Summer means it’s time to take a break from the classroom, home or office and indulge in some memorable outdoor fun.
And summertime in the Springfield Region offers a plethora of outdoor activities for people of all ages, interests and skill levels. Let’s take a look at just a few of the ways you can have fun outside all summer long in Springfield.
The League of American Bicyclists voted Springfield a Bicycle Friendly Community, thanks in part to the City’s 72 miles of greenways. For those who love to travel by pedal power, Springfield offers lots of ways to get around town or explore the great outdoors on two wheels.
- Residents and guests of all ages, abilities and interests get free non-motorized access to beautiful trails including the Galloway Creek Greenway in Southeast Springfield and South Creek Greenway, which runs east to west through the heart of the City.
- Missouri’s second longest rail trail, the Frisco Highline Trail, connects Springfield to Bolivar across 35 miles. Bicyclists, walkers and runners experience the wildlife, small towns, unique eateries and other points of interest that dot this scenic trail.
- If mountain biking is more your speed, the Sac River Trail winds for 8 miles through northwest Springfield, offering a view of the beautiful Sac River along the way. There’s also a picnic pavilion and pump track.
- Mountain bikers can also experience climbing, rock features and lots of unique stunts along 14 miles of singletrack at Two Rivers Bike Park. It’s located on a 400-acre park near the confluence of the James and Finley Rivers.
- Want to bike across Missouri? You can on Katy Trail, the longest developed rail trail in the United States. It runs 240 miles along the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad and includes a section of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.
Camping and Hiking
The Springfield Region is one of the best places on earth to get up close and personal with nature. Hiking, camping and caving offer great views and unforgettable experiences, whether you prefer spectacular bluffs, secluded waterfalls or just the thrill of adventure.
- Explore over 3 miles of hiking trails at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center, where you’ll encounter 180 bird species. The Center is also home to deer, turkey, mink, muskrat, reptiles and amphibians — all within Springfield city limits!
- Hike along over 750 miles of trails in the Mark Twain National Forest, which includes sections of the Ozark Trail. Experience semi-primitive or wilderness campgrounds for a little peaceful solitude under the breathtaking forest canopy.
- Hiking and camping enthusiasts will revel in the 1.2 million acre Ozark National Forest in Northern Arkansas. Visit the underground wonder at Blanchard Springs Caverns or climb to the highest peak in Arkansas at Mount Magazine.
- In addition to its many canoeing and floating opportunities, the Buffalo National River area includes a growing network of hiking trails and campground options ranging from primitive to developed.
- For hikers looking for a challenge, the Ozark Highlands Trail offers nearly 210 miles of mountainous terrain, hardwood forest and magnificent rock outcroppings, where you’ll pass through some of the most remote areas of the Ozark National Forest.
- Popular rock climbing destination Sam’s Throne in north central Arkansas has something for everyone from beginner to advanced, with many great short bouldering pitches and most routes ideal for top roping.
Whether it’s fly fishing along clear, spring-fed streams or catching trout in one of many popular fishing holes, the Springfield region is a true fishing paradise.
Here are just three of the many favorite fishing spots that lure anglers from near and far:
- Cast your line for rainbow trout along a spring branch that gushes 100 million gallons of clear, cool water every day at Bennett Spring State Park, surrounded by over 3,200 acres of natural Ozarks beauty.
- Spanning nearly 1,400 square miles across the Ozarks in Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas, the North Fork of the White River is a great place to catch smallmouth bass, rainbow trout and brown trout.
- A large variety of species await your hook at Table Rock Lake, with a large stock of largemouth, smallmouth, spotted and white bass; channel and flathead catfish; and crappie, walleye, bluegill, goggle-eye and paddlefish.
Boating and Floating
Is a day on the lake your idea of a great summer vacation or weekend retreat? The Springfield region has you covered.
- Table Rock Lake offers clean, clear water along 800 miles of shoreline for your exploration pleasure. The lake features public ramps and marinas, with kayaks, canoes, fishing boats and more available for rent.
- Spanning 74 square miles, Bull Shoals gives you plenty of uncrowded space for boating, wakeboarding, skiing and tubing, and lots of beautiful, quiet coves for those seeking a secluded spot to enjoy the water.
- Beaver Lake in Arkansas offers marinas, boat ramps, campgrounds, cabins and resorts amidst 28,000 acres of water and 487 miles of shoreline along beautiful limestone bluffs.
For those who love canoeing, kayaking, rafting or floating, the Ozarks region boasts three National Scenic Rivers, as well as plenty of exciting whitewater runs if you’re craving a day of adventure on the water.
- The spring-fed Current River offers year-round floating opportunities. It’s an excellent canoeing spot for the experienced and novice paddler alike.
- One of the region’s premier float streams, Jacks Fork has three river access points where you can put in a canoe and enjoy the abundant wildlife that call this spring-fed Ozarks river home.
- Whether you prefer the excitement of running rapids or the serenity of floating on a quiet pool, you’ll find it along the free-flowing 135-mile Buffalo River. It’s America’s first National River and one of the last undammed rivers remaining in the lower 48.
From the exhilarating to the relaxing, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities to enjoy whenever summertime rolls around in the Springfield Region.