Hitchhikers Guide To Ingress In Pulaski County

Ingress agents love road trips! And Pulaski County is road trip country! Gather up your fellow agents and experience a day, or weekend, exploring legendary trails and roads, multiple eras of rich military history, and railroad boom towns.

It's happening all around you. They aren't coming. They're already here.

It’s happening all around you. They
aren’t coming. They’re already here.

Pulaski County is home to Fort Leonard Wood, Saint Robert, Waynesville, Crocker, Dixon, Richland, over 100 portals (gazillions awaiting approval), several missions, and #PortalGem worthy “Frog Rock”.

Pulaski County’s “can’t miss” portals include:

Devils Elbow Post Office– On the original alignment of Route 66 and also on the banks of the Big Piney River, this charming village’s current Post Office was built in 1954. Bring your camera and your appetite to this portal. The nearby 1923 Devils Elbow Bridge & the dramatic bluffs are very photogenic.

BEHIND THE SCANNER- You will also want to visit the Elbow Inn & BBQ, just across the bridge. This roadhouse has been serving delicious barbecue to hungry travelers since the 1930’s. Ask the barkeep about the day the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition models held a photo shoot here- and what they left behind!

GPS Coordinates: 37.846461, -92.061351

Devils Elbow Post Office is housed in Sheldens Market.

Devils Elbow Post Office is housed in Sheldens Market.

WWII Memorial– Also on Route 66, this Desert Storm era M-60 tank pays tribute to U.S. Veterans. Beginning in 1941, nearby Fort Leonard Wood has been the starting location of millions of U.S. Army careers and this tank honors them, and all members of the Armed Forces. This portal is a waypoint on the “Purple Heart City” mission.

BEHIND THE SCANNER- The tank is located in George M. Reed Roadside Park– the last roadside park remaining in Missouri on Route 66. Make your Route 66 experience authentic with a roadside picnic lunch in the park! Don’t have fixin’s for lunch with you? Many of Saint Robert’s dining establishments offer carryout.

GPS Coordinates: 37.821337, -92.147403

M-60 Tank at George M. Reed Roadside Park in Saint Robert, MO.

M-60 Tank at George M. Reed Roadside Park in Saint Robert, MO.

Frog Rock– Greeting motorists into Waynesville since 1996, Frog Rock (a/k/a W.H. Croaker) has quickly became a world famous Route 66 icon. The frog sculpture was chipped away, by tattoo artist Phil Nelson, from a leftover boulder after Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) widened Waynesville Hill. This portal is a waypoint on the “Finer Than A Frog’s Hair” mission.

BEHIND THE SCANNER- Frog Rock is celebrated every October in Waynesville during the popular “Frogtoberfest” festival. Frog Rock has also inspired a pub on the Square- Hoppers. Hoppers is well known for its selection of 66 beers on tap, casual fun atmosphere, and its tasty menu items- like the Jam Burger!

GPS Coordinates: 37.827002, -92.192381

Frog Rock in Waynesville is a #PortalGem. Photo by Cat Spencer.

Frog Rock in Waynesville is a #PortalGem. Photo by Cat Spencer.

Waynesville Fort– In the early days of the Civil War, Waynesville, the seat of Pulaski County, was overwhelmingly pro-secessionist, and its citizens flew the Stars and Bars to show their Confederate support. The flag was lowered shortly before Federal troops marched down Waynesville Hill, set up camp, and erected a small fort near a bluff overlooking the Roubidoux Spring. Colonel Sigel had been tasked to “Occupy Waynesville. Keep open the road from Rolla to the Gasconade and clear the surrounding country of Guerillas”. This post served as a Federal supply base on the route between Rolla and Lebanon, and as was common for all of the military posts in Missouri, probably held local civilian prisoners deemed disloyal. The 5th (formerly 13th) Cavalry, State Militia, used Fort Waynesville as its base of operations in the military District of Rolla, serving there from the spring of 1863 until the war ended. Today, visible traces of the fort have disappeared to the naked eye, but members of Pulaski County Historical Society erected a historical marker in 1970 to preserve the memory of Fort Waynesville. This portal is a waypoint on the “Take The Square” mission.

BEHIND THE SCANNER- Travel south on Dewitt Street and then west on Benton Street as it’s curve follows the bluff for sweeping panoramic views and a bird’s eye view of Roubidoux Spring in Laughlin Park. A short side trip to Laughlin Park will lead you to one of only seven designated sites on the National Trail of Tears Trail in Missouri. The site features interpretive signage about this tragic historical event.

GPS Coordinates: 37.82693, -92.200634

Fort Waynesville Historical Marker

Fort Waynesville Historical Marker

Old Stagecoach Stop– One of Pulaski County’s oldest buildings, the Old Stagecoach Stop on the Square in Waynesville was “built of logs in pioneer days, used as a stage coach stop and a tavern of rest for weary travelers westward bound. In 1862 the building was commandeered by the Union Forces and used as a hospital for the duration of the Civil War. After the war ended, it was remodeled and again served as a hotel for another half Century.”. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places during the early 1980’s. This portal is a waypoint on the “Finer Than A Frog’s Hair” mission.

BEHIND THE SCANNER- At the time of the NRHP nomination the Old Stagecoach Stop was in the advanced stages of neglect. In 1983 citizens incorporated the Old Stagecoach Stop Foundation for the express purpose of saving the building from demolition. Thanks to their success the building also now serves as a museum. You can visit the Old Stagecoach Stop Museum every Saturday April through September from 10 am until 4 pm. Admission is free, donations are accepted. Make sure to visit the nearby Route 66 Courthouse Museum also!

GPS Coordinates: 37.829205, -92.200511

Old Stagecoach Stop in Waynesville, MO. Photo by Terry Primas.

Old Stagecoach Stop in Waynesville, MO. Photo by Terry Primas.

Freedom Church– Located in Dixon, one of Pulaski County’s Frisco Railroad boom towns. At one point in time this rural community was home to 22 churches of various denominations. This portal is a waypoint on the “Dixon, MO Steeplechase” mission.

BEHIND THE SCANNER- Di Trapani’s Italian Bistro is a destination restaurant near Dixon that features mouth watering dishes and breathtaking views of Portuguese Point on the Gasconade River. Each September Dixon is home to ShrimpFestival and Cow Days- a multi day street festival that dates back to the Great Depression. Nearby Boiling Spring Campground is home to Mid-Missouri’s largest precision cut corn maze each Fall. Baseball fans should make the pilgrimage to Wally Schang’s final resting place in Dixon Cemetery.

GPS Coordinates: 37.991892, -92.095468

Play Ingress in Pulaski County!

Play Ingress in Pulaski County!

Frisco Caboose Monument– Crocker is also one of Pulaski County’s Frisco Railroad boom towns and the town has a deep appreciation of its railroading heritage. Prominently featured in Norma Lea’s Frisco Park, this bright red caboose is an eye catcher. This cupola caboose was built out of a boxcar in 1975 in Springfield, MO and was originally numbered #1418. It acquired it’s #11648 number via the Burlington Northern railroad company before it was retired. This portal is a waypoint on the “Crocker Fireball Run” mission.

BEHIND THE SCANNER- Crocker’s Frisco Caboose, and the nearby Frisco Depot Museum, are featured in Season 8 of Fireball Run. The museum is open by appointment and during the annual Railroad Days festival.

GPS Coordinates: 37.949155, -92.263543

Frisco Railroad Caboose in Crocker, MO

Frisco Railroad Caboose in Crocker, MO

Burlington Northern Caboose– Richland is Pulaski County’s western most railroad town and Burlington Northern Caboose #11339 has made its home in Shady Dell Park. This cupola caboose was built in 1951 as #1007 for Northern Pacific Railway. After Northern Pacific was merged into Burlington Northern in 1970 this caboose operated in Earlville, Illinois. An archived photograph by Chuck Zeiler documents this caboose in Clyde, Illinois during 1981. This portal is a waypoint on the “Richland- Frisco Boom Town” mission.

BEHIND THE SCANNER- The intersection of Pine and McClurg streets is a pristine example of a typical layout of a railroad town. Commercial buildings are located on each side of the tracks. On the southeast corner is H.E. Warren Store. This store was founded by Captain Henry Ernest Warren in 1869 and is still owned and operated by his descendants 146 years later. This store is believed to be one of the longest continually operating family stores in Missouri.

GPS Coordinates: 37.855957, -92.396692

Shady Dell Park in Richland is home to a Burlington Northern Caboose.

Shady Dell Park in Richland is home to a Burlington Northern Caboose.

Have you not chose your side yet? Learn more about Ingress game play: http://www.ingress.com

Order your free Pulaski County USA Visitors Guide & Driving Tours brochure at www.PulaskiCountyUSA.com

Order your free Pulaski County travel guides today! 877-858-8687

Order your free Pulaski County travel guides today! 877-858-8687

Hitchhikers Guide To Trails & Day Hikes- NSS 2015 Convention

Whether you are staying at Campground during National Speleological Society Convention 2015, or a nearby hotel, the area offers lots of opportunities to get up close and personal with Missouri’s rugged Ozark Mountains.

WAYNESVILLE WALKING TRAIL

The City of Waynesville’s Walking Trail could also be called a River Walk. This easy trail begins in Laughlin Park at Roubidoux Spring and follows the banks of the Roubidoux under the historic Route 66 Roubidoux Bridge into Waynesville City Park.

6.8 miles north from campground

BUSSMANN LODGE

A favorite with locals, geocachers, and hikers, Bussmann Lodge is located in the Mark Twain National Forest in Pulaski County near the village of Devils Elbow, off of Temporal Road. Constructed as a family getaway on the Big Piney River for the Bussmann family of Saint Louis, the ruins of the property are publicly accessible by floating, four wheel drive, or hiking down the neglected access road. Historic details of the lodge have been lost to time- but local legends of mobsters and moonshine are colorful and plentiful- making Bussmann Lodge Pulaski County’s hidden Ha Ha Tonka.

Google Map Coordinates-
Parking/Access Road- N 37 49.216 W 092 03.346
Lodge- N 37° 49.513 W 092° 04.408

16 miles east from campground

Conor Watkins at Bussmann Lodge Footbridge in Pulaski County, MO.

Conor Watkins at Bussmann Lodge Footbridge in Pulaski County, MO.

COLE CREEK TRAIL

Cole Creek Trail is primarily known as an equestrian trail although it is also open to hikers. The trail is comprised of two loops that equal 11 miles. The west loop is 4.9 miles long and the east loop is 5.3 miles. The connector is approximately one mile. The terrain is typical Ozark hill country and the trail is rated as moderate.

18 miles southwest from campground

COLEMAN MEMORIAL CONSERVATION AREA

Coleman Memorial Conservation Area, in Laclede County, is home to Small Sink and Canyon Sink, which is a large, natural sinkhole. Canyon Sink is being restored. The area is also home to an easy, interpretive 1.80 mile trail.

26 miles southwest from campground

KAINTUCK HOLLOW TRAIL

Kaintuck Hollow Trail, located in neighboring Phelps County, has 9 sections and 16 miles of looping trails that you can customize with lengths from one to fifteen miles. One of the systems most known features is Kaintuck Hollow Natural Tunnel, a 175 feet long tunnel, created when a cave system collapsed leaving part of the cave roof intact. Unfortunately, it is closed to public entry due to White Nosed Syndrome. Other natural features include Wilkins Spring Pond, Dewitt Pond, and the artesian well at Mill Creek Recreation Area.

