Plan a Trip to the Ozarks and the Mark Twain National Forest

mark twain national forest photo
Photo by daveynin

The Ozark mountains don’t get the same type of buzz and attention as the Rockies, but they’re definitely worth visiting. They’re secluded and serene, so you might even decide they’re the perfect place for you to build your log cabin home. If you’re a fan of water sports, you’ll want to take advantage of the warm water and opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and white water rafting. If you’re into hiking, there’s plenty of space for that too. If you just want to be in a quiet, natural place away from the noise of the city, then the Ozarks might be your perfect getaway.

History of the Ozarks

The Ozarks have been populated since the late Ice Age, over 10,000 years ago. There’s documentation of Cherokee, Fox, Choctaw, Kickapoo, Osage, and Sack tribes living in the Ozarks.


Around the 1820s, settlers from Appalachia started moving in. If you were to visit the Ozark in 1840, you would have seen mostly log cabins. Ozark settlers frequently lived in log cabins, starting around 1840 until relatively recently. In fact, you might still see some original log cabins, though today they’re used mostly for hay barns and sheds.


Several Civil War battles were fought in the Ozarks, which stretch across Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma. If you venture out of the woods, you’re likely to stumble onto a historical site where you can learn about some of the lesser known Civil War battles.

The Mark Twain National Forest

The Mark Twain National Forest is in the Ozark Highlands, which stretches across Missouri and Arkansas. The forest is Missouri’s only national forest and takes up about 3 million acres. It shared its space and name with the Clark National Forest from 1939 until 1976, when it was officially given the full 3 million acres and named the Mark Twain National Forest.


Interestingly enough, parts of the Ozarks were never under oceans or glaciated, which makes for a unique landscape. The Ozarks represent an ancient landscape, with permanent springs, rocky barren glades, old volcanic mountains, and over 5,000 caves (many of which you can explore).


Today, there are over 500 caves inside the Mark Twain National Forest. There are plenty of opportunities for water sports enthusiasts to get out on the river and white water raft, canoe, or kayak, depending on what part of the river they’re on. Over 3,000 springs feed into the river year-round. The springs’ water is so fresh and clear, that in some places you can look down into ten feet of water, but it only looks like one foot of water.


If you’ve never made it to the Ozarks, you owe it to yourself to plan a trip. Mark Twain National Forest is a great place to start. You might even decide that they’re the perfect place for you to build your log cabin home, so you can have a relaxing, quiet getaway whenever you want.





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