Merriam-Webster defines floating as “continually moving or changing position”. In the Ozarks floating is an art form, sometimes even a lifestyle, that involves canoes, kayaks, paddles, a river, and family and friends. People float from a location on the river downstream to another location on the river. The exact destinations on Pulaski County’s Big Piney or Gasconade Rivers that are chosen are not as important as the journey between the two points is- it is the in between that will have your family telling stories and sharing memories for years to come.
Pulaski County’s friendly outfitters can help plan family outings on our gentle and scenic rivers. They all offer float trips, fishing, and swimming. Some offer camping, cabins, and RV camping. Two unique camping options are Roubidoux Springs Campground & RV Park and Shundahai Campground. Roubidoux Springs Campground, a favorite with trout anglers, is on the banks of the Roubidoux River in Downtown Waynesville. A camp spot here is within walking distance of one of only seven certified Trail of Tears National Historic Trail sites in Missouri. Also within walking distance is antiquing, dining, nightlife, and shopping. Shundahai Campground offers TeePee camping, 17 acres to hike and explore, and 200 feet of beautiful Big Piney River riverfront. There are also plentiful hotel and lodging options in Saint Robert, complete with all the comforts of modern amenities.
Boiling Spring Campground (www.dixoncamping.com or 573.759.7294)- offers several float trip options. Their most popular floats range from 3 to 8 miles. For folks who keep track of how many Missouri rivers they have paddled, Boiling Spring Campground floats also offer the option to float portions of the Big Piney AND the Gasconade River in the same float trip. For the hardcore river rat they also offer overnight floats- even a “51 Mile Float” that will allow you to experience the majority of Pulaski County from the meandering Gasconade and her beautiful waters.
The Cave Restaurant & Resort (www.thecaverestaurantandresort.com or 573.765.4554)- overlooks, and floats, the beautiful Gasconade River. The Gasconade has been described as “a wonderful run, [with] steep bluffs, gorgeous cuts, hairpin turns and lazy eddies” in The Rivers of Missouri. The Cave’s float trips can be upgraded to include lunch from their world famous restaurant.
Gasconade Hills Resort (www.gasconadehills.com or 573.765.3044)- offers day trips on the Gasconade River ranging from 4 to 10 miles and overnight trips ranging from 13 to 21 miles. Route 66 enthusiast will get a kick out the 4 mile float that ends at the Hazelgreen 1924 Route 66 Bridge.
Lay Z Day Canoes & Camping (www.layzday.com or 573.336.8639)- offers floats trips ranging from 4 to 11 miles on the Big Piney River. The Big Piney is renowned as a fishing stream and the dramatic limestone bluffs are topped with the pine trees that lend the river its name. Lay Z Day Canoes & Camping also offers “Full Moon Floats” that will let you paddle your way downriver by the light of the moon.
Rich’s Last Resort (www.richslastresort.com or 573.435.6669)- offers 7 mile or 15 mile one day floats on the Big Piney River. If one day isn’t enough to curb your canoeing appetite you can also sign on with them for a 45 mile paddle.
Route 66 Canoe (www.rt66canoe.com or 573.336.2730)- is located on one of the oldest alignments of Route 66 in the country, actually predating Route 66, this gravel was once Route 14. Andy Shelden, the proprietor, has a family history that dates back to the early days of Route 66 in the same area that his guests enjoy today. Route 66 Canoe offers float trips on both the Big Piney and the Gasconade Rivers.
Wilderness Ridge Resort (www.wildernessridgeresort.com or 573.435.6767)- offers 7 mile or 15 mile floats on the Big Piney River. They also offer two day floats from either Slabtown or Mason Bridge.
Devils Elbow River Safari (573.336.7979) and RichCo River Services (573.435.6669) can also outfit your family for a float on the Big Piney River.
Pulaski County, Missouri’s outfitters have canoes, kayaks, rafts, inner tubes, and even jon boats available for your river excursion. Check with the outfitter for specifics and details.
Many of our outfitters also offer put in/pull out access for those who have their own canoes. Some offer shuttle service for privately owned craft. Missouri Department of Conservation’s revised “Paddlers Guide To Missouri” is a resource for planning your independent float in Pulaski County.
For more information about lodging, dining and things to see and do in Pulaski County USA visit http://www.pulaskicountyusa.com or call 877-858-8687 to order your complimentary Visitors Guide.