Totally Relax and float through The National Ozark Scenic Riverways on the cool Spring Fed Jack’s Fork River. Close your eyes and hear the sounds of nature as you peacefully float from Alley Spring right down to our gravel bar. This is about a 7 mile float and typically takes 3-4 hours. But hey, take as long as you like. Relax and have some fun! Call Windy’s Canoe at 573-226-3404 to reserve your equipment. They’ll pick you up here and bring you up river and get you launched. Couldn’t be simpler.
You’ll serenely float by miles of tranquil nature and land right on our gravel bar. (If you go under the bridge, you just passed us. Back up 300 yards!) Don’t forget to bring a cooler with some snacks and cold beverages for the kids. This is an excellent Family Togetherness Adventure and it’s something that everyone will remember for many years to come. Don’t forget to bring a trash container. Keep our Rivers and Parks clean.
Jacks Fork River – Mile-By-Mile Description
0.0 MDC South Prong Access at Hwy. Y Bridge. Beautiful section, but not recommended during low-water.
6.8 State Hwy. 17 Bridge at “Buck Hollow.” Usual put-in for upper section of river. Park Service campground.
9.2 Salvation Army camp on left. Access, camp.
9.6 Blue Spring comes from cave on left nearly hidden from river by boulders. Narrow run just below spring may be difficult.
12.6 Jam Up Bluff and Cave. River entrance of cave is one of the most spectacular cave entrances in state. Cave may be explored in daylight back to lake which is plunge-basin for falls from upper part of cave. Upper section entered through a sinkhole in Lost Hollow which may be reached by climbing up the bluff.
15.9 Ebb and Flow Spring on left.
16.2 Rymers Access and campground on right.
17.1 Bunker Hill (Missouri State Teachers Association resort) on left. No access.
22.2 Leatherwood Creek on left.
25.2 Bay Creek on left. Access, camp.
31.0 Alley Spring, 10th largest spring in state. Old mill, camping, access.
32.3 Horse Hollow on left. The old Salem, Winona and Southern R.R. used to run up this hollow and continue up Sinking Branch after following the Jacks Fork from Mahan’s Creek.
35.3 Mahan’s Creek on right. Site of old R.R. river crossing just above mouth of creek.
37.3 Eminence. Stores, cafes, lodging. Take-out at Lions Ball Park on right side, one-quarter mile below Hwy. 19 Bridge.
41.9 Shawnee Creek on right. Access, camp.
42.3 Little Shawnee Creek on right.
44.6 Confluence with Current River. Best take-out 0.75 mile downstream at ferry landing.
Less than 25 yards from any Cabin or Motel Room, is Access to The Cool Spring Fed Jack’s Fork River. The Jack’s Fork is one of two rivers in Missouri that are part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways system. Swim Depths vary from “ankle deep” to “over your head,” so there’s something for everyone in your family. Bring a blanket and soak in the sun as the kids frolic in the river. Or cool yourself and put your chair right in the river and take in the gorgeous scenery. Our “Beach” is a Natural River Rock Beach, so we suggest some type of river shoes.
There is an abundance of freshwater fish in the Jack’s Fork. You can fish from the shore, wade or use a local guide. We can arrange a guide service for you if you so desire. (As a novice fisherman, I highly recommend using a guide. It seems these fish went to school!!!)
Below is an excerpt from Family Outdoors.
The Jacks Fork River is one of the best in the Ozarks. Flowing through beautiful Ozark canyons and hills, this stream has much to offer both in the way of smallmouth and scenery. This popular float fishing stream flows through beautiful, remote territory, and is truly a sight to see.
As Ozark streams go, the Jacks Fork is more isolated than most. Simply put, it is located in the middle of nowhere. Starting high in the Ozark hills, and floating through the beautiful Ozark plateau all the way to it’s mouth at the Current River. It is a high gradient river, and is heavily spring-fed. Both of these attributes predispose the Jacks Fork to excellence as a smallmouth stream. The river has an abundance of riffles and deep pools, and has an excellent food supply. It has been largely untouched by man, especially now, due to the fact that it is protected by the Ozark National Scenic Riverways Park. Add on the river’s easy access, and you have a nearly perfect stream.
