Roaring River State Park – Our Trip Report & Guide

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Nestled in the southwest Ozark hills of Missouri, Roaring River State Park is an oasis for nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and adventure seekers alike. The park is known for its cold, spring-fed stream that offers visitors a chance to cleanse their souls while being surrounded by incredible views. With a variety of activities and attractions, this breathtaking park has something for everyone.

Roaring River State Park is particularly famous for being one of the three state parks stocked with rainbow trout, and anglers from all around the globe flock here year-round in pursuit of their trophy catch. Besides fishing, visitors can also explore the park’s numerous hiking trails, camping options, cabins, nature center, picnic sites, and shelters. Additionally, the Emory Melton Inn and Conference Center, with its rustic atmosphere, mirrors the beauty of the park.

Apart from fishing and hiking, the park offers glimpses into Civil War history and the opportunity to traverse through the serene Ozark’s rolling hills and rocky caverns. Roaring River State Park is an ideal destination for relaxation and rejuvenation, comprehensively catering to the varying interests of its visitors. Enjoy the wonders of the natural world as you uncover the captivating charm of Missouri’s Roaring River State Park.

Overview of Roaring River State Park

Missouri State Parks

Roaring River State Park is one of Missouri’s most popular state parks, offering a variety of activities and facilities for visitors to enjoy. The park is managed by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and is part of the larger network of state parks covering Missouri’s diverse landscapes.

Ozark Mountains

Nestled in the Ozark Mountains in southeastern Missouri, Roaring River State Park covers 4,293 acres and showcases the region’s striking and rugged landscape. With its deep, narrow valley and gorgeous surroundings, the park attracts outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Nature and Wildlife

Roaring River State Park boasts an abundance of nature and wildlife, including 10.8 miles of trails for hikers and nature lovers to explore. The park is home to a variety of habitats, supporting diverse flora and fauna.

One of the major attractions at the park is the Roaring River Spring, where visitors can observe and feed growing trout raised by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Not only is this a unique feature of the park, but the stocked trout also support a thriving sport fishing community throughout the year.

In addition to the natural beauty and wildlife, Roaring River State Park offers facilities and amenities such as 171 campsites catering to a wide range of camping preferences and sizes of RVs, picnic areas, and swimming spots, providing an enjoyable and comfortable experience for all visitors.

Outdoor Activities

Fishing Opportunities

Roaring River State Park is well-known for its rainbow trout-stocked river, making it an excellent location for fishing enthusiasts. With both catch-and-release and catch-and-keep areas, anglers of all ages and skill levels can enjoy the experience. Fly fishing is also a popular activity in the park.

Hiking Trails

The park offers seven hiking trails that cater to various fitness levels and interests. From short nature walks to longer, more challenging treks, hikers can take in the stunning scenery, observe local wildlife, and explore Ozark landscapes. AllTrails provides detailed information on each of the 10 trails, including trail maps, reviews, and photos.

Some popular trails in the park include:

  • Deer Leap Trail: A short, 0.3-mile trail offering a beautiful overlook of the river.
  • Devil’s Kitchen Trail: A moderate, 1.6-mile route leading to a unique rock formation.
  • Fire Tower Trail: A challenging, 3.8-mile hike with rewarding views of the Ozarks.


During the warmer months, visitors can enjoy a refreshing dip in the park’s swimming pool or take advantage of Beebe’s Roaring River Waterslide, which is located nearby. This waterslide provides a fun and exciting way to cool off after a long day of exploring the park.


Roaring River State Park has numerous picnic tables scattered throughout the area, making it the perfect spot for a leisurely lunch or a family gathering. Take a break from your outdoor activities and relax under the shade of the trees while enjoying the tranquil atmosphere. Don’t forget to pack a delicious meal, some snacks, and plenty of water to stay hydrated!

Accommodations and Facilities

Campsites and Cabins

Roaring River State Park offers a variety of accommodations for visitors, including campsites and cabins for those who prefer a more rustic and close-to-nature experience. The park has a range of cabins, from basic to more comfortable, and some even have historical significance. The campground offers numerous campsites for campers, ensuring there’s a perfect spot for everyone.

Emory Melton Inn and Conference Center

For those who seek modern comforts, the Emory Melton Inn and Conference Center located on a hill near the entrance of the park is an impressive stone and timber lodge. The Inn offers well-appointed guest rooms and a range of amenities, including a swimming pool and dining facilities. Furthermore, the Conference Center is fully equipped, making it an ideal location for meetings, retreats, and events.