27 miles east from campground

Wilkins Spring on Kaintuck Hollow Trail. Image by Conor Watkins.

Wilkins Spring on Kaintuck Hollow Trail. Image by Conor Watkins.

BIG PINEY TRAIL

Big Piney Trail is a 17 to 18 mile moderate to difficult trail through the Paddy Creek Wilderness. Signs and trail markings are sparse, there are no bridges across the creeks, and the trail may be rough. Terrain is sometimes steep. Due to wilderness and primitive conditions this hike requires preparation. Multiple trailheads.

30 miles southeast from campground

A scene along Big Piney Trail. Photo by Charlie Wilcox.

A scene along Big Piney Trail. Photo by Charlie Wilcox.

PADDY CREEK TRAIL

Paddy Creek Trail is a one mile loop trail beginning and ending at Paddy Creek Recreation Area which is nestled in a hollow along Paddy Creek.

31 miles southeast from campground

MARGUERITE BRAY CONSERVATION AREA

Marguerite Bray Conservation Area is located in neighboring Phelps County. Mrs. Bray donated 132 acres in 1995 in memory of her husband and their two sons. A scenic 2.5 mile loop hiking trail leads from the trail head west along the ridge top and returns along a wet weather creek bed. Although the trail is easy in most sections there are some areas of moderate difficulty, including a steep hill at the trail head. Along sections of the trail there are educational opportunities to learn about the plants and animals that inhabit the Bray Conservation Area. Marguerite Bray Conservation Area is home to an earthcache and Ingress portals/mission.

32 miles northeast from campground

PETER A. ECK CONSERVATION AREA

Peter A. Eck Conservation Area, 12 miles northwest of Licking, in neighboring Texas County can be reached by canoeing or kayaking the Big Piney River, or via dirt road with a high clearance vehicle. This area includes an exemplary old-growth pine stand. This area has also been designated as an “Important Bird Area” by Audubon Missouri. The Eck Trail is a moderate one mile trail and hiking is also permissible on old logging roads in the conservation area.

32 miles southeast from campground

BRAYS ACCESS

Located in neighboring Miller County, Brays Access is owned by Missouri Department of Conservation and offers 2+ miles of looping trails of forest and woodland habitats. Rock formations and a wet weather creek add variety to your hiking experience. These trails are moderately rugged and interpretive signs are posted. Brays Access is home to a geocache.

32 miles northeast from campground

CLIFTY CREEK CONSERVATION AREA

Located in neighboring Maries County, Clifty Creek is Missouri’s first designated natural area- deemed so in 1971. The area was described by G.C. Broadhead for Missouri Geological Survey in 1857. A very scenic 2.5 mile loop hiking trail leads from the conservation area parking lot to the natural bridge and back. Clifty Creek Natural Arch is an outstanding example of stream piracy. The arch spans approximately 40 feet and is 13 feet high in a picturesque setting.

33 miles northeast from campground

Under the arch at Clifty Creek. Photo by Greg Wacker.

Under the arch at Clifty Creek. Photo by Greg Wacker.

LAKE OF THE OZARKS STATE PARK

Nine hiking trails for you to explore. The shortest trail, Bluestem Knoll, is less than a mile long. The 12.75 mile Honey Run Trail is a favorite of endurance fans and mountain bikers. A portion (.60 mile one way) of Fawn’s Ridge Trail is wheelchair accessible. Hidden Springs Trail makes its way past a small family cemetery of yesteryear and Shady Ridge Trail offers stunning views of the lake.

33 miles northwest from campground

BENNETT SPRING STATE PARK

Bennett Spring State Park, located in neighboring Laclede County, is most famous for its premiere trout fishing. The park features six trails with Natural Tunnel Trail being a favorite for day hikers. Natural Tunnel Trail is a 7.5 mile, moderate hike that leads to Bennett Spring Natural Tunnel. The trails namesake and signature feature is 296 feet long and forms an S curve through the hill. For the tapohiles, or tombstone enthusiasts, this trail passes near a small, family cemetery that dates to the 1800’s. The other trails in Bennett Spring State Park range from .30 to 2.5 miles with difficulty ratings from easy to moderate. Some of the trails have roots in prehistoric times while many date to the 1840’s.

36 miles west from campground

Bennett Spring Natural Tunnel. Image courtesy of Missouri State Parks.

Bennett Spring Natural Tunnel. Image courtesy of Missouri State Parks.

CAMDENTON CONSERVATION SERVICE CENTER

Camdenton Conservation Service Center, in neighboring Camden County, features a mile long Forest and Savanna Trail that includes a paved, disabled accessible section. This location also houses a 100 foot tall fire tower with a publically accessible viewing platform at 80 feet.

40 miles northwest from campground

HA HA TONKA STATE PARK

Imposing architecture and breathtaking scenery combine to make Ha Ha Tonka State Park one of Missouri’s most treasured spots. Located on the Lake of the Ozarks, the park features the stone ruins of a turn-of-the-20th-century castle built by a prominent Kansas City businessman high atop a bluff. More than 15 miles of trails traverse the park, leading visitors to sinkholes, natural bridges, caves and down to the lake.

42 miles northwest from campground

Ha Ha Tonka Natural Bridge.

Ha Ha Tonka Natural Bridge.

ALICE AHART MANSFIELD CONSERVATION AREA

Alice Ahart Mansfield Conservation Area is located in neighboring Camden County and features a .75 mile loop trail through forest area.

44 miles northwest from campground

LARRY R. GALE ACCESS

Larry R. Gale Access is located in neighboring Camden County and is on the Niangua Arm of the Lake Of The Ozarks. This area includes a Forest Glade Trail, less than a mile in length, and rated as difficult.

45 miles northwest from campground

BLOSSOM ROCK TRAIL

Blossom Rock Trail is located in Lane Spring Recreation Area in neighboring Phelps County. This trail is a mile loop and near the top of the ridge is Blossom Rock. Blossom Rock is a sandstone formation that appears to blossom forth from the surrounding limestone. According to Geologic Wonders and Curiosities of Missouri this spot is “attractive for climbing and simulating Wild West ambushes.” While at Lane Spring Recreation Area you can also hike Cedar Bluff Trail.

45 miles east of campground

Blossom Rock in Phelps County. Photo by Laura Huffman.

Blossom Rock in Phelps County. Photo by Laura Huffman.

CEDAR BLUFF TRAIL

Cedar Bluff Trail is also located in Lane Spring Recreation Area in Phelps County. This trail is a mile and a half loop and is steep in some places. At the top is a rocky meadow, surrounded by cedar trees. At its highest point the trail offers scenic views of Little Piney Creek. Visibility may be limited by vegetation during the summer months.

45 miles east of campground

For more ideas on things to see and do in Pulaski County please visit http://www.PulaskiCountyUSA.com

For more ideas on things to see and do in Missouri check out The Hitchhikers Guide To Missouri and visit http://www.VisitMO.com

Register for National Speleological Society Convention 2015 at http://nss2015.caves.org/.

Hitchhiker's Guide To Missouri Caving

Hitchhikers Guide To Carroll Cave- NSS 2015 Convention

by Jeff Page (45699RL)
Carroll Cave Conservancy (CCC) Membership & Access Chair

On behalf the Carroll Cave Conservancy, I’d like to encourage one and all to come to this year’s convention in beautiful Pulaski County, Missouri. We look forward to making new friends and reconnecting with some old ones. In the February issue of NSS News, it was announced that Carroll Cave is the “crown jewel” of the convention. We couldn’t agree more and are eager to share this jewel with as many convention attendees as possible. In the guidebook, we’ll delve deeper into the rich history of the cave and current exploration efforts. For now, we’d like to make a brief introduction to CCC and the role we’ll play at convention.

Carroll Cave. Photo courtesy of Carroll Cave Conservancy.

Carroll Cave. Photo courtesy of Carroll Cave Conservancy.

Who we are: CCC is the brain child of Rick Hines (37511RE) who has several contributions to NSS News under his belt. Rick first explored Carroll in 1970, assisting pioneering cave photographer Andy Kramer and others on trips in the cave. It was not until the early 1990s that Rick was able to pursue his dream of exploring and photographing this incredible cave. But by that time, relations between the owners of the natural entrance and the caving community had gone sour and the entrance was off limits. Not to be deterred, Rick studied maps and introduced himself to area landowners, eventually securing a sinkhole on grazing land that looked to be a promising place to dig into the cave. Upon recruiting others who had a passion for Carroll, digging began in 1995 with the expectation of a new entrance in short order. But, as Rick puts it, “it was not to be. Due to safety concerns, the sinkhole dig was reluctantly abandoned after five years and over 1000 man-days of digging. A new approach was needed. In the interim, the conservancy was chartered. A vertical shaft through the solid rock was blasted during a nine month period beginning November 2000. Carroll had a new entrance. Carroll cavers had new life!

Over the ensuing years, CCC maintains an active membership roster of about 80 people, making us one of the larger caving groups in the state. We are not a Grotto, but draw members from Grottoes in Missouri and surrounding states. CCC does not own any land above the cave, but leases a one acre plot where we’ve dug our entrance. Membership is required to access Carroll through this entrance. During convention, we’ll waive membership requirements, but will ask all who enter to sign the landowner waiver (and we certainly won’t discourage anyone from joining). Our main mission is to manage and maintain this entrance, stay in the good graces of our landowner and secure the orderly exploration of this cave which has proven to be so elusive. In addition to the ongoing survey work, CCC conducts regular biology inventories, hydrology monitoring, restoration projects, photography trips and trips for landowners’ families and friends to enhance their appreciation of their natural resources. We’ve also conducted joint cave rescue training with local fire district personnel.

Research at Carroll Cave in central Missouri. Photo courtesy of Carroll Cave Conservancy.

Research at Carroll Cave in central Missouri. Photo courtesy of Carroll Cave Conservancy.

Carroll is home to a sizable maternal gray bat colony, along with solitary bats (Big Brown, Little Brown, Tri-color and more). The man-made entrance allows us to bypass their habitat at critical times when they would be disturbed by cavers coming through the natural entrance. Trips during Convention will be planned with the non-disturbance of bats in mind. We will, of course, observe WNS decontamination protocol for all cavers.

Carroll Cave is home to several types of bats. Photo courtesy of Carroll Cave Conservancy.

Carroll Cave is home to several types of bats. Photo courtesy of Carroll Cave Conservancy.

Carroll Cave is located about 25 miles from the convention site in neighboring Camden County. The cave is the second longest cave in Missouri and is a National Natural Landmark. We pledge to get as many as possible in the cave, without overburdening the highly sensitive environment. Some vertical gear will be needed- For the descent, standard rappel gear. For the ascent, we’ll climb a 120 foot ladder using a chest ascender for belay. No frog or rope walking necessary. Note: The ladder also has a steel cable running its length and we have some climbing devices for it. Some groups may use this system.

At the hatch of Carroll Cave. Photo courtesy of Carroll Cave Conservancy.

At the hatch of Carroll Cave. Photo courtesy of Carroll Cave Conservancy.

