21 Drive In
To add a little nostalgia to your visit grab a blanket or your lawn chairs and enjoy a movie the way your parents or grandparents once did… under the stars! Built in 1949 and recently renovated, 21 Drive In is one of only 13 operating drive-ins in Missouri. The outdoor theater has a capacity of 350+ and offers a new release double feature each Friday and Saturday night May through September. The original speaker poles are still operational or movies can be tuned in via stereo on 103.7 FM. The concession area has been expanded and is sure to offer a treat for everyone. Movies start at dusk but we recommend that you arrive early so the little ones can enjoy the modern playground. 21 Drive In is located approximately 15 miles south of Ellington on Highway 21 and is well worth the trip. Call 573 945-2121 for show information.
March through October bicyclists traveling the 4200+ mile cross-country route from Virginia to Oregon on the TransAmerica Trail, also known as U.S. Bicycle Route 76, will pass through Ellington via Highway 21 and scenic Highway 106. A bicycle hostel is available for bicyclists only. The Route 76 Bicycle Inn is located next to the Main Street Pavilion on Main Street. Bicyclists will be able to shower, cool off and sleep indoors (limited to 4 cyclists). Call the City of Ellington for more information, 573-663-7715 or the hostel coordinator at 573-996-1860. The inn is made possible by the Ellington Chamber of Commerce and the City of Ellington.
The Ellington area is fortunate to have several crystal clear rivers, springs and creeks. The Black River is one of Missouri’s finest rivers. Located just east of Ellington on K Highway is the Lower Black River access. Large gravel bars for swimming, wading, picnicking, canoeing and rafting are all a favorite past time. Jeff’s Canoe Rental is a full service concession offering float trips on the Black. They offer canoes, rafts or tubes for a partial or full day of fun in the sun. Fishing, wildlife viewing, hunting and just exploring the many natural areas are favorite past times. Camping is available at K Bridge Park.
This area is a favorite of the locals year round!! For the person who is looking for the unknown, adventure into the wild Ozark hills, hollers, creeks and rivers of this area for beautiful views off bluffs, numerous caves, swimming, picnicking. Here riding the back roads in ATV’s, UTV’s and 4-wheel drives is exciting and fun. Many horse enthusiasts adore this area as well. Make sure and bring your camera you will want to capture this area in print. Entrance to this area is located North of Hwy 106 on Co Rd 106-B (across from Blue Spring entrance). It is recommended you obtain maps before exploring this area.
Those seeking escape from the swift creeks and busy rivers of south-central Missouri can find refuge at Blue Spring, a site of serene Ozark beauty disturbed only by the sound of native birds. The quiet forest hike through huge oak and sycamore trees prepares visitors for the coming scene as they approach the sky-blue waters of Missouri’s deepest spring. A stairway can take the viewer high above the water to look down into the azure blue of the 300-foot spring, occupied by fish and numerous varieties of aquatic plants. The stunning beauty of the spring – named “Spring of the Summer Sky” by early Native Americans – and the peaceful natural setting are treasures to long be remembered by those who stop to see the spring. A walk of about a quarter mile along a forest path is required to get to the spring location. The parking area has picnic tables and bathrooms. A trail of 1.5 miles connects the Blue Spring parking lot with the Powder Mill campground at the Hwy. 106 bridge over the Current River. To get to the spring by road, travel about 15 miles west from Ellington on Hwy. 106. There will be a sign marking the turnoff onto County Road 535, a gravel road which travels to the south about three miles to the spring parking lot. Stay to the right at the “Y” junction in the road.
For the young and young at heart, Brawley Park offers something for everyone. Complete with a paved walking track and modern playground Brawley Park is located on the southern outskirts of Ellington and just a short walk from the Senior Citizen Housing Complex. With the arrival of spring, Brawley Park comes to life as it is home to the Ellington Little League Baseball Program. With 2 covered pavilions, a gazebo, charcoal grills and modern restroom facilities, the park is a perfect place to pitch a tent for the night and great place for any type of outdoor celebration, get together, or picnic and the nature enthusiast will enjoy a trail for hiking. In addition, the park contains basketball, tennis and shuffle board courts as well as pits for horse shoe pitching. We invite you stop off and enjoy some simplified fun while you are in town. The Ellington Park Board works diligently in partnership with the City of Ellington to maintain the Park. Please contact Ellington City Hall for more information 573 663-7715.
