The Ozark Mountains offer a massive area for outdoor adventure. From exciting water activities to peaceful hikes through the forest, this place has it all. If you’re ready to embark on a trip you’ll never forget, the Ozarks should be on your list.
In this post, we’ll talk about the several outdoor activities and attractions in the Ozark Mountains. We’ll also discuss where to stop on the drive over, some useful travel tips, and where to camp!
About the Ozark Mountains
The Ozark Mountains cover thousands of miles. In fact, this range extends across five states; Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Illinois. However, the majority of the range is found in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas.
These mountains are home to rivers, creeks, waterfalls, caves, and crystal-clear springs. No matter the time of year, the Ozark Mountains are an incredible place to visit. Outdoor adventures are found around every corner!
Where to Stop Along the Way
When you leave for your road trip to the Ozarks, you don’t have to wait till you arrive to start the adventure—there are several cool stops on the ride over!
Check out the following areas to visit along the drive:
If you’re passing through Louisiana on your trek, consider going fishing, golfing, or paddling! As 15 percent of the state is covered in water, it’s the perfect place to grab a paddle! Be sure to check out the Cajun Coast Paddling Trails for some fun paddling excursions. When you pass the border into Arkansas, soak up the nature in DeGray State Park or Millwood State Park.
Passing through Kentucky on your drive? If so, consider stopping at Mammoth Cave National Park. This is your chance to see one of the longest-known cave systems on the planet! Also, try a hike on Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail or Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail. If you’re driving through the great state of Tennessee, you can’t pass up Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You’ll instantly see why it’s the most popular national park in the country!
Heading through Iowa on your trip? While you won’t find many mountains, you can still experience some outdoor fun. Gray’s Lake in Des Moines is a popular area, featuring a gorgeous lake in the middle of a 167-acre park. Wildcat Den State Park and Lacey-Keosauqua State Park are a few other cool places to visit. If you’re in Minnesota, you have to get out on the water. With 10,000 lakes to choose from, you’ll have no shortage of options. You should also check out the many activities on Lake Superior—the largest of the Great Lakes!
Passing through Colorado on your drive? While you have several hours to go on your journey, you should check out the nearby beauty. Some of our favorite Colorado destinations include the towns of Telluride, Breckenridge, Crested Butte, and Boulder. If you find yourself in Kansas, consider stopping at Rock City, Big Basin Prairie Preserve, or Pillsbury Crossing.
The Ozark Mountains—Countless Adventure Opportunities
No matter the outdoor activity you enjoy, chances are you’ll find it in the Ozark Mountains. Creeks, rivers, waterfalls, lakes, and wildlife are found throughout the entire area.
Check out some of our favorite outdoor activities in the Ozarks:
Love to hike? If so, the Ozark Mountains can’t be beat. From easy trails to challenging multi-day excursions, this area offers a bit of everything. You won’t believe the number of hiking trails in the region! Many of these routes take you past waterfalls, creeks, and majestic rock formations.
Here are a few of the best hikes in the Ozarks:
- Whitaker Point Trail
- Sam’s Throne
- Big Bluff
- White Rock Mountain
- Kings Bluff and Pedestal Rocks
No matter what trail you take, stunning views will accompany your journey. And you may get a workout, too!
With hundreds of miles of mountain biking trails, this area is a biker’s dream. You’ll find winding trails up mountains, peaceful strolls along the water, and downhill descents to get your heart racing. No matter your ability level, the Ozarks have biking trails for you.
Check out the following mountain biking trails in the area:
- Ankle Express Trail
- Fossil Flats Trail
- Lake Wappapello Trail
- Trail of Four Winds
- Lakeview Lodge Trail
Nothing beats biking in the Ozarks. If you’re looking for a biking adventure you’ll remember for life, take a trip out here!
Looking to go for a swim? As temperatures can get up there, the Ozarks offer several places to cool off. Take a look at some of the popular swimming holes in the area:
- Falling Water Falls
- Bayou Bluff
- Big Hole/Blue Hole
- Blanchard Springs Recreation Area
After a long day of hiking, cooling off in a pristine swimming hole is an amazing experience. And luckily, you can find these spots close to a few campgrounds!
Looking for a magical camping experience in the heart of nature? With several campgrounds and RV parks, the Ozark Mountains offer various camping options. And best of all, many campgrounds are close to outdoor attractions and popular landmarks.
Check out the following RV parks and campgrounds in the area:
- Grizzly’s RV Park
- Echo Bluff State Park
- Green Tree RV Park & Campground
- Haw Creek Falls Recreation Area
- Ozark View RV Park
Campgrounds are found all over the place in this mountain range, and most of them are perfect for a campervan!
With water everywhere in the Ozarks, it’s time to grab your kayak and hop in! Whether you enjoy kayaking, paddleboarding, or canoeing, the Ozarks have you covered. A few popular areas for these activities include Current River, North Fork of the White River, Jacks Fork, and Eleven Point River. Many of these spots are also great for fishing!
Caverns are scattered throughout this mountain range. Whether you’re an expert cave explorer or a newbie, this place offers unbelievable cavern experiences. In fact, you can find thousands of caves in the Ozark Mountains. A few popular options in the region include:
- Mystic Caverns
- Onyx Cave
- Crystal Dome Caverns
If you want to learn more about these caves and possibly see some secret areas, consider taking a professional tour!
The Ozark Mountains are one of the most beautiful places in the country. But to experience your trip to the fullest, keep the following travel tips in mind:
- Prepare for various weather conditions: With different elevations and terrain, the weather in this region can change very rapidly.
- Bring bug spray: The Ozarks are full of life—including bugs! Make sure to pack your insect repellant.
- Be ready for warm summer weather: The month of July has average high temps in the 90s, so plan accordingly.
- Learn about the local history: This area has a very interesting past, so be sure to take a tour or visit a local museum.
Here’s more information about some activities in the region:
- Ankle Express Trail: Starts at Greenleaf Lake Dam
- Trail of Four Winds: Located near Brumley, Missouri
- Lake Wappapello Trail: Found in Lake Wappapello State Park
Campgrounds & RV Parks
- Echo Bluff State Park: 34489 Echo Bluff Drive, Eminence, MO 65466
- Green Tree RV Park & Campground: 560 W Van Buren, Eureka Springs, AR 72632
- Ozark View RV Park: 18412 Old U.S. Hwy 65, Omaha, AR 72662
While there are several popular areas in the Ozarks, the region can get crowded. If you want something off the beaten path, here are some hidden gems to check out:
- Lost Valley
- Blanchard Spring
- Pam’s Grotto
- Pedestal Rocks
- Spainhour Falls
- Richland Creek
For finding some peace and quiet in the middle of nature, these places have you covered.
Experience the Ozarks in a New Campervan!
If you’re searching for a brand new campervan for your adventure through the Ozarks, Rec Van has the options you can trust! We carry a wide variety of new and used campervans from some of the top brands in the industry.
Check out our inventory of available campervans today, and give us a call with any questions!