The Most Beautiful & Spectacular State Parks in the Missouri Ozarks, Black River Float Trips, plus the Ozark Trail, Mark Twain National Forest, Dillard Mill Historic Site, Fort Davidson Historic Site, Council Bluff Lake, unlimited hiking and biking trails, historic towns and villages and nearby horseback riding and antiques shopping are here waiting just for you and your family to experience and explore!
Of course you can relax and enjoy fun activities here at Koinania like hiking and fishing at the lake, or play, swim and go fishing at the private river frontage which provides the best of old fashioned creek fishing for catching impressive small mouth bass.
For Missouri fishing regulations and guidelines or to purchase a fishing permit online before coming to Koinania, please click here.
Missouri Float Trips on Black River
Float Trips on the beautiful Black River
Enjoy Missouri canoeing at its best, or choose to take a relaxing float trip in rafts, tubes or kayaks. Black River floating is a pleasure for veteran and novice floaters alike, offering an ever changing outdoor experience spring through fall. The river is clear and beautiful as it gently moves through dense wooded forests and green meadows, winding past tall cliff walls dotted with caves and fern greenery. We will be happy to assist you with making arrangements for Black River Float trips. Here is a link to Black River outfitters in Lesterville.
Missouri Horseback Riding Nearby
Guests of Koinania really enjoy their trail rides at nearby Brushy Creek Resort. You may choose a 1 hour, 2 hour or 1/2 day ride with lunch included. Their trails take you through the Mark Twain National Forest and on the Ozark Trail. Phone 573-269-4600. Call to reserve or visit their website. When Brushy Creek is all booked up our guests go a little bit farther to Arcadia, at Arcadia Valley Stables. Call 573-546-1182 for reservations and enjoy trail riding there.
Missouri’s Best State Parks are near Koinania Valley Ranch
Taum Sauk Mountain State Park – Want to hike to the top of a mountain? Just park in the lot of Taum Sauk Mountain State Park and walk a mere 1,000 feet on a paved path to Missouri’s highest point. Here, an elevation marker sits, guiding visitors to the mountain’s 1,772 foot summit. If that’s not enough, the hike to Mina Sauk Falls will take your breath away. Read in depth information about Taum Sauk Mountain State Park & find map and directions here.
Elephant Rocks State Park – A train of circus elephants dance trunk-to-tail to form an awe-inspiring sight to the young and to the young at heart. This is the appeal of Elephant Rocks State Park, named for a train of gigantic pink granite boulders perched atop a hill, just like circus elephants! Read comprehensive information and see map, directions and photos of Elephant Rocks here.
Johnson’s Shut-ins State Park – Nearly 1.5 billion years ago, violently explosive volcanoes hurled hot gasses and ash into the air. The ashes and gas fell and cooled, forming rhyolite rock. A billion years later, shallow inland seas swallowed the ancient, worn-down mountains, burying the igneous rock under thousands of feet of sedimentary rock such as limestone, sandstone, shale and dolomite. Read much more about Johnson’s Shut-ins and the unique geology of the park here.
Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park has reopened following the breach of the Ameren UE Hydroelectric Plant in 2005. The day-use area includes the shut-ins, picnic areas, a series of pedestrian trails, access to the East Fork of the Black River, several interpretive shelters and the park store. Visitors can access the scour channel from a new trail, which can be accessed from Highway N. The park will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and the store is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. (From MO State Parks)
The Mark Twain National Forest is popular with hunters, trappers, anglers and persons who enjoy observing, studying and photographing wildflowers and wildlife. The Forest has about 320 species of birds, 75 species of mammals and 125 species of amphibians and reptiles. Game species include whitetail deer, turkey, quail, woodcocks, doves, ducks, geese, rabbits, raccoons, squirrels, opossums, woodchucks, bobcats, and coyotes. Named after Missouri native, Mark Twain, the Mark Twain National Forest is located in 29 counties across southern and central Missouri. Our St. Francois Mountain section is known for its clear spring-fed rivers and streams, lakes, rocky bluffs, pastoral views and shaded trails. To read much more about The Mark Twain National Forest and the Sutton Bluff Recreation area click here. If you want to bring and ride your ATV or motorcyle, you may ride them at Sutton’s Bluff but will need a county permit to do so.