At the bottom of the ladder, climbing gear is stashed and it’s horizontal caving from then on. All groups should plan on getting wet, but with the possible exception of certain advanced trips, wet suits should not be necessary. Trips of varying levels of difficulty will be offered, all led by CCC members familiar with navigating the cave. The cave has three major trunk passages (Carroll River, Upper-Thunder and Lower Thunder River). The Back Door entrance comes into the cave near the intersection of these passages. Each day, trips will take different directions, lessening the impact on the cave. Every group should have the opportunity to visit Thunder Falls- Carroll Cave’s crown jewel. Other highlights that will be covered include Convention Hall, Conference Room, Flat Rock Falls, Carroll Passage, Angel Pool Passage, and the Rimstone Room.

Carroll Cave's Convention Hall. Photo courtesy of Carroll Cave Conservancy.

Carroll Cave’s Convention Hall. Photo courtesy of Carroll Cave Conservancy.

If you’ve been on the fence about attending convention this year, we hope this brief intro will help bring you around. Carroll Cave trips will be announced May 1st, along with the other cave trips being offered for pre-registration during 2015 convention. Hope to see you in July!

*For more details on the creation of Carroll Cave’s “Back Door” please visit www.cavediggers.com Issue 1.

You can reach Jeff Page at pagejk@yahoo.com

To register for NSS 2015 please visit http://nss2015.caves.org/.

NSS Convention 2015 Logo

Hitchhikers Guide To Missouri

There are so many things to see and do in Waynesville, and Pulaski County, Missouri during the 2015 National Speleological Society Convention! The scenic beauty and fun, interesting, historic, and quirky sites does not stop at the county line so we have compiled a list of 42 choices of places to visit during your stay in the Cave State.

Missouri was named “Best Trails State” by American Trails in 2013 and we have included plenty of places for hiking. Missouri’s State Parks have been recognized as one of the top four state park systems in the nation. The Show Caves in Missouri offer everything from unsolved mysteries (did Jesse James really hide an as-yet-to-be-found fortune in Meramec Caverns, in Stanton?) to a connection with literary figures such as Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn (in five of his books, Mark Twain wrote about the cave that now bears his name). Missouri is blessed with an abundance of springs. The Ozarks comprises one of the nation’s greatest concentrations of springs and we have included some of them in this list as well. This list will lead you to Missouri’s only dinosaur, the “Little Grand Canyon”, a salvaged shipwreck, and even a cold adult beverage.

Photo by The Missouri Mom.

Photo by The Missouri Mom.

As you travel across Missouri, some of the things that will strike you the most also relate to Waynesville & Pulaski County. Civil War sites are scattered across the state and Waynesville’s Old Stagecoach Stop served as a Union hospital during the War Between The States. Fort Wayne was located at the top of the town hill and overlooked the Wire Road, a military trail. Route 66 closely follows that trail. Trail of Tears State Park in Southeast Missouri pays tribute to the memories of the thousands of Cherokee Indians who died during that forced march- a march that included an overnight stay in what is now Laughlin Park in Waynesville. Laughlin Park is one of only seven sites on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail in Missouri. Laughlin Park is also home to Roubidoux Spring, one of the twenty largest springs in Missouri, and famous in the cave diving community. Downtown Waynesville is home to excellent trout fishing- just steps away from dining, entertainment, and shopping. Bloomfield celebrates America’s veterans every day in The Stars and Stripes Museum and Pulaski County is well known throughout the nation for its patriotism also. Home to Fort Leonard Wood, one of the largest training installations in the United States, missions here serve every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. Fort Leonard Wood is the only place in the U.S. with three Army branch museums in a single location.

The Old Stagecoach Stop in Waynesville, MO.

The Old Stagecoach Stop in Waynesville, MO.

Missouri is also known as the Show Me State and we hope that you are able to see and experience a variety of Missouri’s regions while you are here for National Speleological Society Convention in 2015!

National Speleological Society 2015 Convention logo.

National Speleological Society 2015 Convention logo.

1. Arcadia Valley Region-

Elephant Rocks State Park: The giant elephant-shaped boulders are the star at Elephant Rocks State Park. Hike the short distance to the Engine House Ruins, or follow the one mile Braille Trail. The first of its kind in Missouri state parks, the Braille Trail was designed especially for people with visual or physical disabilities. Bouldering, a form of rock climbing, is allowed year round at the park.
http://mostateparks.com/park/elephant-rocks-state-park
123 miles southeast from campground

Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park: is a jewel in the Missouri State Parks system. Shoot through Mother Nature’s hydraulics in the shut-ins, hike a trail with 1.4 billion years of geologic history, splash in the beautiful Black River.
http://mostateparks.com/park/johnsons-shut-ins-state-park
115 miles southeast from campground

Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park. Photo by Dan Feeherty.

Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park. Photo by Dan Feeherty.

Taum Sauk Mountain State Park: Mina Sauk Falls Trail is your route to two of Missouri’s most important geologic wonders- its highest point and its tallest waterfall. A short walk along a wheelchair-accessible trail leads to the top of Taum Sauk Mountain and the highest point in the state at 1,772 feet above sea level. Beyond this point, the trail becomes rocky and rugged and is not considered accessible to wheelchairs. The trail passes through oak-hickory woodlands that give way to rocky, open glades with expansive and impressive views of the St. Francois Mountains. The trail passes along the top of Mina Sauk Falls, the tallest waterfall in Missouri. Cascading 132 feet over a series of ledges into Taum Sauk Creek, this wet-weather waterfall flows best after a rain. A hike back up the mountain ends at the trailhead. This is a strenuous and challenging trail so be prepared for the rugged, rocky climb and carry plenty of water. Hikers may encounter water crossings in wet weather.
http://mostateparks.com/park/taum-sauk-mountain-state-park
137 miles southeast from campground

2. Round Spring Cave- Park Rangers conduct two hour lantern tours for the public of this beautiful natural cavern. These somewhat strenuous “underground hikes” are limited to the first 15 people. Tours are offered daily, at 10:00 and 2:00, during the summer months. Tickets are $5.00 for adults, $2.00 for children. Tickets go on sale 30 minutes before each tour and there are no reservations.
http://www.nps.gov/ozar/planyourvisit/round-spring-and-round-spring-cave.htm
91 miles southeast from campground

3. Fort Davidson State Historic Site- The Confederates under Gen. Sterling Price may have taken the fort, but Union efforts at Fort Davidson in the Battle of Pilot Knob were crucial to blunting the last Confederate offensive into Missouri. Fort Davidson State Historic Site preserves and interprets the running battle through the Arcadia Valley. The site’s open, grassy fields include the fort’s old earthworks, two Confederate burial trenches, and a visitor center with a narrated story of the battle and its context within the Civil War.
http://mostateparks.com/park/fort-davidson-state-historic-site
127 miles southeast from campground

4. Trail of Tears State Park- Gain a better understanding of one of the saddest chapters in American history at Trail of Tears State Park, where nine of the 13 Cherokee Indian groups being relocated to Oklahoma crossed the Mississippi River during harsh winter conditions in 1838 and 1839. The park’s visitor center tells the tale of the thousands who died on the forced march, as well as the park’s many natural features. The park also has a cheerier side: shaded picnic sites, hiking and horse trails, opportunities to fish in both the Mississippi River and Lake Boutin, and majestic views of the Mississippi River and beyond. Trail of Tears State Park is home to two outstanding trails:
http://mostateparks.com/park/trail-tears-state-park
202 miles southeast from campground

Lake Trail (2.25 miles)-
The picturesque Lake Trail winds along the shoreline of Lake Boutin and then loops around the basic campground, crossing valleys and ridges. Remnants of old homesteads may be seen with evidence of clearings, old roadbeds, a man-made pond and barbed wire fencing through trees. In some places, there is evidence of rows of tulip poplars that were planted by park staff in the 1960s in an effort to reforest old farm fields. A rare plant – the pennywort — may be found on the trail early in the spring. A short section of the Lake Boutin Campground road is used for the trail loop.

Sheppard Point Trail (3 miles)- Sheppard Point Trail is located on the southeast end of the park and features sharp ridges, steep ravines and a distinctive forest type with an Appalachian flavor. Trees such as American beech, cucumber magnolia and tulip poplars envelop the hollows and valleys while oaks and hickories line the ridges. The understory has a rich growth of ferns and a rare parasitic plant called beech drops has been found. The trail ascends to the top of a ridge and heads toward the Mississippi River. Steep inclines provide impressive views from the edges of the ridge. The trail drops off the ridge and loops down to a valley and back up a steep incline to Sheppard Point. This spot is on top of an impressive bluff overlooking the Mississippi River and is a great place to view eagles. The trail has rugged terrain and is steep in places.

Trail of Tears State Park. Photo by Ben Prepelka.

Trail of Tears State Park. Photo by Ben Prepelka.

5. Piney River Brewing Company- is dedicated to making distinctive craft beers that celebrate the Ozarks. Located in a 70+ year old barn near Bucyrus, MO, and named after the nearby Big Piney River, Piney River Brewing Company has earned some accolades. In April 2014 Float Trip Ale received a gold award at the World Beer Cup in the American wheat beer style. In October 2013 Old Tom Porter received a gold medal in the brown porter style at the Great American Beer Festival. If you are unable to venture to “The BARn at Brewcyrus” hop over to Hoppers in downtown Waynesville- they normally house two Piney River brews on tap.
http://pineyriverbrewing.com
48 miles southeast from campground

6. Rocky Falls- Few places in the Ozarks provide a glimpse of earth’s turbulent past as well as Rocky Falls. The reddish-brown rock you see here is rhyolite porphyry. It formed as molten rock deep within the earth and flowed onto the surface about 1.5 billion years ago. At the time, no living thing existed to see the awesome flow of glowing hot lava slowly advancing over the barren landscape. Normally, a stream eroding softer dolomite, a type of limestone, would make a wider valley for itself. Since the rhyolite is harder, the stream tends to stay within whatever cracks that it finds, deepening them only a little by erosion. Thus a “shut in” is formed where the harder rock has “shut in” the stream. Farther downstream, past the constricting rhyolite, the stream valley widens once again. This allows the stream to expand into a pool. Rocky Falls can be visited year round. It is located on Route NN, off of Route H east of Eminence and Winona. It has a walking trail, bathrooms, picnic tables and fire grills.
http://www.nps.gov/ozar/naturescience/rocky-falls.htm
105 miles southeast from campground

Rocky Falls by Duane K. Willis

Rocky Falls by Duane K. Willis

7. Mingo Swamp National Wildlife Refuge- About 25,000 years ago, the Mississippi River ran between the Ozark Mountains and a terrace called Crowley’s Ridge. Then, around 18,000 years ago, the river shifted, slicing its way through Crowley’s Ridge to join the Ohio River further north. The abandoned riverbed developed into a rich and fertile swamp. The refuge contains the only remaining large tract of bottomland forest of 15,000 acres (61 km2) from the original 2.5 million acres (10,000 km2) native to the bootheel of Missouri. Swampwalk Nature Trail, is a handicapped accessible boardwalk that meanders 0.8 miles through the bottomland hardwood forest. Observation decks at the Monopoly Overlook, Rockhouse Marsh, and Red Mill Drive, offer outstanding views of the Mingo Basin and its wildlife. There are also three auto tour routes available: Bluff Road, Red Mill Drive, and Ozark Highlands.
http://www.fws.gov/refuge/mingo/
198 miles southeast from campground

Mingo Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Fred Grayson.

Mingo Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Fred Grayson.