Roaring River State Park Store

During your stay at Roaring River State Park, don’t forget to visit the Park Store for essential supplies, souvenirs, and snacks. The store is conveniently located within the park, providing easy access for all guests. Additionally, the staff at the store is always ready to help assist with any questions or information about the park and its activities.

Remember that reservations are encouraged for both campsites and cabins to ensure availability. To make a reservation, you can either call the park directly or use the online reservation system. Overall, Roaring River State Park offers a range of accommodations and facilities to suit any visitor’s taste, whether it’s camping under the stars, staying in a rustic cabin or enjoying the comfort of the Emory Melton Inn.

Trout Hatchery and Conservation Efforts

Fish Hatchery

Roaring River State Park is well-known for its premier trout fishing opportunities. The park’s hatchery plays a crucial role in supporting this activity. Constructed in 1910, the Roaring River Fish Hatchery is one of the oldest trout hatcheries in Missouri. It’s located within Roaring River State Park, seven miles south of Cassville, on Highway 112.

Every year, the hatchery produces more than 250,000 trout and stocks the river daily during the fishing season, ensuring a thriving fish population. The park’s fishing season runs from March 1 to October 31.

Missouri Department of Conservation Initiatives

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) manages the Roaring River Fish Hatchery, ensuring that the hatchery operates efficiently and effectively. As part of their conservation efforts, the MDC has undertaken various initiatives to maintain and improve the hatchery facilities.

A recent hatchery renovation improved the infrastructure, ensuring a healthy environment for the trout and enhancing the visitor experience. The MDC’s ongoing commitment to conservation and education helps protect the Roaring River’s ecosystem, making it a sustainable and enjoyable destination for trout fishing enthusiasts visiting Missouri’s state parks.

Through these efforts, the MDC and Roaring River State Park continue to provide people with exceptional opportunities for trout fishing while conserving the park’s valuable natural resources.

Historical Significance

Civilian Conservation Corps Influence

The Roaring River State Park holds great historical significance, partly due to the influence of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC was involved in the construction and development of facilities in the park during the 1930s. Several structures built by the CCC, such as shelters and bridges, continue to serve visitors and contribute to the park’s unique charm1.

Historic Sites

One of the noteworthy historic sites within Roaring River State Park is the Emory Melton Inn and Conference Center2. Originally constructed in the 1930s by the CCC, the inn features rustic architecture that reflects the park’s natural setting. The conference center serves as an event space for various gatherings and offers visitors modern amenities, blending history with contemporary convenience.

Another historic site in the park is the Mountain Maid, a stone mill and trout hatchery built in the early 20th century. The trout hatchery has played a pivotal role in stocking Roaring River with rainbow trout, making it a popular destination for anglers3.

In summary, Roaring River State Park’s historical significance lies in its connection to the CCC’s development efforts and notable sites like the Emory Melton Inn and Conference Center. The park’s blend of history, natural beauty, and recreational opportunities make it an appealing destination for visitors seeking a unique experience.

Visitor Experience and Planning

Popular Trails and Attractions

One of the popular trails at Roaring River State Park is the Deer Leap Trail, which offers great views and is perfect for a short hike. For those who enjoy a longer adventure, the Fire Tower Trail provides a more challenging experience while immersing hikers in the beauty of the Ozark Mountains. Apart from the trails, a must-visit attraction is the trout hatchery, where you can witness the production of Rainbow Trout and learn about the fishing process.

For history enthusiasts, explore the park’s historic site containing remnants of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) buildings, such as the bathhouse built in the 1930s. Also, don’t forget to check TripAdvisor for additional information on other attractions and reviews from fellow travelers.

Trip Planning

Roaring River State Park, located in Cassville, Missouri, is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. To make the most of your visit, consider the following amenities and tips:

  • Fishing: The park is renowned for its Rainbow Trout fishing opportunities. Anglers will find ample space along the river to spend a day casting their lines.
  • Picnicking: Numerous picnic tables scattered throughout the park are available for visitors to enjoy an outdoor meal immersed in nature.
  • Accommodation: Book a stay at one of the park’s campgrounds or nearby hotels in Cassville for a comfortable stay.

Seasonal Information

Roaring River State Park is open year-round for visitors to explore and enjoy. However, some facilities and activities might be limited during the off-season. Be sure to check the Official Missouri State Parks website for seasonal information, updates, and alerts before your visit.