Venture off the interstate to explore state parks and national forest woodlands.
Located in the Central Missouri Ozarks Mountains, Leasburg may be a small speck of a town, but the surrounding landscapes offer a grand taste of the outdoors. Meramec River, Courtois Creek, and Huzzah Creek are hot spots for fishing, paddling, and floating. Nearby state parks feature caves to explore. A number of private RV parks are found across the area, with full hookups, free wifi, and other amenities.
Start your spelunking adventures at Onondaga Cave State Park, located a few minutes outside of town. Lighted pathways and guided tours make it easy to experience the grandeur of this cavern, where a river flows through the dramatic structures. Above ground, the Meramec River extends the recreational opportunities, as do the trails through the surrounding woodlands. The park’s highly-rated campground features basic and water/electric sites for both tents and RVs.
Meramec State Park is a quick skip away from Leasburg, 15 miles northeast of town. The Meramec River makes a lazy stroll through the park, serving as a focal point for adventure, including fishing, swimming, and paddling. Trails crisscross the woodlands, and the exploration continues below the ground at Fisher Cave. Three public campgrounds offer a range of services, from basic tent camping to full-hookup RV sites. Cabins and a hotel are also available.
Head south of Leasburg to find several units of the Mark Twain National Forest. Hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and more can be found across the 1.5 million acres of woodlands. The trailhead of the Courtois Creek Section of the Ozark Trail is nearby. The 45-mile section connects to a broader network with 200-miles of trails. Near Leasburg, public camping can be found at Brazil Creek Recreation Area, Red Bluff Campground, and Council Bluff Recreation Area. Dry camping and electric hookups are available, with sites for both tents and RVs.
Pick your season based on your choice of recreation. Summer is best for watersports on the creeks and rivers, but temperatures may be too hot and humid for hiking. Spring and fall are favorites for hitting the trails, especially with autumnal scenery peaking in October. While winter brings cold temperatures and occasional bouts of snow and ice, some campers enjoy the serenity.