Clearwater Lake is a beautiful lake fed by the crystal clear Black River and several springs. This lake is noted for the grandeur of its hills, the picturesque bluffs, wildflowers and indented bays. It is known as a place where families can relax without large crowds and enjoy the quiet. Surrounded by three state parks, Clearwater Lake boasts fishing, boating, and skiing, as well as canoeing on the nearby upper Black River. Restrictions created by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in order to preserve the lakes natural beauty have prevented private boat docks from being constructed on the lake leaving plenty of open coast line. The serene lake and environment allow its visitors to share quality time together while having fun on the water. Clearwater Lake offers several modern campgrounds for your camping conveniences. This lake is an oasis from the hectic day to day life which makes it a perfect vacation destination. Clearwater is located between Ellington and Piedmont, Missouri.
Current River Conservation Area
Formerly known as Deer Run State park consists of 28,000 acres of state land. Deer, turkey, eagles, elk and a multitude of wildlife can be seen. UTV’s, ATV’s, horse and vehicle traffic are welcome on miles of gravel roads that wind through some 60+ food plots. Buford pond, Missouri’s first fire tower, a 1926 log cabin and an earthen Fort Barnesville can all be found here. Buford Pond provides fishing and picnicking and is a favorite location of all. For hunting enthusiasts an unstaffed rifle and archery range are provided. Current River Conservation Area is home to the Missouri Ozark Ecosystem Project, the world’s most comprehensive forest management study. This 100 year project spans over 9,000 acres. Main park entrance is located on South Road in Ellington, other entrances located off Hwy 106 and H highway. Maps are available at the main park entrance.
One of the area’s most beautiful natural wonders is located just 15 miles west of Ellington. The Current River is known for its beauty that is unmatched by any other Missouri river and was the first river in America to be designated a National Scenic Riverway. 2014 marks the 50th year of this designation. The Log Yard & Cardareva Landing offers a wonderful setting for a quiet getaway with the family. Here you will find sand and gravel beaches for hours of fun in the sun. There are no amenities provided in this area but it remains a local favorite for fishing, swimming, sunning and picnicking. Rough camping is available in the School Yard located near the Cardareva Landing. Picnic tables, grills and a lantern hook are provided. Restrooms and water are also available. Camping is $5/night.
K Bridge Recreation Area
Campers looking to enjoy a scenic stay on the clear waters of the Black River will enjoy the calming riverside atmosphere at Highway K Recreation Area. This area is a few miles upstream of Clearwater Lake. Campsites here are available on both sides of the river bank, in a lush, wooded area of mixed hardwoods. Electric, showers, picnic pavilions, playground and gravel bars await you at this wonderful campground. Reservations are encouraged. Located 15 miles east off Ellington on K Highway.
A unique historical site located approximately a mile and a half from Rocky Falls in eastern Shannon County is the Klepzig Mill built in 1928 by Prussian German immigrant Walter Klepzig to provide milling service to families that lived along the Current River in the early 1900s. The rustic old mill sits on native rock at the site of one of several shut-ins on Rocky Creek. The small turbine mill is built of rough sawmill lumber with a corrugated iron roof and a native rock and concrete mill race and spillway. The mill provided the families in the area opportunity to travel by wagon or truck to have their grain milled and then on to Rocky Falls for an afternoon of picnicking and swimming. To get to the mill, go past the Rocky Falls turnoff on Hwy. NN about a half mile. Turn left (north) on County Road 522 and travel the narrow dirt and gravel road about a mile. The mill sits on the right side of the road. There is a small parking area just past the mill on the left.
Whether you are looking for a one day hike or want to make a few days of it; hiking these sections of the Ozark Trail is rewarding and adventurous. Such splendid locations as Blair Creek, Bloom Creek, Current River, Rocky Creek, Rocky Falls, Klepzig Mill and Buzzard Mountain Shut-Ins are located right on the trail, plus several more only visited by hikers. For the adventurous visitor this is a must! Download maps at www.ozarktrail.com.