The Ozark Trail ~ Missouri Ozarks Sections in Iron and Reynolds Counties – The Ozarks are one of the most spectacularly diverse places on Earth. They offer everything from mountains, knobs and hills dotted with caves and igneous glades and scattered with hardwood forests and stands of pines—to beautiful valleys filled with clear, meandering streams fed by sparkling springs and an abundance of wildflowers and wildlife. In order to allow the world to fully enjoy the magnificence and splendor of this ancient treasure trove of natural beauty, the idea for the Ozark Trail was conceived. In the 1970s work began on a vision to build a scenic and varied route in the Missouri Ozarks, from just outside St. Louis southwest to the Arkansas border, to eventually connect with the Ozark Highlands Trail, creating a 700-mile through-trail. Governmental agencies, environmental groups and dedicated bands of volunteers have now completed over 350 miles of the Missouri section of the Ozark Trail. For an in depth look at the Ozark Trail Sections in our region, see OTA’s website.
Council Bluff Lake Recreation Area and Trail
The largest lake in the Mark Twain National Forest serves anglers, campers, picnickers, hikers, bicyclists and swimmers. Fish year round in this 440 acre lake stocked with large mouth bass, red ear sunfish, bluegill, crappie and catfish. Picnic or swim at the 54,000 sq. foot sand beach. At Chapel Hill Beach there is a concession stand, changing rooms, flush toilet, water fountains and showers. There is also a small play area near the beach. Additionally, there are canoes and paddle boats available for rent when the beach is open. Council Bluff Trail is a 12-mile loop along the lake shore providing hiking and mountain biking opportunities. For more about Council Bluff Lake and directions see this site.
The above listed are just a few of the spectacular outdoor recreational areas in our Region. There’s so much more! Read about Buford Mountain State Forest, Crane Lake Conservation Area, Bell Mountain Wilderness Area, Ketcherside Mountain State Forest, Marble Creek Recreation Area, Millstream Gardens Whitewater Area, Silver Mines Recreation Area, Grasshopper Hollow, The Royal Gorge at Ketcherside Mountain Conservation Area, Logan Creek Conservation Area and Deer Run Conservation Areas Visit these spectacular places and you’ll see why we are the outdoor recreation capital of Missouri!
Missouri State Historic Sites
Fort Davidson State Historic Site & The Civil War Battle of Pilot Knob
The towns of Pilot Knob, Ironton and Arcadia are rich in MO Civil War lore. Because of its strategic importance as the southern terminus of the St. Louis & Iron Mountain Railroad, Union soldiers occupied Pilot Knob and the Arcadia Valley throughout the war. Fort Davidson, the target of the Battle of Pilot Knob in 1864, is a hexagonal earthwork constructed by the Union Army and stands 300 yards from the base of Pilot Knob Mountain. The assault on Fort Davidson by Confederate troops left 1,500 soldiers dead or wounded. The fort and site are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The next full-scale reenactment of the Battle of Pilot Knob will take place in September. To learn much more about Fort Davidson and the Battle of Pilot Knob, visit this site.
Dillard Mill State Historic Site
Dillard Mill, located in nearby Crawford County only a short drive away, is particularly relevant today in light of our country’s challenge to find renewable energy resources. We encourage you to visit Dillard Mill Historic Site where you’ll witness first-hand how water was turned in to power to grind wheat into flour. A barn-red mill nestled among green trees beside blue waters rolling over a rock dam create the colorful setting of one of Missouri’s most picturesque historic sites. Completed in 1908, Dillard Mill sits along Huzzah Creek and was the second mill built at the site. Learn more about Dillard Mill here.
Missouri Historic Towns, Landmarks and Sites
To take an online tour of the history of our area, please visit this website of Historic Towns and start planning your Missouri history vacation at Koinania Valley Ranch Resort.
Missouri Antiques Shopping
If you love to go shopping for antiques and collectibles, antique shops and specialty gift and craft stores dot the entire region. Tour these charming shops in the Arcadia Valley Region and Black River area at this website here. All are within a short distance from Koinania Valley Ranch Resort. Many of our guests also love to shop in nearby historic Caledonia, which stands today much as it did in the 1800s.