I have fond childhood memories of spending weekends at Roaring River State Park near Cassville, Missouri. My parents are avid trout fishermen and my brother, sister, and I would join our parents, with the occasional babysitter, and relax under the giant Sycamore trees, feed fish in the hatchery, and walk the trails up and down the river and throughout the park.
Last Sunday, my in-laws joined Josh, Ben, Maddie, and I as we came for a day of fishing and exploring. It’s an easy ninety minutes from Springfield, and cell phone navigation should get you there easily. The Google directions place it at 12716 Farm Road 2239, Cassville, MO 65625, or the website can give you directions to print.
The nature center at the park has hardly changed over the past 30 years, but the new store is nice. In September of 2015, it was announced that the original lodge built in 1938 will receive a $1 million remodel in the coming years. Other larger state parks have been announced since then, and I’m not sure if the progress on the remodel.
Trails: We explored the hatchery and spring, then hiked the nearby, steep but short Deer Leap trail up over the cave and spring. We crossed the road to the Devil’s Ktchen trail which coveres a steep, rocky area with apartment sized boulders from a collapsed cave system. There are also wet weather creeks and a small cave along the trail.
Last time we visited with my parents, my dad, Ben, and I hiked while my mom and Josh were fishing (before Maddie was born). We hiked the short springhouse trail through an old homestead and and the River Trail which stays along the river, then looped back taking part of the Firetower Trail.
The trails are well explained on the Roaring River State Park’s site. We stopped plenty of times for drinks and snacks, had a picnic lunch and made sure we kept a park map picked up at the main store when we came in.
In addition to the giant sycamores I vividly remember from my childhood, we absolutely loved the old Osage Orange trees along the stream that made for the perfect climbing and exploring area for the kids. We also played at one of the two playgrounds for a good chunk of the afternoon while Josh and Tim were fishing.
Campgrounds: We haven’t yet stayed at this state park with our camper, but it’s on our list when we get a bigger camper and can go without water hookups for a full weekend. Right now, we prefer at least electric / water sites to make it through a weekend easily because our tanks are so very small. There are three campgrounds here, with 126 electric only sites, and all are the typical larger, beautiful state park sites with nearby fishing, trails and views to enjoy. Campground 1 was my favorite. The campsites were large and shaded, and there was a rocky bluff with a creek just behind all of the campsites 24-46. This campground also has a large swimming pool at one end and a trailhead at the other. Campground 2 is much less shaded and more exposed. It still had huge sites, but is impacted quickly during flood seasons. Josh loved sites 95-98 and 104-107 because they backed right up to the river for a more private opportunity to fish. Campground 3 is the largest and busiest looking. They have more of the double sizes ‘family campsites’ and close proximity to the river and nature center. The campground description includes sewer / water / electric, but that is only one campsite, reserved for the campground host, I believe.
Roaring River is renowned for its stocked rainbow trout filled stream and hatchery. The day we were there, people were bringing in 3+lb trout to the store all morning. However, Roaring River has a lot more to offer. The campsites are beautiful, trails are fantastic, and we would love to come back in the summer and swim, hike, and fish some more.