Springfield, Missouri, is located in the heart of the Ozarks and a perfect starting destination for outdoor enthusiasts ready to enjoy the multitude of outdoor activities southwest Missouri has to offer. From crystal clear rivers to peaceful lakes and exciting wilderness areas, the Ozarks is the place to be for adventure.
Just as there are basecamps for adventurers trekking up Mt. St. Helens or Mt. Everest, Springfield is basecamp for the many outdoor attractions in the Ozarks. After spending the night in Springfield and gearing up at Bass Pro Shops® Outdoor World®, there’s outdoor adventures to be had in every direction, all just a short drive from town.
In this first post of the series —Living the Ozarks Outdoors —we’ll explore outdoor recreation in the immediate Springfield area.
Springfield's Sequiota Park.
With more than 100 locations, Springfield’s parks have a lot to offer – from playgrounds to golf courses and a botanical center.
The Springfield Conservation Nature Center is a gem for outdoor lover enthusiasts. Located on the city’s south side, the Nature Center houses a number of nature exhibits, and outside it boasts three miles of hiking trails through a variety of natural communities.
Lakes, Rivers and Streams
Paddleboarding on Lake Springfield.
Lake Springfield Park is the perfect place to unwind in nature in the city. It's popular for floating, fishing and viewing wildlife. The retail shop in the Boathouse offers boat rentals seasonally, full restrooms, fishing tackle and other items. Rentals are available at the Lake Springfield Park Boathouse June 1 through the end of September.
Fellows Lake is a beautiful lake just north of Springfield. It's great for day trips that keep you close to town. Enjoy picnic areas, playground equipment, pavilions, hiking trails, fishing docks, water fowl blinds and boat rentals.
The James River is well-known for its easy-access for paddlers in Springfield looking for a quick day float. It flows from east and south of town 99 miles southwest into Table Rock Lake with a number of access points just a short drive from Springfield. James River Outfitters in Galena, Missouri, offers a wide range of services including full RV hookups, outfitting for canoeing, fishing, tent camping, floating, swimming, nature photography and more.
Finley Creek is a beautiful Ozarks stream just south of Springfield that flows into the James River. It can be floated in high or medium high water.
Whether you are biking or hiking, Springfield is home to a variety of trails packed with breathtaking scenery. Our state was also named “Best Trails State” in 2013 by American Trails.
Nature trail at Little Sac Woods. Photo courtesy of Missouri Department of Conservation.
Head west out of Springfield on 160 and you’ll find Bois D’Arc. The Andy Dalton Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center is located on this conservation area as well as an archery range, dove blind and numerous fishing ponds.
North of Springfield, Little Sac Woods is perfect for primitive camping and hiking. It’s also well-known for bird watching and wildlife viewing.
Located northeast of town, Clear Creek runs along the western border of Phenix Access and angles across the area to the southeast corner, providing about five acres of fishable water. This is a great place to take the family fishing and picnicking on a nice afternoon.
Just north of Springfield, approximately 90 percent of this area is forested. Several small ponds provide wildlife watering holes and limited fishing opportunities. It's home to numerous wildlife species, including deer, turkey, squirrel and raccoon.
This 281-acre area in Greene County is located within the boundaries of the largest Mississippian limestone glade ecosystem in the region. Rocky Barrens is a popular place for bird watching along the Little Sac River.
Coming up in Living the Ozarks Outdoors, we'll dive deeper into the many outdoor adventures located in and around Springfield. The Ozarks are a great place to explore — and we're just getting started.