The river begins at the South Prong Access, where the South Fork of the Jacks Fork joins in to form the main river. From that point down to Buck Hollow, the river flows through a beautiful Ozark Mountain valley. This portion of the river doesn’t usually carry a lot of water. It is floatable in the spring, but is purely a wade fishing situation most of the time. The smallmouth in these far upper reaches are both abundant and unpressured. It’s a good place to fish if you are willing to put in a bit of work either dragging a lot of riffles or wading through long stretches of water. Late spring, after the water has warmed, but not yet dropped, is the magical time here. You can float through easily and often catch large numbers of quality smallmouth bass.
The ten mile stretch from Buck Hollow to Rhymers Access is a different animal. This portion of the river flows through the “Jacks Fork Canyon.” While this crack in the earth won’t be giving the Grand Canyon a run for it’s money, it is quite beautiful and rugged. The water through the canyon is a nice mixture of fast riffles and deep pools. This is very floatable water during the spring. During the summer, it can be done if you are willing to drag through a lot of riffles, but it’s best to wade when the water is down. This is probably the best smallmouth water on the Jacks Fork. Note that the Special Smallmouth Bass Management area begins at Buck Hollow and extends to Eminence. At this writing, the daily limit is one fish, with an 18? minimum length limit.
The fifteen mile portion of the river from Rhymers Access to Alley Spring also offers excellent fishing. The bass size continues to be relatively large, and there are good numbers throughout the river. The river slows down a little bit in this stretch and moves out of the canyon, but otherwise the character of the stream and the fishery remains much the same.
Alley Spring changes the river significantly. First, and possibly most important, it makes the Jacks Fork below the spring floatable year-round, a definite advantage. There is an important disadvantage however. The cold spring flow chills the water significantly, and lowers the bass numbers somewhat. Still, the fishery between Alley Spring and Eminence remains above average, if not quite as excellent as further upstream. We must say that Alley Spring is one of the most beautiful in the world, and is worth a visit in it’s own right.
The Jacks Fork between Eminence and it’s mouth at the Current River also provides good smallmouth water. By this point, there are more deep, slow pools, but there are still plenty of riffles to keep the water from stagnating. This water is popular with recreation floaters, which can complicate the fishing somewhat. Still, the lower Jacks Fork has an excellent smallmouth population and is a very worthwhile place to fish.
There are miles and miles of lush forest covered trails that wind in and around the bluffs and caves of the Jacks Fork River. Plan a short hike or an all day trip. No Pressures!! It’s up to you. Remember to bring your GPS and compass.
Horse, 4 Wheeler, or Bicycle- If you want to view nature from a different perspective, Ride The Trails. Rent your Stallion at one on the local Ranches. If you’ve brought your own 4-Wheelers and Mountain Bikes, we will point you in the best direction for adventure and fun.
There are Springs and Caves just minutes from the Resort. We hope your day includes a visit to one of these Marvelous Natural Wonders.
Just 6 miles from The Resort. With its beautiful turquoise water, Alley Spring has a 100 year old grist mill which you can tour. The mill is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Stop in for an up close look at one of the Ozarks’ most famous landmarks. There is no charge, but donations help offset operating costs. Located six miles west of Eminence, Missouri, on State Highway 106. Books and postcards may be purchased at the mill. The mill machinery is no longer operational, although restoration efforts are underway. Alley was home, farm, and school for people who lived here a century ago. Dances, baseball games, and roller-skating were all part of Alley’s busier days. The first mill was built in 1868. A post office was established, named after a prominent local farming family, Alley. From that day to this, the area has been known as Alley Spring, Alley Mill, or just plain Alley. The present building was constructed during 1893-1894 by George Washington McCaskill as a merchant mill. With a turbine rather than a water wheel, and with rollers rather than stone grist stones, it was considered to be very “high tech” for its day. It served the needs of the local community by processing the farmers’ grain. Originally unpainted, it was first painted white with green trim, then later the famous red color associated with Alley Mill today.
