Current River

Why You Should Visit

The spring-fed waters of the Current twine through dense oak-hickory forests, scenic bluffs, and prominent rock ledges. Each year, more than 1.5 million fly-fishers, paddlers, bird watchers, hikers, swimmers, spelunkers, and other nature lovers visit the Current River for its stunning scenery and many recreational opportunities. 


The Current River starts near Montauk in the Ozark Mountains, and flows nearly 184 miles before emptying into the Black River in Arkansas.  In Missouri, the river is nestled in the heart of the Ozarks, and can be accessed at numerous points along its banks.

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site

The watershed is home to an impressive array of plants and animals, including more than 35 globally significant species.  Some of these species are found nowhere else on earth; others have their healthiest populations in this region.  The Current watershed is also a major breeding habitat for migrating and nesting birds. Listen to Director of Conservation Science Doug Ladd's KWMU commentary on the importance of this river.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing

Unsustainable agricultural and forestry practices pose significant threats to the Current River.  The Conservancy works directly with private landowners to promote sustainable land use, primarily through conservation easements.  Additionally, the Conservancy collaborates with local farmers to develop affordable and sustainable methods to keep livestock out of the river.  Preventing streambank erosion is another top priority; the Conservancy has worked with partners such as the Ozark National Scenic Riverways to restore hardwood forests and canebreaks. 


Watch a Slideshow

Enjoy photos of the breathtakingly diverse Missouri Ozarks.


Take a Float Down the Current River

Follow "Living St. Louis" producer Jim Kirchherr down the Current River in the Ozark National Scenic Riverway.

The Current River is the most biologically significant river in the Midwest.            

What to See: Plants

Ozark Crocus (endemic to the Ozarks, this plant is more common in the Current watershed than anywhere else on earth), Showy Lady's Slipper Orchid, Bush’s Skullcap (found only in the Ozarks), Fire Pink, Golden Seal, Starry Rosinweed.

What to See: Animals

Ozark hellbender salamander, Current River saddled darter, worm-eating warbler, summer tanager, western fanshell mussel, Ozark crayfish.

Water levels on the Current River vary seasonally.  Contact the Ozarks office at (573) 323-8790 for help planning your trip.

The three spots listed below are just a few of the numerous areas along the river where you may launch your kayak or canoe, go for a swim, or spend a few hours fly fishing.

Rounds Springs in located north of Eminence, MO on Highway 19 in Shannon County, and has the highest diversity of any spring branch along the Current River. The access is located north of the 19 Highway bridge.  This area offers nearby accesses that would allow you a half day to a full day float on the river. 

Alley Springs is located on the Jacks Fork River and is located just west of Eminence, MO on Highway 106 in Shannon County. The most popular trip is a half day float to the quaint river town of Eminence, MO.

Two Rivers in located at the confluence of the Jacks Fork River and the Current River located east of Eminence, MO on Highway V in Shannon County.   From here you can float the larger system of the Current River below the confluence or you can enjoy the smaller Jacks Fork and the Current River above the confluence.


Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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