Mark Twain National Forest
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  • Council Bluff

    The Council Bluff Recreation Area is perfect for anyone looking to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. The Wild Boar Campground and sheltered picnic area, available for individual families or large groups, is next to the largest lake in the Mark Twain National Forest.

    The area provides ample opportunities for camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, swimming and more.

    Located in southern Missouri, the Council Bluff Lake was created by a dam across Big River. It is 440 acres in size and 87 feet deep in some places.

    The Chapel Hill Beach is at the eastern end of the campground and provides 54,000 square-feet of sandy beach. Visitors can either walk or drive to the lake.

    Boating is a popular pastime on the lake, but all boats on the lake must operate at a no-wake speed. Visitors can access the water via the two boat ramps located at the lake. 

    Canoeing, swimming and fishing are also available. Anglers can expect a catch of a variety of freshwater fish, including bass bluegills, catfish and crappies. 

    The 12-mile Council Bluff Trail encircles the lake, with spurs to the campground. Hikers can enjoy scenic views of the lake and a look at the Mark Twain wilderness. 

    Waterfowl hunting is permitted on Council Bluff Lake and the nearby Enough Fields provide upland game opportunities. A variety of wildlife makes its home in the heavily wooded area.


    Operational Hours:

    Beach: Memorial Day to Labor Day 10:00AM – 8:00PM 

    Campground: Open Year-Round 6:00AM – 10:00PM Campground quiet hours 10:00PM - 6:00AM

    Boat Ramp: Open Year-Round

    Lake Shore Trail: Open Year-Round


    Reservations:

    Reservations can be made at https://www.recreation.gov/ All reservations must be made at least 4 days in advance of arrival. Group sites and picnic area pavilion can be reserved up to 12 months in advance. Standard sites can be reserved up to 6 months in advance.


    Fees:

    Day-Use Fees: $3 per vehicle; $10 per bus, $20 for season pass; Group picnic area pavilion: $25/day; Campsite (Non-Electric): $10.00 single and $20 double sites.


    Restrictions:

    No food, glass containers or pets on beach. Boat motors are limited to 10 horsepower or must be operated at a no wake speed if larger than 10 horsepower. Drinking water is not available in the campground from Nov. 1 to April 1. Additional fees are collected for use of the boat ramp Additional fees are charged for parking Horses and off-road vehicles are prohibited in developed areas.


    Directions:

    From Potosi, take Highway P south for 10 miles to C Highway junction. Continue on C Highway for less than a mile to DD Highway junction. Turn left on DD Highway and continue for approximately 5 miles to the recreation area entrance.

    Nearest towns are Belgrade, Caledonia, Viburnum.


    Campground Camping:

    The Wild Boar Ridge Campground offers multiple single-family, large group and walk-in sites, available for tent and RV camping. Each is equipped with tables, lantern posts and campfire rings or campfire circles, with grills. 

    The campground is open year-round, has 39 single sites, 7 double sites, 9 walk-in sites, and 4 group sites, each with a table, fire ring, lantern post and (except for walk-in sites) a parking spur.

    Drinking water and vault toilets are conveniently located.

    Coin-operated hot showers available at Chapel Hill from 5/24/13 thru 9/3/13. Pressurized water hydrants available in central locations. 

    Fees:Single Sites - $10; Double Sites - $20;

    Accessible vault toilets and drinking water are provided. Electricity is not available, but some sites will accommodate RVs up to 40 feet in length. Some sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 


    Group Camping:

    The large group sites can accommodate up to 50 people and a nearby picnic pavilion can hold up to 75. The pavilion is paved, with a roof overhead and is equipped with multiple tables and grills. Group Sites cost $25 per night. Four group camp sites, which can accommodate up to 50 people each, are available for reservations at www.recreation.gov.


    Beach and playground:

    The beach provides accessible flush toilets, drinking water and coin-operated showers. A small play area with a slide and climbing structure is adjacent to the beach. The Trace Creek section of the Ozark Trail is located just west of the recreation area.


    Picnicking

    17 single-family picnic sites, including a minimum 8-foot table and pedestal fire grill. Several of these sites have accessible surfaces or deck. One site has a small shelter. A pavilion with 8 tables and a group grill is available for available for reservations through www.recreation.gov, or by calling 877-444-6777.


    Group Picnicking

    A pavilion with 8 tables and a group grill can accommodate group of up to 75 adjacent to the Chapel Hill Beach. This can be reserved through www.recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777.


    Lake and Pond Fishing:

    Red-ears, bass, sunfish, and catfish may be caught from shore, fishing pier, or boats. Council Bluff Lake is stocked with largemouth bass, red-ear, sunfish, bluegill, crappie and catfish. Fishing is permitted year round. There are 2 boat launches on Council Bluff Lake: Wild Boar Hollow and Enough. Fishing regulations are established by Missouri Department of Conservation.


    Day Hiking

    12 mile long Council Bluff Trail encircles the lake, with spurs to the campground. Trace Creek Section of the Ozark Trail is located just west of the recreation area. A printable brochure is available.


    Hunting - Game Bird/Waterfowl

    Waterfowl hunting is permitted on Council Bluff Lake and the Enough Fields provide upland game opportunities. Hunting regulations are established by Missouri Department of Conservation.