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Echo Bluff State Park Guide — Lodge, Trails, and More 

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Amar Hussain
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Amar Hussain

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Countries Visited: 63U.S. States Visited: 9

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Echo Bluff State Park is a hidden gem in the Ozarks region of Missouri. The park allows visitors to experience the beauty of Missouri’s rugged wilderness, surrounded by stunning natural landscapes. With various trails available for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, visitors can also enjoy fishing, kayaking, and swimming in the crystal-clear waters of Sinking Creek.

How To Get to Echo Bluff State Park

Where Is Echo Bluff State Park?

Echo Bluff State Park is in the Missouri Ozarks in the city of Eminence. It is approximately 2.5 to 3 hours away from the major Missouri cities of St. Louis, Jefferson City, and Springfield. The park spans over 476 acres and boasts the natural beauty of the Missouri Ozarks and Current River.

Echo Bluff State Park Opening Hours and Seasons

This park is open all year round from sunrise to 10 p.m. The main office is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The park buildings are closed on federal holidays, and staff is unavailable.

Nearest Airports to Echo Bluff State Park

The nearest airport to Echo Bluff State Park is Waynesville-St. Robert Regional Airport (TBN), approximately 1.5 hours away. This airport offers daily flights to and from Nashville (BNA) and Dallas (DFW), so you may need to plan a connecting flight to one of those hubs. Contour Airlines exclusively serves this airport, so flying into it will save you time. You can quickly rent a car or arrange a ride-share service for the final leg of your journey to the park.

Driving to Echo Bluff State Park

Echo Bluff State Park
Image Credit: Missouri State Parks

There are multiple routes to reach the park by car. The best route to take depends on your starting location. When you spot Echo Bluff State Park, don’t follow your GPS, which will lead you 10 miles past the entrance. Once you reach the park, follow the signs to the Betty Lea Lodge.

From St. Louis

Visitors from the St. Louis area will take I-44 West and exit at 186. Then, follow MO-72 East to Salem. From Salem, continue on this road for 2 miles and turn right at the junction of MO-19 to head south. Keep following this road for 29 miles until you reach the entrance, which will be on your left.

From Jefferson City

If you’re traveling from Jefferson City, take US-63 South for approximately 50 miles. Then, turn left onto MO-72 towards Salem. After covering a distance of 2 miles, take a right at the MO-19 junction so that you’re following MO-19 South. Keep going on this road for 29 miles until you spot the entrance on your left.

From Springfield

To reach the park from Springfield, take US-60 East and drive for 117 miles until you reach Winona. Turn left onto MO-19 and follow the road through the city of Eminence. Then, continue onto MO-19 for about 14 miles until you reach the park’s entrance on the right.

Taking the Train or Bus to Echo Bluff State Park

There is no train or bus service to this state park.

Getting Around Echo Bluff State Park

The most efficient way to navigate the park is by combining driving and walking. The park has several parking lots scattered throughout, which enables you to drive to different areas and get out to explore. The park offers a printable map that can assist you in planning your adventures.

What To See and Do in Echo Bluff State Park

There is plenty to explore at Echo Bluff State Park, including fishing, floating, hiking, and live music events.

Fishing

Echo Bluff State Park is a fantastic destination for fishing enthusiasts. Sinking Creek, in particular, is an excellent spot to cast a line for smallmouth bass and goggle-eye. The creek’s crystal-clear waters provide an ideal habitat for these species, making it a favorite among anglers. Whether you’re a seasoned fisherman or just starting out, this state park is the perfect place to spend a leisurely day by the water and reel in some impressive catches.

Hiking and Mountain Biking Trails

There are 2 incredible trails that wind through Echo Bluff State Park, perfect for hiking and mountain biking.

The Current River Trail is a rugged trail that spans 5.25 miles and is ideal for hiking. This trail connects to the Roger Pryor Pioneer Backcountry and the Ozark Trail, providing hikers with spectacular views of the Current River.

The Painter Ridge Trail, on the other hand, is a great option for both hiking and biking. It spans almost 2 miles and takes about 1.5 hours to fully hike. For visitors who enjoy biking and a challenge, there are 2 challenge routes featuring ladder bridges, ramps, boardwalks, and narrow balance features. This trail offers amazing views of waterfalls, bluffs, Sinking Creek, and the Ozark terrain.

Playground

Echo Bluff State Park Playground
Image Credit: Missouri State Parks

Echo Bluff State Park offers an exceptional playground that promises an engaging and unique experience for visitors. Catering to individuals of all ages, the playground boasts an array of exciting equipment and activities to keep guests entertained for extended durations. The equipment features an assortment of swings, slides, climbing walls, and a splash zone, among other amenities.

