The Mark Twain National Forest is popular with hunters, trappers, anglers and persons who enjoy observing, studying and photographing wildflowers and wildlife. The Forest has about 320 species of birds, 75 species of mammals and 125 species of amphibians and reptiles. Game species include whitetail deer, turkey, quail, woodcocks, doves, ducks, geese, rabbits, raccoons, squirrels, opossums, woodchucks, bobcats, and coyotes.
Named after Missouri native, Mark Twain, the Mark Twain National Forest is located in 29 counties across southern and central Missouri. Our St. Francois Mountain section is known for its clear spring-fed rivers and streams, lakes, rocky bluffs, pastoral views and shaded trails. The forest gets a variety of visitors through the year including spring and fall, when color changes the forest. In the spring, serviceberry, redbuds and dogwoods paint the winter landscape in pinks and whites. In the fall starting mid September, the oak hickory forest transforms from greens to yellows, peaches, reds, burgundies and dark purples. The height of fall color is usually mid-October. Directions to the recreation areas within the magnificent Mark Twain National Forest follow each description.
A two-fold wildlife goal of Mark Twain National Forest is to maintain viable populations of all species while also affording a medley of activities that will allow humans to enjoy them — everything from hunting and fishing to wildlife viewing and photography.” USDA Forest Service
Except where posted otherwise, hunting and fishing with a valid Missouri license is permitted on National Forest lands.
Bicycles and mountain bikes are generally permitted on trails but may be prohibited, such as in designated wilderness areas. Motorized vehicles may be used only on open Forest roads or designated ATV trails. There are designated trails for ATV use (permit required) at Sutton Bluff Recreation Area. All other use of motor vehicles is prohibited.