8. Bollinger County Museum of Natural History- Home to the Missouri Dinosaur, the first and only dinosaur ever discovered in Missouri! Other exhibits included feature Lewis & Clark and steamboats.
http://www.bcmnh.org/
179 miles southeast from campground

Image by Bollinger County Museum of Natural History.

Image by Bollinger County Museum of Natural History.

9. The Stars and Stripes Museum- Ask just about anyone who has ever served in the United States Armed Forces if they have ever read the Stars and Stripes newspaper and most of them will say yes. Especially someone who has served overseas. This worldwide and highly regarded publication traces its roots back to Bloomfield, MO during the Civil War when soldiers from Illinois regiments decided to make use of the empty Bloomfield printing office. The soldiers started printing a newspaper to report their activities and named their rag The Stars and Stripes.

When the idea of a museum of national stature was proposed to be located in Bloomfield, Missouri, many asked, “why Bloomfield?” Others suggested that such an important tribute to history should be located in our nation’s capitol, or perhaps in New York City. Certainly such an institution should not be located in a small, rural place such as Bloomfield. However, Bloomfield is the perfect place since it is the true and actual birthplace of the original military newspaper, The Stars and Stripes. The original newspaper was printed in Bloomfield, Missouri on November 9, 1861.
http://www.starsandstripesmuseumlibrary.org/
199 miles southeast from campground

10. Ste. Genevieve County- in southeast Missouri may be the state’s premier hiking destination.

Hawn State Park: home of the beuatiful Pickle Creek Trail, a short hike along a sand-bottom creek that winds between granite boulders sculpted by water, and Whispering Pines Trail, a 9.75 mile hike that highlights the park’s sandstone bluffs and stands of shortleaf pine.
http://mostateparks.com/park/hawn-state-park
138 miles east from campground

Pickle Springs Natural Area: a National Natural Landmark and home to the Trail through Time, a two mile loop trail through a pine-and-hardwood forest to outstanding rock formations, including a rare double arch. The cool, moist canyons are home to seven species of ferns and relict plants left behind by the glaciers.
http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places-go/natural-areas/pickle-springs
132 miles east from campground

The double arch at Pickle Springs Natural Area. Photo by Amateur Ramblers.

The double arch at Pickle Springs Natural Area. Photo by Amateur Ramblers.

Hickory Canyons Natural Area: is a hidden gem defined by sandstone cliffs and box canyons that drip from spring through fall and freeze into ice sculptures in winter. Two short hiking trails lead to the distinctive bluffs and canyons.
http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places-go/natural-areas/hickory-canyons
135 miles east from campground

11. Missouri Mines State Historic Site- Lead has been big business in the eastern Ozarks since about 1720. Come explore its history – and see the processing plant of the former St. Joe Lead Company – in the heart of the Old Lead Belt at Missouri Mines State Historic Site. The mine’s former powerhouse has been turned into a museum that interprets the area’s lead mining history, displays actual machinery from the mines and houses one of the Midwest’s finest mineral collections.
http://mostateparks.com/park/missouri-mines-state-historic-site
119 miles east from campground

12. Grand Gulf State Park- Some people call Grand Gulf State Park the “Little Grand Canyon.” Some just call it “breathtaking.” The park is one of the natural wonders of the Ozarks, presenting the most spectacular collapsed cave system in the Ozarks. The “Grand Gulf” stretches for more than a mile between 130 foot high walls. Visitors can view the gulf from trails on top or from the floor where they can walk under the natural bridge, which spans 250 feet with a 75-foot high opening. There is no official trail leading to the bottom so visitors should use extreme caution when attempting to access the bottom.
http://mostateparks.com/park/grand-gulf-state-park
120 miles south from campground

13. Current River Cavern- One of the prettier show caves in Missouri, Current River Cavern, formerly called “Big Spring Onyx Cavern,” is exceptionally well decorated with a wide variety of natural cave formations. Current River Cavern is the first commercial cave with absolutely no wires for lighting. The cave owners use remote controlled, battery powered LED lights that give off a restricted light spectrum and minimal heat so as not to disturb the cave life or promote algae growth which can damage formations.
http://www.cavespringpark.com/cave.html
123 miles south from campground

14. Smallin Civil War Cave- Visited by explorer Henry Rowe Schoolcraft in 1818. Smallin Cave was considered to be noteworthy enough that it was cited by major publications, including the 1923 National Geographic and 1948 issue of the Ecological Society of America. The town of Ozark was a centralized location of union activity during the civil war. There is strong evidence that Smallin Cave was used for war related activities.
http://www.smallincave.com
89 miles southwest from campground

Smallin Civil War Cave. Image by Springfield Missouri Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Smallin Civil War Cave. Image by Springfield Missouri Convention & Visitors Bureau.

15. Wilson Creek National Battlefield- Wilson’s Creek was the first major Civil War battle fought west of the Mississippi River, and the scene of the death of Nathaniel Lyon, the first Union general killed in combat. The bloody Southern victory on August 10, 1861, focused greater national attention on the war in Missouri. The nearly pristine landscape allows visitors to experience one of the best-preserved battlefields in the nation.
http://www.nps.gov/wicr/index.htm
93 miles southwest from campground

16. Talking Rocks Cavern- What was once considered perhaps a quick trip through an interesting cave, has evolved over the years into an experience that can easily be enjoyed for the better part of a day. Beyond the underground tour of Talking Rocks Cavern, guests can enjoy above ground fun as well. From lovely hiking trails and look-out tower to shaded picnic areas, visitors can relax, take their time and really soak in the beauty and nature of the Ozarks. Feeling like an adventurer, you can go gemstone mining and take your treasures home.
http://talkingrockscavern.com/
118 miles southwest from campground

Talking Rocks Cavern. Image by Springfield Missouri Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Talking Rocks Cavern. Image by Springfield Missouri Convention & Visitors Bureau.

17. Battle of Carthage State Historic Site- The Battle of Carthage was the earliest full-scale battle of the Civil War, preceding Bull Run by 11 days. Battle of Carthage State Historic Site contains a quiet meadow and the spring that made the area an encampment for both the Union and Confederate troops during the battle. The area is little changed in its appearance since the battle was fought on July 5, 1861. A few minutes off of Interstate 44, the site interprets the battle that set the stage for a decisive showdown a month later at Wilson’s Creek.
http://mostateparks.com/park/battle-carthage-state-historic-site
135 miles southwest from campground

18. Roaring River State Park- Fight trophy trout in one of the most breathtaking settings imaginable at Roaring River State Park. The park contains one of the premier trout fisheries in the nation, stocked each night. The natural setting – towering hills above a deep blue spring — provides a scenic backdrop to adventures. Seven trails cut through the parks rugged terrain, and lodging options from campsites to cabins make Roaring River a place to experience a unique slice of Missouri. Roaring River offers several hiking options including Devil’s Kitchen Trail Devil’s Kitchen Trail’s name is derived from an odd rock outcrop that formed a roomlike enclosure. According to legend, this room, which has since collapsed, was used as a hideout by Civil War guerrillas
http://mostateparks.com/park/roaring-river-state-park
153 miles southwest from campground

19. Bluff Dwellers Cave- Bluff Dwellers Cave is a rare gem lost in the Ozark region of Missouri. The cavern has been attracting guests from across the U.S. for 85 years. Arthur Browning discovered, explored, and eventually opened Bluff Dwellers Cave to the public in 1927. The Musical Chimes formation is an icon at Bluff Dwellers. The Chimes are formed by hollow curtains of rock that are hollow within, producing a unique frequency similar to a xylophone. Another interesting geological formation is the 75′ rimstone dam located near the original discovery point of the cavern. Measuring at 75′ the dam is one of the biggest mysteries at Bluff Dwellers Cavern. The long barrier is nearly symmetrical on both sides and even makes a similar curve on both ends. The real intriguing thing about the Dam is that Geological Scientist still haven’t determined how it was formed!
http://bluffdwellerscavern.com
185 miles southwest from campground

Image by Bluff Dwellers Cave

Image by Bluff Dwellers Cave

20. Fantastic Caverns- America’s Only Ride-Through Cave – A small, family owned business, it was discovered in 1862 by an Ozarks farmer- or more precisely, by his dog, who crawled through an entrance. It wasn’t until five years later that the first exploration took place: 12 women from Springfield, answering a newspaper ad seeking explorers, ventured into the cave. Their names remain on a cave wall today.
http://www.fantasticcaverns.com/
83 miles southwest from campground

Fantastic Caverns. Photo by Craves, Caves, & Graves.

Fantastic Caverns. Photo by Craves, Caves, & Graves.

21. Marvel Cave at Silver Dollar City- Silver Dollar City theme park evolved around the entrance to one of nature’s greatest wonders, Marvel Cave. In 1894, Canadian entrepreneur William Henry Lynch and his two daughters, Miriam and Genevieve, opened the cave as an Ozarks tourist attraction. For more than 50 years, Marvel Cave operated as a tourist show cave. In 1950, Hugo Herschend, a Danish immigrant from Chicago, his wife Mary and sons Jack and Peter, leased the cave. By 1960, the Herschends introduced their 1880s Ozark Mountain Village, Silver Dollar City theme park. The theme park was literally built around the entrance to Marvel Cave, upon the foundations of a genuine 1800s mining town – Marmaros. Marvel Cave is a wet limestone cave, complete with formations that are still alive and growing! To begin, you will travel 300 feet below the surface and enter the Cathedral Room. The breathtakingly beautiful Cathedral Room is the largest cave entrance room in the United States. The visitors’ trail consists of stairs and ramps. The tour lasts approximately 60 minutes, with most of that time spent climbing nearly 600 stairs. The strenuous nature of the tour requires us to not recommend the tour for visitors with heart or lung conditions, bad backs, weak knees or ankles. A trained cave guide will host your journey and provide you with interesting and entertaining anecdotes of historical or geographical importance.
*If you wish to only visit Marvel Cave and not the rest of the theme park please visit Guest Relations to purchase your ticket.
http://www.silverdollarcity.com/theme-park/attractions/rides/Marvel-Cave.aspx
120 miles southwest from campground

22. Miller Cave- Miller Cave, located on Fort Leonard Wood, is part of a cave complex in the bluffs above the Big Piney River. This cave contains archaeological evidence that people occupied this area between 7,000 B.C. and A.D. 1400. The cave has a total of four entrances. The primary entrance is located approximately 150 feet above the river, two more openings face the river and afford a spectacular view of the Big Piney River valley.
http://www.wood.army.mil/newweb/garrison/miller_cave.html
13.2 miles to Fort Leonard Wood west gate from campground

Miller Cave overlooks the scenic Big Piney River valley. Photo by Dustin Holmes.

Miller Cave overlooks the scenic Big Piney River valley. Photo by Dustin Holmes.

23. Rock Bridge Memorial State Park- One of the highlights at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park is Devil’s Icebox Trail. Devil’s Icebox Trail is primarily a boardwalk with several short spurs, viewing platforms and numerous stairs. The trail takes visitors to the most impressive geological features in the park including the 63-foot high natural tunnel known as the Rock Bridge and the double sinkhole entrance to Devil’s Icebox and Connor’s Cave. Also of interest are a limestone glade, Connor’s Spring and a valley formed by the collapse of part of the Devil’s Icebox Cave system. Displays tell visitors more about the cave system and the area’s history. The hike down the stairs to the double cave entrance is refreshingly cool in the summer months. Devil’s Icebox Cave, which is upstream (to the right) is closed to the public. Visitors are permitted to wade in the underground stream at the cave entrance and into the 150-foot long Connor’s Cave, which is downstream (to the left). Flashlights, helmets and good shoes are recommended. The trail shares a short section with Spring Brook Trail and links to Sinkhole Trail.
http://mostateparks.com/park/rock-bridge-memorial-state-park
101 miles north from campground

Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. Image by The PhotoRun.

Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. Image by The PhotoRun.

24. Jacob’s Cave- is Lake of the Ozark’s largest and most scenic cave. Famous for its depth illusion, reflective pools, ceiling sponge-work, prehistoric bones (mastodon, bear, and peccary), and the world’s largest geode. Evidence of six ice ages and three earthquakes can be seen in the cave.
http://www.jacobscave.com/
75 miles north from campground

25. Ozark Distillery- is the first legal distillery in Camden County, Missouri at the beautiful Lake of The Ozarks. Family owned they hand craft their moonshine in small batches. Other Missouri moonshine distillers include Mad Buffalo Distillery in Union and Copper Run Distillery in Walnut Shade.
http://www.ozarkdistillery.com/
52 miles northwest from campground

26. Lake of The Ozarks State Park- has nine hiking trails for you to explore. The shortest trail, Bluestem Knoll, is less than a mile long. The 12.75 mile Honey Run Trail is a favorite of endurance fans and mountain bikers. A portion (.60 mile one way) of Fawn’s Ridge Trail is wheelchair accessible. Hidden Springs Trail makes its way past a small family cemetery of yesteryear and Shady Ridge Trail offers stunning views of the lake.
http://mostateparks.com/park/lake-ozarks-state-park
33 miles northwest from campground

Ozark Caverns: also located in Lake of The Ozarks State Park is home to Angel Showers. An unusual cave phenomenon, Angel Showers is a featured part of the Ozark Caverns tour. The never-ending shower of water seems to come out of the solid ceiling of rock. This interpretive tour lasts approximately one hour and is a half-mile round trip. Topics discussed include general cave development, speleothem formation, cave life or other topics visitors wish to discuss with the guide. Appropriate for all ages.
http://mostateparks.com/page/54199/cave-tours

Angel Showers at Ozark Caverns. Photo via Flckr MoGov.

Angel Showers at Ozark Caverns. Photo via Flckr MoGov.

27. Ha Ha Tonka State Park- Imposing architecture and breathtaking scenery combine to make Ha Ha Tonka State Park one of Missouri’s most treasured spots. Located on the Lake of the Ozarks, the park features the stone ruins of a turn-of-the-20th-century castle built by a prominent Kansas City businessman high atop a bluff. More than 15 miles of trails traverse the park, leading visitors to sinkholes, natural bridges, caves and down to the lake.
http://mostateparks.com/park/ha-ha-tonka-state-park
43 miles northwest from campground

Vintage postcard depicting Ha Ha Tonka Castle Ruins overlooking The Lake of the Ozarks Missouri.

Vintage postcard depicting Ha Ha Tonka Castle Ruins overlooking The Lake of the Ozarks Missouri.

28. Arabia Steamboat Museum- “200 Tons of Treasure” When the mighty Steamboat Arabia sank near Kansas City on September 5, 1856, she carried 200 tons of mystery cargo. Lost for 132 years, its recovery in 1988 was like finding the King Tut’s Tomb of the Missouri River. Remarkably preserved clothes, tools, guns, dishware and more. The discovery was truly a modern day treasure-hunting story at its best. Using a metal detector and old maps to guide the search, an amateur archaeologist began the search for the lost steamer. Located a half-mile from the present river’s course, 5 men and their families would begin the adventure of a lifetime … recovering the Steamboat Arabia.
http://1856.com/
195 miles northwest from campground

29. Bagnell Dam History Museum at Willmore Lodge- The Great Osage River Project has been recognized as one of the greatest engineering and construction feats of its time. Started in 1929 and completed in 1931, Bagnell Dam is 148 tall concrete gravity dam that impounds the Osage River and created the 55,000 acre Lake of the Ozarks.
http://www.willmorelodge.com/
46 miles northwest from campground

30. Bridal Cave- Centuries ago the Osage Native American Indians discovered the pristine beauty that lies beneath Thunder Mountain. Local folklore tells of a legendary Native American Indian wedding ceremony held in the cave in the early 1800s. Today this magnificent natural wonderland is called Bridal Cave. In keeping with the tradition of the Native American legend, the Cave can be reserved for a romantic wedding chapel. Over 2,500 couples from around the world have exchanged vows in the stalactite adorned Bridal Chapel.
http://bridalcave.com/
48 miles northwest from campground

31. Jesse James Farm & Museum- Jesse James, son of a Baptist minister, was born at the family home in Kearney, Missouri, in 1847. Barely 16, he followed his older brother, Frank, into the Civil War. While Frank was a member of Quantrill’s guerillas, Jesse rode with Bloody Bill Anderson. When the war ended, Jesse returned home and joined other former Confederate guerillas in a life of outlawry. Jesse’s boldness and flamboyance as a bank and train robber, combined with sensational publicity from newspapers and dime novels, soon made his a household name. A tour through the restored home will take visitors back to where the legend began. Before walking the trail to the farmhouse, a twenty minute movie recaps the history of Frank and Jesse James and exploits of the outlaws. The museum displays the world’s largest collection of James family artifacts. Jesse’s boots and Frank’s surrender letter tend to captivate visitors. Guests then follow the paved winding trail to the farmhouse and walk along the creek where, as young boys, Frank and Jesse spent much of their time playing. In the yard of the family home is Jesse’s original burial site, the place where his mother once sold souvenir rocks from his grave for twenty five cents.
http://www.claycountymo.gov/Historic_Sites/Jesse_James_Farm
220 miles northwest of campground

32. Onondaga Cave State Park- Descend into the depths of Onondaga Cave State Park and drop into a world of wonder: towering stalagmites, dripping stalactites, and active flowstones help make the cave a National Natural Landmark and illustrate why Missouri is often called “The Cave State.” Visitors can take guided tours into the underground wonderlands of Onondaga Cave and Cathedral Cave.
http://mostateparks.com/park/onondaga-cave-state-park
70 miles northeast from campground

Onondaga Cave. Photo by Onondaga Friends Association.

Onondaga Cave. Photo by Onondaga Friends Association.

33. Shaw Nature Reserve- is the “country cousin” of the Missouri Botanical Garden and has a complex of trails that take you through restored prairies, upland woods with bluff overlooks and bottomland forest filled with giant sycamores to a gravel bar perfect for lunch on the Meramec River.
http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/visit/family-of-attractions/shaw-nature-reserve.aspx
101 miles northeast from campground

34. Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tours- is a complimentary tour that offers visitors of all ages an in-depth look at how some of America”s favorite beers are crafted, using the finest, all-natural ingredients, by following it through the steps of the entire brewing process. Since its founding in 1852 in St. Louis, Missouri, Anheuser-Busch has been perfecting this process, taking pride in producing some of the world’s finest beers, one batch at a time. Those who are 21 and older will get a chance to sample their product in the historic Brewhouse built in 1891. Guests will also have an opportunity to taste another sample of their quality products in The Biergarten at the conclusion of the tour, where soft drinks are also available.
http://www.budweisertours.com
139 miles northeast from campground

35. Clifty Creek Natural Area- Clifty Creek was the first designated natural area in Missouri (1971). Visitors will see the geologic wonder that is the 40 feet long natural bridge over Clifty Creek and hike through a microcosm of Ozark natural communities from dry glades to lush stream bottoms. A wide variety of birds can be spotted year round.
http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places-go/natural-areas/clifty-creek
33 miles northeast from campground

Under the arch at Clifty Creek. Photo by Greg Wacker.

Under the arch at Clifty Creek. Photo by Greg Wacker.

36. Mark Twain Cave Complex- The Mark Twain Cave Complex boasts America’s Oldest and Newest Show Caves. Mark Twain Cave is Missouri’s first Show Cave. The cave was first shown in 1886 and is a Registered National Natural Landmark. Experienced guides will escort you on the 55 minute tour of Mark Twain Cave where the walkways are level and smooth, and there are no steps. Because of the natural state of the cave it is not wheelchair accessible. Cameron Cave is a 1 hour and 20 minute tour, and several people will carry lanterns as the cave is very nearly like it was first discovered in 1925.
http://www.marktwaincave.com/
181 miles northeast from campground

A Cameron Cave guide demonstrates an unusual feature of the cave. Photo by Flckr MoGov.

A Cameron Cave guide demonstrates an unusual feature of the cave. Photo by Flckr MoGov.

37. Meramec State Park- is home to Fisher Cave. Fisher Cave is truly one of the park’s most spectacular natural wonders. Naturalist-led tours, offered on a seasonal basis, provide an interesting adventure for park visitors. From the low, narrow streamside passages to the huge rooms filled with calcite deposits, Fisher Cave offers one outstanding cave scene after another. Inside these rooms and passages are well-preserved bear claw marks, cave wildlife and a vast array of calcite deposits ranging from intricate hellectites to massive columns 30 feet tall.
http://mostateparks.com/park/meramec-state-park
73 miles northeast from campground

38. Rosati Winery Museum- The Rosati Winery Museum is steeped in old- time Missouri history which documents a little known American immigration story. For a unique museum experience; buy a glass or bottle of wine from the tasting room and proceed to sip and learn as you wander through the museum. Missouri has many wineries that you can taste and tour. For a full listing visit http://www.missouriwine.org.
http://rosatiwinerymuseum.com/Museum.html
50 miles northeast from campground

39. Meramec Caverns- marketed as “Missouri’s Buried Treasure”, Meramec Caverns is the largest commercial cave in the state of Missouri. Guided tours by trained rangers are conducted along well-lighted walkways. All cavern facilities are accessible to the disabled. Learn how an ancient limestone “Wine Table” and an entire 7-story mansion were built… all underground. On tour you will see both the rarest and largest cave formations in the world.
http://www.americascave.com/
82 miles northeast from campground

Meramec Caverns still uses barns as billboards in their marketing. This barn, located on Highway 41 near Noah, Tennessee was photographed by Brent Moore.

Meramec Caverns still uses barns as billboards in their marketing. This barn, located on Highway 41 near Noah, Tennessee was photographed by Brent Moore.

40. Missouri Highway 36 Road Trip- “The Way of American Genius” Discover some of America’s great ideas, inventions and innovators along Missouri Highway 36. A trip across northern Missouri features iconic American stories about the Pony Express, JC Penney, General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, Walt Disney and Mark Twain, to name just a few. To obtain a copy of the audio CD that accompanies this tour, please contact the Hannibal Convention and Vistors Bureau.
http://www.visithannibal.com

Walt Disney first came to Marceline, Missouri by train when he was five years old. When Walt returned to Marceline in 1946 the Santa Fe train depot evoked cherished memories of when he first pulled into the Marceline. As a fitting tribute, the museum that honors him is located inside the very same train depot. Photo by John & Sigrids Adventures.

Walt Disney first came to Marceline, Missouri by train when he was five years old. When Walt returned to Marceline in 1946 the Santa Fe train depot evoked cherished memories of when he first pulled into the Marceline. As a fitting tribute, the museum that honors him is located inside the very same train depot. Photo by John & Sigrids Adventures.