Sinking Creek

Sinking Creek boasts crystal-clear water, pristine natural surroundings, and abundant aquatic life. The gently flowing water is ideal for swimming and wading and offers a refreshing respite from the heat during the summer months.

If you’re an adventure enthusiast, floating down the creek while tubing, kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding is an exhilarating experience you shouldn’t miss. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat in nature or an exciting outdoor adventure, Sinking Creek has something to offer for everyone.

Summer Concert Series

The park hosts a concert series throughout the summer season. These live music events showcase local artists, providing an excellent opportunity to enjoy great food and refreshing drinks and support the local artistic community. It is the perfect way to unwind and create memorable experiences with friends and family while enjoying the beautiful ambiance of the park.

Best Times To Visit Echo Bluff State Park

Echo Bluff State Park provides year-round adventure opportunities. Certain times of the year are ideal for experiencing specific events or activities.

Best Time To Visit Echo Bluff State Park in Winter

Many travelers prefer to plan their vacations in the winter months when the tourist traffic is typically lower. For winter travelers, February is the best month to plan a trip here. During this month, the temperatures usually range from the low 20s to the low 50s, making it one of the warmest winter months. Additionally, there is a lesser chance of precipitation during this time, although it averages about 5 days.

Hot Tip:

It is advisable to pack warm and waterproof clothes so that you can enjoy your adventures to the fullest.

Best Time To Visit Echo Bluff State Park To Avoid the Crowds

A solitary visit to this Missouri park could be the perfect solution for visitors looking for rejuvenation. November is the least crowded time at the park, so planning your visit during this time will guarantee you a stress-free experience with no long lines, crowds, or traffic to worry about. Enjoy the park at your own pace and soak up the tranquility it has to offer.

Best Time To Visit Echo Bluff State Park for Ideal Weather

Echo Bluff State Park for Ideal Weather
Image Credit: Missouri State Parks

It’s crucial to consider the weather conditions to ensure your trip is comfortable and enjoyable. Fortunately, September is an exceptional time to visit due to its perfect weather. With temperatures ranging from the upper 50s to the mid-80s, you can expect ideal conditions throughout your stay. Moreover, September is relatively dry, with an average of only 5 days of precipitation, making it an excellent time to explore and enjoy the outdoors.

Cheapest Time To Visit Echo Bluff State Park

Saving money while traveling might seem impossible, but it is completely doable with some research and planning. The cheapest time to visit this park is from mid to late September. Flight rates and lodging prices are typically at their lowest during this time of year. A visit in September has the potential to save you hundreds of dollars in travel expenses.

Annual Events in Echo Bluff State Park

This state park’s regular events include guided hikes, birding programs, and night sky viewing. Additionally, there are several annual events that both locals and tourists look forward to.

First Day Hike

The First Day Hike event, held annually on January 1 at Echo Bluff State Park, is the perfect way to embark on a new year. The picturesque park offers stunning scenery for hikers to explore, including babbling creeks, verdant plants, and diverse wildlife. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a novice, this event is an excellent way to kick off the new year and experience all the beauty the park offers.

Halloween in the Park

Halloween in the Park is an annual event held on Halloween weekend. It features a contest for decorating campsites and cabin doors, with prizes provided by the Betty Lea Lodge. The event has been running for almost 10 years now. Kids can take advantage of grab-and-go craft bags, go trick-or-treating in the campground, and participate in a costume parade.

Where To Stay in Echo Bluff State Park

When planning a visit to Echo Bluff State Park, finding a place to stay won’t be a problem. You can easily choose a comfortable home base for your vacation.

Inside the Park

Various lodging options are available inside the park. You can choose from luxurious lodges with modern amenities, private cabins, or camping under the starry sky.

Betty Lea Lodge

The Betty Lea Lodge is a charming and cozy accommodation option within Echo Bluff State Park. The Lodge features 16 comfortable guest rooms and 4 suites, each with unique personality and decor. The rooms have modern amenities such as air conditioning, flat-screen TVs, private bathrooms, and free Wi-Fi to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

Aside from the comfortable rooms, the Betty Lea Lodge offers a peaceful and tranquil environment perfect for relaxation. It is surrounded by lush greenery and towering trees, providing a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Camping

Camping Echo Bluff State Park
Image Credit: Missouri State Parks

Timbuktu Campground is located in a beautiful natural setting and offers a variety of places to camp. There are 60 full-service sites for RVs or tents and 12 walk-in sites for a more immersive experience. The sites have modern bathhouses, water and electric hookups, picnic tables, and fire rings. In addition, campers can enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi during their stay.

