Rural Missouri Magazine

Floating Season Again
Current River

by Jeff Joiner

Probably the best known part of the Current River is that stretch within the Ozark National Scenic Riverways north of Van Buren. But another beautiful part of the river can be found south of Van Buren running to the Arkansas border.

The lower Current River is considerably larger than the upper because of the more than 276 million gallons of water a day entering the stream from Big Spring, just south of Van Buren. Because this part of the river is slower moving and less well-known it is used less by canoeists. There are a number of public river access points maintained by the U.S. Forest Service on the lower Current.

A popular geologic feature of the lower Current is Deer Leap, a high bluff on the river north of Doniphan where this month’s cover shot was taken. An old legend says American Indians once herded deer off the bluff into the river below.

Across the river from the bluff is the U.S. Forest Service Deer Leap Recreation Area, which contains a campground, picnic area and boat ramp. This part of the Mark Twain National Forest is managed from the Doniphan/Eleven Point Ranger District office where more information is available about the lower Current River and the nearby Eleven Point River.

For more information visit the office at 1104 Walnut St., Doniphan, MO 63935; (573) 996-2153, or visit the Web site for the Mark Twain National Forest at


Rural Missouri | June 2020 Issue

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