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part ofMark Twain National Forest, US Forest Service
Status: Open year round.   Season Dates


Watercress Campground lies on the banks of the Current River, which gives visitors access to some of the forest's greatest treasures. Tours on the river provide views of southeastern Missouri that otherwise can't be seen. The area is home to a variety of birds and wildlife and recreation opportunities are plentiful.

Natural Features:

Located within the town of Van Buren, the campground is adjacent to the Current River, which flows past scenic bluffs, springs, caves as it meanders through the Mark Twain National Forest.


Boating and canoeing on the Current River, as well as on other nearby rivers, are popular activities. A boat ramp for both motorized and non-motorized boats is available on the west bank of the Current River. Anglers enjoy fishing for bass, walleye, sunfish and the occasional catfish.

Big Spring, Missouri's largest spring, is just five miles from the campground. Hikers enjoy the Songbird Trail, a 1.2-mile loop that leads to Watercress Spring, passing remnants of Civil War-era earthworks that overlook the Current River.


The campground offers single-family sites for tent or RV camping. Additional sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each site is equipped with a table and campfire ring with grill. Vault toilets and drinking water are provided.

Two group picnic shelters can accommodate up to 75 people each, and are located alongside the river. Each is equipped with tables and grills. Trash collection facilities are also available at or near each site.

Nearby Attractions:

The campground is adjacent to the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, which is a series of protected rivers in the area. More information about the park can be found here.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Accessible Flush Toilets
  • Accessible Vault Toilets
  • Boat Ramp
  • Boating
  • Campfire Rings
  • Canoeing
  • Drinking Water
  • Fishing
  • Grills
  • Hiking
  • Parking Area
  • Picnic Shelters
  • River Access
  • Swimming
  • Tubing
Within 10 Miles
  • Boat Rentals
Know Before You Go
  • This is a day-use area; overnight camping is prohibited
  • Drinking water is not available during winter months
  • Click here for more information on the Mark Twain National Forest
  • Don't move firewood: To limit the spread of invasive tree-killing pests, firewood from outside the area is not permitted. Some states have quarantines and may confiscate your firewood. Please help protect our forests from invasive species by obtaining your firewood at or near your camping destination and burning it on-site. Visit for more information.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
37.00194, -91.01861
37°0'7"N, 91°1'7"W

From Highway 60, drive north on Main Street to the National Park Service sign on Watercress Road. Turn north and drive just past the Park Service building complex, then make a left to Watercress Park. The picnic shelters are on the left at the bottom of the hill.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

#4 Confederate Ridge Rd
Doniphan  MO  63935

Phone Number:

Project Office: (573)785-1475 helps you discover and book trips to all of America's public places.
Learn more about us, or about any of our agency partners below:
Bureau of Land Management Federal Highway Administration National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration Smithsonian Institution USDA Forest Service US Army Corps of Engineers US Fish and Wildlife Service National Park Service Bureau of Engraving and Printing Tennessee Valley Authority Bureau of Reclamation National Archives Records Administration

Agency Partners