Powder Mill Recreation Area-Currently Closed
Powder Mill Recreational Area is located 12 miles west of Ellington on the Current River. This area is located just below the Highway 106 Bridge, is adjacent to the Ozark Trail and was the location of the Powder Mill Ferry. The ferry was built in the late 1920’s and was the crossing point if traveling between Eminence and Ellington, sometimes carrying as many as 150 cars across a day. The ferry stopped operating in 1977 when the 106 bridge was constructed but remnants of the cables are still visible to visitors. Powder Mill recreational area is located next to the river and has a nice view of the river. Boat launch, gravel beach, camping, grills, lantern hooks and picnic tables are all available. Hike the short trail along the river to Blue Spring from this area, take a day hike on the Ozark Trail or plan a float trip from Powder Mill to Log Yard for a full day of lazing in the river. Boating, swimming, wading, fishing and gigging are also favorite pastimes here. Camping is $12/night, water or electric hookup is not available. Bathrooms are available. Currently Closed due to the 2017 flood.
Reynolds County Museum
Ellington and Reynolds County are rich in history and evidence of this can be found at the Reynolds County Museum located at 233 S Second Street in Ellington. The museum is home to many items that have either been donated or are on loan by families who share a passion for the deep heritage that can be felt when visiting not only the museum but Ellington and Reynolds County. The museum will introduce you to those who first called Reynolds County “home”, in addition the museum will share a story of days gone by and how residents have utilized and continue to do so today, the many natural resources that are present here in the Ozarks. We invite you to stop in and take a step back in time. Staffed by a group of friendly volunteers who are always eager to chat and visit a while, the museum is open March through November, Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and the 2nd Saturday of each month 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For additional information, call 573 663-3233.
Long before it became a popular tourist attraction, Rocky Falls was one of the most popular family outings in South Central Missouri. Since the mid 1800s, families that lived along the Current River in western Reynolds County and eastern Shannon County would gather to experience the beautiful falls which cascade 40 feet through a shut-ins of scenic igneous rock into a large pool just right for swimming. The rocks are not too steep to climb nor the water too swift to enjoy – and the beauty of the area is breath-taking. The falls are on national park property and the site offers picnic tables with fire grills and bathrooms. There is also a hiking trail along Rocky Creek for the more adventurous. The Ozark Trail also goes through the park area for serious hikers. To get to Rocky Falls from Ellington, travel west on Hwy. 106 for 20 miles to Shannon County Hwy. H; go four miles south on Hwy. H to Hwy. NN; then go three miles east on Hwy. NN to the Rocky Falls turnoff.
Sutton Bluff Recreation Area
Located in the rugged hills of the West Fork of the Black River, Sutton Bluff Recreation Area offers plenty of miles of trails for the off road enthusiast, mountain biker or hiker. The area contains over 23 miles of trails, maintained by the Mark Twain Forest. There are different levels of difficulty per trail, each following the forest ridge tops and/or crossing steep hollows. Trail segments are accessed via County and Mark Twain Forest roads; trails cannot be accessed directly from the campground without riding along the road. State regulations apply to all vehicles using public County and Forest roads. A permit is required for ATVs, UTVs, and dirt bikes on trails. Sutton Bluff Campground is located along the bank of the West Fork of the Black River. The newly renovated campground offers 34 campsites. Three of those are double sites, and one is a group site; the rest are single sites. Fourteen sites offer electricity, the rest (including the group site) are primitive with no hookups. There are no water or sewer hookups at any site. A centrally located restroom also offers hot showers and drinking water. Each campsite offers a picnic table, pedestal grill, and lantern post. Most sites have wide, flat-to-gently sloping parking pads that can accommodate ATVs and trailers. A group picnic pavilion is also available, offering 10 tables, as well as pedestal grills, and can accommodate up to 32 persons. It can be reserved through www.recreation.gov, or by calling 1-877-444-6777. The West Fork of the Black River, which skirts the edge of the campground, is a scenic and beautiful river that adds so much to the area. During the hot summer months, this river is popular with campers for swimming. It is also popular year-round with anglers, looking to catch a smallmouth bass. The river has cut some fairly tall bluffs, including Sutton Bluff, which lends its name to the area.
Webb Creek Recreation Area
The quiet side of Clearwater Lake! Webb Creek greets visitors with excellent camping, fishing, boating, swimming and picnic opportunities. A full service campground is available with picnic pavilions, BBQ grills, beach, playground, showers, electric, dump station, boat launch and more, reservations are not required for this camping area but are available(click here to make reservations). Full service Webb Creek Marina is located on site where visitors can rent wave runners, pontoons or a ski boat or pickup daily supplies. Campers at Webb Creek are treated to beautiful sunrises as the campground faces east, so brew your coffee and enjoy the early mornings of the Ozarks at Webb Creek Recreational Area. Located 12 miles east of Ellington on H Highway.