Watercress Recreation Area

The Basics

Watercress Recreation Area
Van Buren, MO

Phone: (573) 996-2153 (Eleven Point District Office)

Closest Towns: Van Buren

Directions: In Van Buren, proceed along US Hwy 60/Main Street to the National Park Service Office on Watercress Road; follow the black-topped road past the Office, making a left turn to the bottom of the hill, approximately 1/3 mile.

About Watercress Rec Area

Watercress Rec Area is situated on the Current River, within the city limits of Van Buren, MO. Located near the main visitor center for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Watercress is also only a short drive away from popular locations on the Current and Jacks Fork rivers. One nearby attraction is Big Spring, Missouri's largest spring, which is only five miles away.

Two pavilions are available, each offering electricity and lights, plus a few other amenities such as a bbq grill, tables, drinking water and flush toilets. The pavilions may be reserved at www.recreation.gov, or by calling 1-877-444-6777.

Camping is also avaialble at Watercress Rec Area. There are no electric hookups, but water is available. Sites are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis, and are not reservable. The campground is typically open from May through October. RVs up to 40' can be accomodated at this campground, but no hookups are available. There are 15 single units and 2 double units.

Watercress Rec Area also offers a concrete boat launch ramp, suitable for canoes & johnboats. Fishing is permitted year-round, and popular species include smallmouth bass, walleye, sunfish and catfish.

A 1.2 mile loop trail, the Songbird Trail, leads to Watercress Spring, and passes by remains of Civil War era earthworks overlooking the Current River.

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