41. U.S. Route 61 Road Trip- Nicknamed the “Avenue of The Saints” because it connects St. Paul, Minnesota to St. Louis, the route continues south of St. Louis to New Orleans, Louisiana. The highway generally follows the course of the Mississippi River, and is designated the Great River Road for much of its route. The highway is often called “The Blues Highway”, because of the course it takes from Minnesota, through Memphis, Tennessee and into Louisiana. The “rock ‘n roll crossroads of America”, where Route 66 meets Route 61 is in Kirkwood, Missouri.
http://www.visitmo.com/trip-ideas-in-missouri/take-a-ride-on-route-61-north.aspx
http://www.visitmo.com/trip-ideas-in-missouri/take-a-ride-on-route-61-south.aspx

A trip south on U.S. Route 61 will take you to New Madrid, Missouri and it's beautiful riverfront park. The Mississippi is clearly the most significant physical landmark in the area of New Madrid. The river’s history is closely intertwined with that of the city. As with the original French trading post that preceded it, New Madrid was established along the river’s edge because the Mississippi was the primary artery for commerce in the 18th and early 19th centuries. In time, the original town site was eroded by recurrent floods on the river, and New Madrid was forced to adjust its location because of the vagaries of Mother Nature. For a few hours, the violent earthquakes of the early 19th century reversed the course of the mighty river. Half a century later, Union and Confederate forces turned the area into a Civil War battlefield in the fight for control of the river. Photo by Jackson Trippers.

A trip south on U.S. Route 61 will take you to New Madrid, Missouri and it’s beautiful riverfront park. The Mississippi is clearly the most significant physical landmark in the area of New Madrid. The river’s history is closely intertwined with that of the city. As with the original French trading post that preceded it, New Madrid was established along the river’s edge because the Mississippi was the primary artery for commerce in the 18th and early 19th centuries. In time, the original town site was eroded by recurrent floods on the river, and New Madrid was forced to adjust its location because of the vagaries of Mother Nature. For a few hours, the violent earthquakes of the early 19th century reversed the course of the mighty river. Half a century later, Union and Confederate forces turned the area into a Civil War battlefield in the fight for control of the river. Photo by Jackson Trippers.

42. U.S. Route 66 Road Trip- Sometimes a road is more than a road. The perfect road trip road can become a legend. And “The Mother Road” is the epitome of legendary roads. This great American highway is embraced worldwide by fans who seek it out more for the road itself, and its people, than the final destination. Originally connecting Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California the road also travels through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. In Missouri, no Route 66 trip would be complete without stops at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, the ghost town of Arlington, world famous Elbow Inn & BBQ in Devils Elbow, Munger Moss Hotel, & Gary’s Gay Parita.
http://www.visitmo.com/trip-ideas-in-missouri/route-66-part-one.aspx
http://www.visitmo.com/trip-ideas-in-missouri/route-66-part-two.aspx

John's Modern Cabins near the ghost town of Arlington, MO on Route 66 in Phelps County. Photo by Population 91.

John’s Modern Cabins near the ghost town of Arlington, MO on Route 66 in Phelps County. Photo by Population 91.

Needing more trip ideas and things to see and do while in Missouri for the 2015 NSS Convention? Don’t panic! For a complimentary Pulaski County Visitors Guide simply call 877.858.8687 or send a message to email@pulaskicountyusa.com. For a free Official Missouri Travel Guide please visit: http://www.visitmo.com/official-missouri-printed-travel-guide-order-form.aspx

Stay in the conversation! Use hashtags #NSS2015, #VisitMO, and #PulaskiCountyUSA

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Hitchhikers Guide To Floating In Pulaski County

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.

Photo courtesy of Shundahai Campground.

Photo courtesy of Shundahai Campground.

Outfitters:

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.

Photo courtesy of Boiling Spring Campground

Photo courtesy of Boiling Spring Campground

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.

Photo courtesy of Lay Z Day Canoe & Camping

Photo courtesy of Lay Z Day Canoe & Camping

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.

Photo courtesy of Rich's Last Resort

Photo courtesy of Rich’s Last Resort

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.

Photo courtesy of Rt 66 Canoe

Photo courtesy of Rt 66 Canoe

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.

Photo courtesy of Wilderness Ridge Resort.

Photo courtesy of Wilderness Ridge Resort.

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.

A message from Pulaski County Outfitters Association

A message from Pulaski County Outfitters Association

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.

Hitchhikers Guide To Route 66 In Pulaski County

Located between Route 66 icons John’s Modern Cabins (Phelps County) and Munger Moss Motel (Laclede County), Pulaski County, Missouri, has more than its fair share of Mother Road landmarks.

No other Highway in the history of the United States is as celebrated as Route 66. It is a throwback to a simpler time, when the idea of extended traveling was still a novelty. If you’re traveling the 300 miles of the Mother Road that spans ten counties in Missouri, it means tearing a page out of history as you travel through quaint towns that provide glimpses to, and even memories of, a younger America.

The stretch of Route 66 that winds through Pulaski County is lush with brilliant scenery and breathtaking landscapes. Rivers cut through limestone and dolomite rock leaving dramatic bluffs and fertile valleys. The 200 foot tall bluffs visible in the Devils Elbow area were once described as being one of the “seven scenic wonders of Missouri” in literature from the Missouri Planning Commission. Jack D. Rittenhouse described one of Pulaski County’s segments as “one of the most beautiful sections of the Ozarks” in his Guide Book To Highway 66.

Vintage postcard of Big Piney River and Bridge at Devils Elbow, Mo., U.S. Highway 66.

Vintage postcard of Big Piney River and Bridge at Devils Elbow, Mo., U.S. Highway 66.

Following the road in Pulaski County you will visit cities whose heyday was years ago, as well as cities just finding their roots. The tour will captivate travelers as they twist along the 30+ miles of historic road in our area.

The highway through Pulaski County holds particular appeal for modern-day travelers, with its blend of historic landmarks and natural preservation. Scenic overlooks and rivers are interspersed with historic buildings. Still visible is the historic Hooker Church and Graveyard, which dates back to the late 1800’s. As you travel through Hooker Cut, take in the popular postcard landscape that was once rumored to be the deepest road cut in America. Rittenhouse described it as “an engineering triumph and truly a joy to the traveler”.

Travel through the beautiful hamlet of Devils Elbow, which was bypassed in the 1940’s when Highway 66 was realigned, and find out why lumberjacks cried in frustration at a large boulder lodged in the sharpest bend in the Big Piney River. They reasoned the boulder could only have been put there by the devil. Many landmarks of the once popular fishing & canoeing resort community still stand. Today’s visitors can still cross the Big Piney River on the original 1923 Devils Elbow truss bridge, sign the visitor register at Shelden’s Market & Post Office, or bend your Elbow at the world famous Elbow Inn Bar & BBQ. Housed in the original Munger-Moss Sandwich Shop this stop has been a travelers favorite for mouth watering barbecue since the late 1930’s. While in the Devils Elbow /Grandview area make sure to drive across the 1942 Big Piney River Bridge (an excellent example of a concrete open spandrel arch bridge) and stop at the Scenic Overlook to view the picturesque 1941 United States Army Railroad bridge in the Ozark valley below. Grandview is also known for having some of the best 1943 curbed pavement in Missouri. The half curb was designed to keep autos on the road but, often as not, would tip them over.

Vintage postcard of Miller's Market located at Devils Elbow in Pulaski County, Missouri.

Vintage postcard of Miller’s Market located at Devils Elbow in Pulaski County, Missouri.

Vintage postcard of Munger-Moss Sandwich Shop, well known for its Old Kentucky Barbecue.

Vintage postcard of Munger-Moss Sandwich Shop, well known for its Old Kentucky Barbecue.

In neighboring Saint Robert, travelers can still have a picnic at George M. Reed Roadside Park. This park is the only remaining original roadside park on Route 66 in Missouri. Remnants of three of St. Robert’s Route 66 motels remain, all near the roadside park- Ramada Inn, built in 1959, Ranch Motel that was constructed in the 1940’s and DeVille Motor Inn and Motel dating back to the 1960’s.

Vintage postcard of Ranch Motel, on Route 66, in Saint Robert, Missouri.

Vintage postcard of Ranch Motel, on Route 66, in Saint Robert, Missouri.

Descending into the county seat of Waynesville, watch for Frog Rock overlooking Route 66. Stop by the Old Pulaski County Courthouse Museum, one of two courthouses located along Route 66 in Missouri and while in the neighborhood visit the historic Old Stagecoach Stop that has stood since the 1850’s. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building has served as a stagecoach stop, private residence, post office, and Civil War hospital. Also on the downtown Square is the Rigsby House and, next door, the building that was formerly Rigsby Standard Oil Station. Victory Pub, established in 1942, was once a popular stop for the thirsty traveler. Although the building is now just a memory many locals can tell tales of the tavern as if they were there yesterday. The Roubidoux Bridge crosses the Roubidoux Creek, a scenic tributary to the Gasconade River that was named after French explorer , fur trapper, and founder of St. Joseph, Missouri, Joseph Roubidoux. The stream is still well known for its fishing, especially trout fishing. The former Bell Hotel & Resort has been converted into a funeral home but is still easily recognizable from vintage postcards. Bell’s Sinclair filling station still stands as well, converted into a flower shop. Also in that area is Mallows Market and Bohannon Cafe Garage, built in 1934.

Vintage postcard of Bell Hotel, on U.S. Highway 66, "Main Street of America", Waynesville, MO.

Vintage postcard of Bell Hotel, on U.S. Highway 66, “Main Street of America”, Waynesville, MO.

On the western outskirts of Waynesville, in an area called Buckhorn by the locals, is Witmor Farms building. Originally a Nickerson Farms restaurant, this was the second location of the popular roadside eatery chain. Headquartered in Eldon, Missouri, I.J. Nickerson’s restaurants were a spinoff of Stuckey’s Pecan Shoppes. Roy Moorman purchased the restaurant in 1963, and he and his wife Norma served many hungry travelers.

Update: This building was demolished September, 2014.

Vintage postcard depicting Nickerson Farms, Fine Country Candies, Waynesville, Mo.

Vintage postcard depicting Nickerson Farms, Fine Country Candies, Waynesville, Mo. The building was demolished September, 2014.

Closing in on the Laclede County line, Pulaski County’s Route 66 still has treasures to share. Spring Valley Court was established in the late 1920’s and had four rock cabins and a rock shower house. The Gascozark Trading Post & Court, originally Caldwell’s Cafe, also had four cabins. Across the road is the abandoned Gascozark Service Station and Cafe, built in the early 1930’s by Frank A. Jones. This giraffe-rock structure is a fine example of a style of architecture that was popular between 1920 through 1940. Also called slab-rock, many of these giraffe-rock buildings can be seen in Pulaski County, including Piney Beach Cabins, near Hooker, and a mix of residential and commercial examples remain in Waynesville.

Vintage postcard of Gacozark Service Station & Cafe, Hi-way 66, Hazlegreen, Mo.

Vintage postcard of Gacozark Service Station & Cafe, Hi-way 66, Hazlegreen, Mo.

For even more points of interest along Pulaski County USA’s Route 66 segments, including turn by turn directions with mileage (in the style of Jack Rittenhouse’s 1946 “A Guide Book To Highway 66″) historical photos and facts contact Pulaski County Tourism Bureau at 877-858-8787 to receive your complimentary Route 66 Historic Auto Tours brochure. Make sure to ask for your FREE Waynesville Walking Tour brochure also. This guide will direct you to points of interest in historic downtown Waynesville, MO.

