakes and rivers which add to this beautiful landscape.
This serene environment is home to over 700 animal and bird species. The birds include eagles, roadrunners, and ducks. The animals include deer and black bears. Most people choose to tour Mark Twain via the roads. However, the wise ones choose to kayak on the many rivers that run through the forest.
Best Places To Kayak In The Mark Twain National Forest
You are allowed to kayak on most of the rivers In the Mark Twain National Forest. The one place that stands out is the Eleven Point National Scenic River.
This river presents 44 miles of scenic kayaking across the forest. It meanders across the forest providing scenic views of both the scenery and the wildlife. It starts as a small stream but it gradually gains speed and volume as you paddle downstream.
The rapids on the river are mainly of class I and II difficulty. You do not need a lot of skill and experience to navigate the rapids on this river. It is a great place to have fun with friends and family as you enjoy the scenery.
You can also choose to Kayak on the North Fork River. It is also littered with beautiful scenery and class I and II rapids. You are guaranteed to have a lot of fun on this river too.
Mark Twain National Forest is open for kayaking all year round. However, the best time to kayak is during spring and summer when the water is warmer. The scenery is at its best during autumn but the temperatures might be a bit low.
The Best Kayak To Use
The rivers of the Mark Twain National Forest are not difficult to navigate. A small agile kayak will do just fine and you will have a lot of fun. You can also try an inflatable kayak which is easier to carry.
Possible Dangers Of Kayaking At The Mark Twain National Forest
The climate at Mark Twain National Forest makes it a haven for annoying and dangerous insects. The most dangerous insect in the forest is the mosquito. Mosquitoes spread various diseases such as malaria and yellow fever.
You should wear insect repellent when kayaking in this forest. If you can, try to wear long-sleeved clothes to reduce the amount of skin that you have exposed.
Another insect that you should look at for is the yellow jacket wasp. Its sting is painful and it might cause an allergic reaction. However, yellow jackets only attack when provoked. Try to stay clear of their nests.
In addition, do not stray to close to the animals that you spot. They might see you as a threat and they might attack you. Paddling in this forest will bring many hours of enjoyment. Don’t forget your personal floating device, navigation material and water. Happy paddling!