Round Spring is located approximately 13 miles north of Eminence on Highway 19. The spring flows into an almost perfectly circular cavern that has collapsed, and from there it travels through a natural tunnel before it emerges into the spring branch. It is believed that a portion of the spring’s recharge area is to the northeast of Spring Valley, which means that the water would have to flow under the Current River to reach the spring. Round Spring was also one of the first parks in the Missouri state park system (1932). The Round Spring State Park was incorporated into the Ozark National Scenic Riverways in 1972.
This is the largest spring in Missouri and the largest freshwater spring in the United
States. On an average day, around 278 million gallons of water gush forth from subterranean passages, swelling the nearby Current River. Experiments in which harmless dye is placed into the ground have shown that water travels from as far as 45 miles away through underground passages before surfacing at Big Spring.
This is one of Missouri’s deepest springs and is located approximately 12 miles east of Eminence on Highway 106. The spring flows slowly from a very deep cave shaft that is situated at the base of a dolomite bluff.
Nine miles southeast of Eminence on Highway NN is one of the finest examples of this geology in the state, Rocky Falls Shut-in. Rocky Falls is an impressive, steep cascading waterfall that pours into a large pool of water. There are parking and picnic areas available right by the water. This is a great place to have a picnic and explore the waterfall area and do some day hiking. One section of the Ozark trail hikes right past the falls.
Welch Spring is located approximately 2 miles north of Akers on Highway K and is the fifth largest spring in Missouri. The spring flows from the base of a wooded dolomite hill near the historic Welch Hospital, and then flows to the river over a rock impoundment. Thomas Welch homesteaded Welch Spring, in 1855, and a gristmill was run on the spring-branch until nearly 50 years after the Civil War. An Illinois doctor named C.H. Diehl purchased the spring and the area surrounding the spring in 1913 for eight hundred dollars. Dr Diehl believed that the spring water had healing properties and that cool, pollen free air coming from the adjacent cave would be beneficial for people with asthma, emphysema, and tuberculosis, which was called “consumption.” After Dr. Diehl’s death the property, including the hospital and spring, were sold to a group of people who managed it as a trout fishing resort; until it was purchased by the National Park Service in 1967.
Akers Ferry, located 30 miles outside of Eminence is the last ferry operating in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. The ferry has been providing transportation across the Current River to vehicles for around 50 years and is a unique part of Ozark history. This ferry is a throwback to the days when not all rivers were crossed by bridges. The ferry costs $4 and operates during daylight hours.
Pulltite Spring is located close to Pulltite campground, about 14 miles north of Eminence off of highway EE. The Spring branch carries a daily flow of 38 million gallons from Pulltite Spring into the Current River. The spring flows from the rock structures at the bottom of a cliff forming a small pool. Pulltite Spring gained its name from the “tight pull” of the horse drawn teams down a steep hill next to the mills that were positioned on the spring-branch. The spring was purchased by St Louis businessmen in 1911 and was run as a fishing resort, until the area was acquired by the National Park Service in 1967. The Pulltite Cabin is across the river from the campground, next to Pulltite Spring and the only way to see the cabin is by use of a boat or by wading across the river. It was built as a vacation lodge by the six man “Pulltight Corporation,” which was created to develop the cabin into a retreat facility. The cabin was completed on the day before Thanksgiving in 1913 and is open for your exploration. The National Park Service hopes to restore it to its former beauty.
Round Spring Cave is heavily decorated with formations and the National Park Service conducts daily tours by lantern, that take about two hours. Tours operate Memorial Day – Labor Day.