Roaring River State Park

Black Vulture Roaring River State Park Cassville MO

One of 2 vultures found in North America, this black vulture was spotted in Roaring River State Park in SW Missouri

I have always been fascinated with fishing.  As an only child with a great imagination, I would find the biggest stick I could, tie yarn to it and place a huge metal closet hook on the end.  I would march down the stairs into the wilds of the backyard of my apartment in San Francisco, toss my line into the cats water bowl and sit for what seemed like hours (probably 10 minutes, I was 4) waiting for something to happen.  As I grew I learned other ways of fishing for the real thing and enjoyed taking my oldest son out and letting him learn about this great hobby.  Yesterday I had the chance once again to be involved in passing down a passion for fishing as my family gathered at Roaring River State Park and introduced this fun hobby to the grandkids.

Roaring River is located outside Cassville in Barry County, Missouri.  A scenic drive off of Hwy 60 down Hwy 39 to Hwy 248 and a hard left onto Hwy 112 which takes you to the park.  The park has 3 levels with different bait use available for each level.  When the park officially opens this year (2020) on May 17th you must have both a Missouri state fishing license and a daily trout tag to fish.  Children under 16 and seniors 65+ are exempt from fishing license rules in Missouri, but must obtain a daily trout tag.  There are plenty of spots to tent camp, RV camp or rent a cabin on the property.  There are quite a few resorts that we passed that look well-kept and that are starting to open back up after the Covid 19 shutdown.

Roaring River State Park Trout Hatchery

A birds eye view from the Fire Tower Trail overlooking the main hatchery pond.

I was more interested in hiking this trip than fishing, so I left the spouse to see if he could catch dinner (he didn’t) and took off for the Fire Tower Trail with two of my children.  The park has 7 trails and information and maps area available here:  and here:   Due to the difficulty level of the trail, my abysmal cardio endurance, and fear of heights, we were only able to hike for about an hour.  Lesson learned.  At the hatchery, Roaring River is located between two very high bluffs, so if you want to hike there, it’s pretty much straight up.  I will be checking out the other trails at some point to see if any are less heart attack inducing.

The weather was perfect on May 9, though anyone from this area can tell you the weather can change quickly and without warning in these parts.  Back in 2017 rains poured down and swept away quite a few of Missouri’s water based businesses and campers in Roaring Rivers valley had to be evacuated.  Many are rebuilding including Roaring River State Park.  Once a hatchery with many tanks for young trout, most now stand empty with only a few holding tanks used to get brown and rainbow trout ready for delivery into the river.  On opening day, March 1, trout fishermen and women stand shoulder to shoulder casting lines and showing off their skills at 10 and 2 o’clock.  Having never mastered the art of fly fishing, watching people who are skilled is a favorite past time while I’m on the rivers.  Trout can also be caught using spinner bait with a rod and reel; my oldest has had luck with power bait as well.

Roaring River State Park Cassville Missouri

Whether you want to fish, camp, hike or swim-Roaring River State Park has all your outdoor getaway needs!

Roaring River is a great spot for the day or the weekend.  Close to the Arkansas border and the Chain of Lakes, there are quite a few outdoor pursuits to enjoy.  The park is well equipped for picnics, BBQ’s and also has a restaurant and store which will open after May 17th 2020. There is also a nature center which explores the history of the park, and will also open around May 17th.   On August 15, 2020 Roaring River will host a Kids Free Fishing day which are generally staffed with experienced men and women who love to share their fishing knowledge with the next generation.  Keep an eye on the Department of Conservation website at:

All things considered the day was wonderful.  My granddaughter’s began learning a great new hobby that will hopefully engage them in the outdoors for years to come.  Be warned, the water is very cold and extra socks are a must for children.  There is no wading in the fishing areas, but there is a swimming hole and swimming pool available in other parts of the park.  Several other well learned lessons were:  Don’t throw rocks when people are fishing and Don’t touch random plants (poison ivy grows close to the trails here).  Roaring River State Park has a lot to offer, so get out there!

For those of us not interested in sleeping on the ground!

Well-kept cabins with a view of the hatchery and close to the store and restaurant.

Intense thigh workout ahead!

There are seven hiking trails throughout Roaring River State Park. Part of Fire Tower Trail is a steep incline up the bluff.

Check out the Facebook page How to do the Ozarks and Instagram htdto2020 for more pictures and places to visit!

One thought on “Roaring River State Park

  1. Pingback: Hiking Hemmed In Hollow, Arkansas | How To Do The Ozarks

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