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Clear Steams Are Floaters’ Paradise

Rounding a bend in the river, under a towering limestone bluff, you see a great blue heron fishing for his dinner. When the summer sun gets too hot, you stop on a gravel bar and take a dip in a stream.

Your canoe slides through the water noiselessly and you surprise a deer browsing by the riverside. Floating over the deep holes, you see a big brown trout hanging almost motionless on the bottom. Just maybe, you catch a glimpse of a majestic bald eagle returning to her nest high up on the bluff.

The peacefulness of the trip is interrupted by a thrilling ride over the shoals and a bit of white water.

These are the experiences of those who float the streams of Ozark County – the North Fork River and Bryant Creek.

The most common conveyance for floating enthusiasts is the two-man canoe. But larger rubber rafts, inner tubes and kayaks are also used.


Most floaters utilize the services of one of the many canoe rental firms located on the North Fork or the Bryant. Trips can be as long as two days or as short as two hours. The rental firm where you gets your canoe or raft can help you plan your float trip. They know the streams well. They will put you and your canoe in the river, pick you up at the end of your trip, and return you to your car. This takes all the bother and worry out of your time on the river.

Canoeing is practically a year-round sport, although it’s most popular from April to October. On a busy summer weekend, more than 1,000 canoes may be on the North Fork, the busier of the two streams. Yet, with even this many canoes, you hardly notice that there are others on the water. They seem to become lost in the long course of the vast waterway.

Everyone agrees, the floating streams of Ozark County are one of our finest recreation resources. The canoe vendors have taken the leading role in keeping the streams clean. Floaters are furnished with trash bags and encouraged to do their part in preserving this pristine environment.

The most common adjective you’ll hear at the end of a float trip is, “unforgettable.” Your float trip, too, will be “unforgettable.”