Pulaski County’s 3,000+ hotel rooms, and 100+ dining options makes us the perfect overnight stop between Saint Louis and Springfield for Route 66 explorers. Plan your trip with our complimentary Official Visitors Guide. Order yours today by calling 877-858-8787 or via email at email@pulaskicountyusa.com.

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Like Us*Tweet Us*Share Us! #PulaskiCountyUSA

Hitchhikers Guide To Birding In Pulaski County

Are you a birder or a bird watcher? If so, flock to Pulaski County, Missouri! Over 400 different kinds of birds have been identified in the state, with over 100 species already identified in Pulaski County. Almost 40,000 acres of Mark Twain National Forest lie within our boundaries. Pulaski County also offers two Missouri Department of Conservation Areas, four public river accesses, two towersites, and an impressive public park system along the Roubidoux River in Waynesville.

Birding is the most popular spectator sport in Missouri and is a wholesome hobby and activity for all ages. Bird watching can provide quality one on one time with Mother Nature and is also a great way to introduce a younger generation to the great outdoors. Whether hiking, biking, or canoeing in Pulaski County, Missouri you will see songbirds, birds of prey and quite possibly the magnificent Bald Eagle.

Bloodland Lake (Fort Leonard Wood) is a popular fishing location that is handicap accessible. Anglers fish here for Bass and Sunfish. 36 wild bird species have been identified in this 40 acre wetlands habitat including Canada Goose, Northern Shoveler, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, and Bufflehead.

Bufflehead, Ring-necked Duck, Canada Goose, and Northern Shoveler are waterfowl species that can be seen in the wild at Bloodland Lake on Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. Birders have identified over 30 other species of wild birds in this area.

Bufflehead, Ring-necked Duck, Canada Goose, and Northern Shoveler are waterfowl species that can be seen in the wild at Bloodland Lake on Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. Birders have identified over 30 other species of wild birds in this area.

Driving Directions to Bloodland Lake on Fort Leonard Wood: From I-44, take Exit 161. Go south on Business 44 to the front gate of Fort Leonard Wood. Obtain a map and directions at the front gate.

Lesser Scaup is a waterfowl species that can be seen in the wild at Bloodland Lake on Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. Bird watchers ers have identified over 30 other species of wild birds in this area.

Lesser Scaup is a waterfowl species that can be seen in the wild at Bloodland Lake on Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. Bird watchers ers have identified over 30 other species of wild birds in this area.


Missouri Department of Conservation Bloodland Lake Information:
http://mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/Applications/MOATLAS/AreaSummaryPage.aspx?txtAreaID=200301

Bloodland Lake Printable Field Checklist:

http://www.mobirds.org/cache/AreaChecklist.aspx?site=1217

Roubidoux Creek Conservation Area is over 175 acres and includes grassland, wetlands, and forest habitats. This area includes over 6 miles of Roubidoux Creek frontage and almost a half mile of Gasconade River frontage. Anglers fishing for Bass, Catfish, and Sunfish seek out the waters of the Gasconade while Trout anglers enjoy the Red Ribbon Trout Stream portion of the Roubidoux Creek. The Deer, Dove, Quail, Rabbit, Squirrel, and Turkey populations make this location popular with hunters also. Almost 100 species of wild birds have been identified in Roubidoux Creek Conservation Area including Wood Duck, Green Heron, Merlin, Wild Turkey, and numerous types of sparrows, tyrant flycatchers, wood warblers, and blackbirds and orioles.

Swamp Sparrow, Green Heron, Merlin, Nashville Warbler, Baltimore Oriole, and Le Conte's Sparrow are some of the wild bird species that have been identified at Pulaski County's Roubidoux Creek Conservation Area near Waynesville, MO.

Swamp Sparrow, Green Heron, Merlin, Nashville Warbler, Baltimore Oriole, and Le Conte’s Sparrow are some of the wild bird species that have been identified at Pulaski County’s Roubidoux Creek Conservation Area near Waynesville, MO.

Driving directions to Roubidoux Creek Conservation Area: From Interstate 44 take Exit 159. Travel west on Historic Route 66 (Highway 17) to Waynesville. After crossing the Roubidoux River Bridge make a right (north side) onto Revere Lane. Parking area is one mile north of Waynesville on the north side.

Northern Bobwhite, Wood Duck, Eurasian Collared-Dove, and Wild Turkey are some of the game birds that you will see at Roubidoux Creek Conservation Area near Waynesville, Missouri in Pulaski County.

Northern Bobwhite, Wood Duck, Eurasian Collared-Dove, and Wild Turkey are some of the game birds that you will see at Roubidoux Creek Conservation Area near Waynesville, Missouri in Pulaski County.

Missouri Department of Conservation Roubidoux Creek Area Information:
http://mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/applications/moatlas/AreaSummaryPage.aspx?txtAreaID=9130

Roubidoux Creek Conservation Area Printable Field Checklist:
http://www.mobirds.org/CACHE/AreaChecklist.aspx?site=795

Ryden Cave Conservation Area is a remote 30 acre area that includes two caves, Ryden Cave and Stockpen Cave. Both caves are closed to the public to help prevent the spread of White-nose syndrome in bats. However the area is open for birding and 15 species have been identified to date including Red-bellied Woodpecker, White-throated Sparrow, and Dark-eyed Junco.

At Ryden Cave Conservation Area in Pulaski County, near the community of Duke, Missouri birders will see White-throated Sparrow and Dark-eyed Junco.

At Ryden Cave Conservation Area in Pulaski County, near the community of Duke, Missouri birders will see White-throated Sparrow and Dark-eyed Junco.

Driving directions to Ryden Cave Conservation Area: From I-44 take Exit 169 and go south approximately 17 miles on J Highway. Turn right on K Highway. Continue onto Western Road. Continue onto County Road TT-825. Ryden Cave Conservation Area is on the left (south) side.

Bird watchers will also have an opportunity to spot Red-bellied Woodpeckers in the wild at Ryden Cave Conservation Area in Pulaski County.

Bird watchers will also have an opportunity to spot Red-bellied Woodpeckers in the wild at Ryden Cave Conservation Area in Pulaski County.

Missouri Department of Conservation Ryden Cave Conservation Area Information:
http://mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/Applications/MOATLAS/AreaSummaryPage.aspx?txtAreaID=7822

Ryden Cave Conservation Area Printable Field Checklist:

http://mobirds.org/CACHE/AreaChecklist.aspx?site=796

Mitschele Access includes a boat ramp which makes it a popular spot with boaters in Pulaski County. Canoeist also use this public access when starting or ending a float trip along the winding Gasconade River. This one acre area has a good population of Bass, Catfish, and Sunfish and a fair population of Suckers. Wild birds also enjoy Mitschele Access- over 30 species have been identified here, including: Louisiana Waterthrush, Eastern Kingbird, Carolina Wren and Red-winged Blackbird.

Mitschele Access, on the Gasconade River near Richland, Missouri, is a favorite spot for bird watchers to observe Eastern Kingbird, Red-winged Blackbird, and Carolina Wren.

Mitschele Access, on the Gasconade River near Richland, Missouri, is a favorite spot for bird watchers to observe Eastern Kingbird, Red-winged Blackbird, and Carolina Wren.

Mitschele Access is a great birding location year round with Spring, Summer, and Autumn the most active. Cliff Swallows can be seen nesting on the bridge.

Birders can also spot Louisiana Waterthrush at Mitschele Access in Pulaski County, Missouri.

Birders can also spot Louisiana Waterthrush at Mitschele Access in Pulaski County, Missouri.

Driving directions to Mitschele Access: From Interstate 44 take Exit 150. Travel north on Highway 7 about 3 miles to the Gasconade River Bridge. Entrance to the access is on the left (north) side of Missouri Highway 7.

Missouri Department of Conservation Mitschele Access Information:
http://mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/Applications/MOATLAS/AreaSummaryPage.aspx?txtAreaID=9801

Mitschele Access Printable Field Checklist:
http://www.mobirds.org/CACHE/AreaChecklist.aspx?site=792

Riddle Bridge Access also includes a boat ramp which makes it a popular spot with boaters in Pulaski County. Canoeist also use this public access when starting or ending a float trip along the twisting Gasconade River. This 9 acre area includes wetland, grassland, and forest and woodland habitats. Riddle Bridge Access has a good population of Bass, Catfish, and Sunfish and a fair population of Crappie. The bridge is the start of an 18-inch Smallmouth Bass Special Management Area that extends to the Route D bridge at Jerome in Phelps County. Popular with canoeist and anglers, Riddle Access is also a great spot for birding. Almost twenty species have been identified here including several types of woodpeckers, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Turkey Vulture.

Wild birds are plentiful at Riddle Bridge Access near Saint Robert, Missouri. Tufted Titmouse, Turkey Vulture, and White-breasted Nuthatch have been identified here.

Wild birds are plentiful at Riddle Bridge Access near Saint Robert, Missouri. Tufted Titmouse, Turkey Vulture, and White-breasted Nuthatch have been identified here.

Driving directions to Riddle Bridge Access: From I-44 take Exit 161 and travel six miles south of Saint Robert on Highway Y. The entrance is on the left immediately before the Gasconade River Bridge.

Missouri Department of Conservation Riddle Bridge Access Information:
http://mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/Applications/MOATLAS/AreaSummaryPage.aspx?txtAreaID=6409

Riddle Bridge Access Printable Field Checklist:
http://www.mobirds.org/CACHE/AreaChecklist.aspx?site=793

Ross Access is popular with canoeist on the scenic Big Piney River. This 4+ acre area has a good population of Bass, Catfish, and Sunfish and a fair population of Crappie. A portion of this area is a 15-inch Smallmouth Bass Special Management Area. It is also a popular place for swimming and rock skipping. Almost a dozen species of wild birds have been identified in this forest and woodland habitat, including Great Egret, Bald Eagle, Red-shouldered Hawk, and Yellow-belted Sapsucker.

Bird watchers might spot a majestic Bald Eagle at Ross Access in southern Pulaski County, Missouri. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Red-shouldered Hawk, and Great Egret have also been identified at Ross Access on the Big Piney River.

Bird watchers might spot a majestic Bald Eagle at Ross Access in southern Pulaski County, Missouri. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Red-shouldered Hawk, and Great Egret have also been identified at Ross Access on the Big Piney River.

Driving directions to Ross Access: From I-44 take Exit 169 and go south approximately 17 miles on J Highway. Turn right on K Highway and travel approximately 2.5 miles onto Western Road. Take Western Road to Windsor Lane. Go approximately 0.5 mile north on Windsor Lane.

Missouri Department of Conservation Ross Access Information:
http://mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/Applications/MOATLAS/AreaSummaryPage.aspx?txtAreaID=6306

Ross Access Printable Field Checklist:
http://www.mobirds.org/CACHE/AreaChecklist.aspx?site=794

Schlicht Springs Access is a 12 acre handicap accessible area near the former Schlicht Mill, dating back to the 1840’s, which was once a popular resort and boasted a lodge, post office, and general store. The area was named after John Schlicht who purchased the mill in 1876. Today, Schlicht Springs is popular with boaters and canoeist for its boat ramp. It is also popular with anglers who fish the Gascoande River’s good population of Bass, Catfish, and Sunfish and its fair population of Crappie. The area is made up of grassland and forest and woodland habitat. Birders have identified over 20 species of wild birds including Sharp-shinned Hawk, Downy Woodpecker, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Kentucky Warbler.

Birders might see Kentucky Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Downy Woodpecker, Sharp-shinned Hawk and many other species of wild birds at Schlicht Springs Access near Crocker, Missouri

Birders might see Kentucky Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Downy Woodpecker, Sharp-shinned Hawk and many other species of wild birds at Schlicht Springs Access near Crocker, Missouri


Driving directions to Schlicht Springs Access:
Traveling from Crocker Missouri, take Highway 133 which heads south and west of Crocker approximately five miles to Resort Road. Turn south (Left) on Resort Road and travel approximately 1.25 miles to Riverside Road. Turn east (left) on Riverside road and travel approximately one mile to the access.

Missouri Department of Conservation Schlicht Springs Access Information:
http://mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/Applications/MOATLAS/AreaSummaryPage.aspx?txtAreaID=7511

Schlicht Springs Access Printable Field Checklist:
http://www.mobirds.org/CACHE/AreaChecklist.aspx?site=797

Dixon Towersite is known for its good population of deer, squirrel, and turkey and is accessible to hunters. Most of this areas 48 acres is Oak-hickory forest and woodland. 22 species of birds have been identified here including Turkey Vulture, Barred Owl, Mourning Dove, and several types of woodpeckers.

Mourning Dove has been identified at Dixon Towersite in Pulaski County, Missouri.

Mourning Dove has been identified at Dixon Towersite in Pulaski County, Missouri.

Bird watchers have also spotted Barred Owl and Turkey Vulture at Dixon Towersite near Dixon, Missouri.

Bird watchers have also spotted Barred Owl and Turkey Vulture at Dixon Towersite near Dixon, Missouri.

In late spring and summer expect to see Pine Warblers, Chipping Sparrows, Eastern Wood-Pewee and Great Crested Flycatchers.

In late spring and summer expect to see Pine Warblers, Chipping Sparrows, Eastern Wood-Pewee and Great Crested Flycatchers at Dixon Towersite in Pulaski County.

In late spring and summer expect to see Pine Warblers, Chipping Sparrows, Eastern Wood-Pewee and Great Crested Flycatchers at Dixon Towersite in Pulaski County.

Driving Directions to Dixon Towersite: Travel three miles west of Dixon on Highway 133. Site entrance is on the left (southeast) side.

Missouri Department of Conservation Dixon Towersite Information:
http://mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/applications/moatlas/AreaSummaryPage.aspx?txtAreaID=4904

Dixon Towersite Printable Field Checklist:
http://www.mobirds.org/cache/AreaChecklist.aspx?site=789

Fort Leonard Wood Towersite is also known for its good population of deer, squirrel, and turkey and is accessible to hunters. This area has over 60 acres of forest and woodland and 26 species of wild birds have been identified here. Some of these include Great Horned Owl, Red-tailed Hawk, and Purple Martin.

Birders have spotted Purple Martin, Red-tailed Hawk, and Great Horned Owl at Fort Leonard Wood Towersite in St. Robert, Missouri.

Birders have spotted Purple Martin, Red-tailed Hawk, and Great Horned Owl at Fort Leonard Wood Towersite in Saint Robert, Missouri.

Driving Directions to Fort Leonard Wood Towersite: From Interstate 44 take Exit 161. Travel one mile east of Saint Robert on Z Highway. Entrance is on the right (south) side.

Missouri Department of Conservation Fort Leonard Wood Towersite Information:
http://mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/applications/moatlas/AreaSummaryPage.aspx?txtAreaID=4622

Fort Leonard Wood Towersite Printable Field Checklist:

http://www.mobirds.org/CACHE/AreaChecklist.aspx?site=790

Laughlin/Roubidoux Parks (Waynesville)is part of the public park system in the city of Waynesville. This site includes a town habitat and frontage on Roubidoux Creek. This area includes White Ribbon and Red Ribbon Trout Areas. Roubidoux Spring has a flow of almost 38,000,000 gallons per day and is also a popular recreational spot for cave certified scuba divers. Laughlin Park is also one of only seven sites on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail in Missouri. Waynesville also maintains a tree identification area in Roubidoux Park. A brochure is available at City Hall, located at 601 Historic Route 66. Wild birds love Laughlin/Roubidoux Parks as well, with over 50 species identified to date. Some of these include Mallard, Great Blue Heron, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Northern Cardinal, Indigo Bunting, and Song Sparrow.

Laughlin/Roubidoux Parks (Waynesville) is an urban wild bird oasis. Bird watchers have identified Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Great Blue Heron, Indigo Bunting, and Song Sparrow. More than 40 other species have also been spotted at the parks.

Laughlin/Roubidoux Parks (Waynesville) is an urban wild bird oasis. Bird watchers have identified Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Great Blue Heron, Indigo Bunting, and Song Sparrow. More than 40 other species have also been spotted at the parks.

Driving directions to Laughlin/Roubidoux Parks (Waynesville): From Interstate 44 take Exit 159. Travel west on Historic Route 66 (Highway 17) to Waynesville. Laughlin Park is on the left (south)side immediately before crossing the Roubidoux River and Roubidoux Park is on the right (north) side immediately before the bridge crossing. Both parks are downstream from Roubidoux Spring.

Laughlin/Roubidoux Parks (Waynesville) is an urban wild bird oasis. Bird watchers have identified Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Great Blue Heron, Indigo Bunting, and Song Sparrow. More than 40 other species have also been spotted at the parks.

Laughlin and Roubidoux Parks in Waynesville are a great place to see Northern Cardinal.

Mallards enjoy the waters of the "Roaring Roubidoux" as much as humans do!

Mallards enjoy the waters of the “Roaring Roubidoux” as much as humans do!

Missouri Department of Conservation Laughlin/Roubidoux Parks Information:
http://mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/Applications/MOATLAS/AreaSummaryPage.aspx?txtAreaID=9244

Laughlin/Roubidoux Parks (Waynesville) Printable Field Checklist:

http://www.mobirds.org/CACHE/AreaChecklist.aspx?site=798

Tweet your Pulaski County wild bird photos to us at @PulCoUSA! #PulaskiCountyUSA

Tweet your wild bird pictures that were taken in #PulaskiCountyUSA to us! @PulCoUSA #BirdPulaski

Tweet your wild bird pictures that were taken in #PulaskiCountyUSA to us! @PulCoUSA #BirdPulaski

For more information about things to do in Pulaski County, Missouri visit Pulaski County Tourism Bureau at http://www.PulaskiCountyUSA.com or http://www.facebook.com/PulaskiCountyUSA.

For more information on bird watching in Missouri visit The Audubon Society of Missouri at http://www.mobirds.org or http://www.facebook.com/153704444682191.

Hitchhikers Guide To Pulaski County

As Interstate 44 runs through the heart of Pulaski County in central Missouri, many motorists travel to our area. Pulaski County is I-44’s midway point between the Illinois State Line and the Oklahoma State Line. Many travelers look forward to seeing the Pulaski County signs on the roadway because they know when they need to top off their tank, grab a bite, are in need of a “sit down” meal or a clean, comfortable bed, that Pulaski County has plenty of options to meet their needs.

Pulaski County has much to offer to the traveler who departs from the Interstate; the traveler who has a case of wanderlust; the traveler who knows that the best parts of America are not found on the bland ribbons of pavement that criss cross the country. Put some color in your travels by taking Pulaski County’s “back roads”- they will take you to some of our hidden gems.

Ironically, Pulaski County’s most famous back road was once the crown jewel of the transportation system in the United States. Entrepreneurs from the past called it the “Main Street of America”, the highway departments called it Route 66, and those who seek it out today lovingly call it the “Mother Road”. Pulaski County has 33 original miles of the Mother Road that roughly parallels today’s Interstate. Travelers from all over the world seek out Devils Elbow. Devils Elbow, once a popular fishing and resort community, is a throwback to a simpler time. Tip- Stop in at the Elbow Inn & BBQ and have an ice cold beer and a fiery Tater Burger in an original Route 66 Missouri roadhouse. The nearby bluffs overlooking the gentle (and very floatable!) Big Piney River were once listed as one of Missouri’s Eight Scenic Wonders.

The Elbow Inn Bar & BBQ, an internationally known roadhouse on Route 66 in Devils Elbow, Missouri. The building is original to Route 66 and was once the home of Munger-Moss Sandwich Shop which was well known all along Route 66 for their barbecue.

The Elbow Inn Bar & BBQ, an internationally known roadhouse on Route 66 in Devils Elbow, Missouri. The building is original to Route 66 and was once the home of Munger-Moss Sandwich Shop which was well known all along Route 66 for their barbecue.

The original 1923 Route 66 Bridge crossing the Big Piney River at Devils Elbow in Pulaski County, Missouri.

The original 1923 Route 66 Bridge crossing the Big Piney River at Devils Elbow in Pulaski County, Missouri.

A quick two mile hop on a spur of Route 66, Missouri Avenue in Saint Robert, will lead you to Fort Leonard Wood. Fort Leonard Wood is one of the largest military training installations in the United States and millions of Army careers have started here. All branches of the United States military are represented here- Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, even Coast Guard. One of Fort Leonard Wood’s hidden gems, actually in plain sight, is the Mahaffey Museum Complex. This is the only location in the country where you can visit three U.S. Army Branch (Military Police, Engineer, Chemical Corps) museums in a single location. Tip- The museum complex is open to the public and there is no charge for admission. Leaving Fort Leonard Wood to the west, via Polla Road, you can pay your respects to our nation’s veterans at the Missouri Veterans Cemetery- Fort Leonard Wood. The cemetery is home to the newly dedicated Korean War Memorial monument. Pulaski County is very appreciative and supportive of our military and those who have served and you will see examples of our patriotism in many places throughout the county.

Korean War Memorial monument at Missouri Veterans Cemetery- Fort Leonard Wood is a gift to Korean War Veterans from Pulaski County Korean Association.

Korean War Memorial monument at Missouri Veterans Cemetery- Fort Leonard Wood is a gift to Korean War Veterans from Pulaski County Korean Association.

When exiting Missouri Veterans Cemetery, motor west on Route 66 to Missouri Route 7. This two lane highway heads northwest to the Frisco Railroad town of Richland. The road itself has been referred to as one of the best drives in the United States by driving enthusiasts. This road snakes its way through the Ozark hills and bluffs that were cut by the meandering (and very floatable!) Gasconade River. Once in Richland, make sure to visit H.E. Warren Store. This family owned department store first opened its doors to the public in 1869 and has been serving the public ever since. Tip- Folks travel from many miles away to purchase Levi’s jeans and quilting supplies at H.E. Warren.

For more information about Pulaski County USA, including more unique things to see and do (including our Antique & Sweet Treat Trail, Veterans Memorial Tour, & an audio tour of Route 66), outdoor activities, lodging and dining options call 573.336.6355 to order your complimentary Visitors Guide, log on to http://www.PulaskiCountyUSA.com, or visit our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/PulaskiCountyUSA. Our Visitors Center is located at 137 St. Robert Boulevard, Suite A in Saint Robert, Missouri and can easily be reached from Interstate 44 Exit 161. Ask us about our Veteran Thanks program!