The campground is conveniently located near a lodge where you can find laundry services, dining, and shopping. This makes it easy to stock up on supplies or grab a bite to eat without traveling far from the park. Overall, Timbuktu Campground is an excellent choice for anyone looking to enjoy the outdoors while still having access to modern amenities.

Cabins

Echo Bluff State Park is a beautiful destination that offers 13 cabins for rent. These cabins are perfect for families and groups traveling together and can accommodate up to 12 people. These cabins range in size from 2 to 4 bedrooms and are fully equipped with everything you need for a comfortable stay. Each cabin features a fully equipped kitchen with all the necessary appliances and utensils, a cozy dining area, and comfortable bedrooms with fresh linens and fluffy pillows.

Bottom Line:

Overall, the cabins are a great option for anyone looking for a comfortable and convenient stay while enjoying the park’s natural beauty.

Towns Near Echo Bluff State Park

There are various options for visitors seeking accommodations near the park, ranging from peaceful rural towns to bustling cities.

Eminence, Missouri

If you’re looking for a place to stay outside the park’s boundaries, the charming town of Eminence offers a variety of lodging options to suit your needs. From scenic campgrounds and RV parks to cozy guest houses, luxurious retreats, and rustic lodges, you’ll find everything you need to make your stay comfortable and memorable.

In addition to the breathtaking natural scenery, Eminence offers an array of dining and recreational options to keep you entertained during your visit. Whether you’re looking for hiking trails, water sports, or simply a quiet place to relax and unwind, Eminence has it all.

Venice, Missouri

Nestled just a stone’s throw away from Echo Bluff State Park lies the charming small town of Venice. This hidden gem is a mere 10-minute drive from the park and offers a plethora of options for lodging, dining, and recreation.

Visitors can choose from a range of accommodation options, including peaceful cabins, quaint bed and breakfasts, and rustic cottages that offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The town also boasts an array of dining eateries, from casual cafes to upscale restaurants, serving everything from classic American fare to international cuisine. In addition, Venice has various recreational activities to suit all tastes, including hiking trails, fishing spots, and water sports.

Bottom Line:

Whether exploring the park or simply looking for a peaceful getaway, Venice is the perfect place to call home during your vacation.

Where To Eat in Echo Bluff State Park

When you get hungry, you will find places to choose from both inside the park and nearby. Whether you prefer picnicking in the park, dining on the premises, or driving a short distance for a delicious meal, plenty of options are available here.

Creekside Grill

Creekside Grill is the only traditional restaurant located within the park’s boundaries. It is situated in the Betty Lea Lodge and offers daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu features classic American dishes, including sandwiches, pizza, soups, seafood, pasta, and burgers. You can also enjoy a nice selection of locally sourced wines, artisan-crafted beers, and signature cocktails.

Dos Rios

Dos Rios is a highly-rated restaurant in Eminence, about a 20-minute drive from the park. The restaurant serves authentic Mexican cuisine and is open daily for lunch and dinner. Both tourists and locals love the food and atmosphere here. It’s a perfect place to end a day full of park adventures with delicious food and a refreshing margarita.

Sinkin’ Creek Mercantile

Located in the Betty Lea Lodge, Sinkin’ Creek Mercantile is the perfect spot to grab snacks and picnic items for visitors who want to enjoy a delicious meal at one of the numerous picnic areas in the park. Even though it’s not a conventional restaurant, the store has everything you need to ensure a satisfying and enjoyable meal in the park.

Echo Bluff State Park Facts

Trails at Echo Bluff State Park
Image Credit: Missouri State Parks

1. A New State Park Established

Echo Bluff State Park became a part of the Missouri State Park System and opened to the public on July 30, 2016.

2. What’s in a Name?

The park is named after a natural feature known as Echo Bluff. Echo Bluff is a prominent rock formation that towers over Sinking Creek. The name “Echo Bluff” comes from the echo produced when sound waves bounce off the bluff’s smooth face.

3. Camp Zoe

Over 85 years ago, the area where the park is now located was a summer camp known as Camp Zoe, where thousands of young people created lasting memories through outdoor experiences.

4. A Significant River

The Current River saw 4 Civil War skirmishes at Pitman’s Ferry. In 1964, it became part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

5. A Remarkable Creek

Sinking Creek is a significant tributary of Missouri’s Current River. It is the river’s second-largest tributary and is approximately 84 miles long. The creek originates in the Ozark National Forest and flows through the Mark Twain National Forest before joining the Current River near Akers, Missouri.

Final Thoughts

Echo Bluff State Park is a fantastic destination offering a wide range of activities and attractions for all ages. Whether you are interested in hiking, fishing, camping, or simply taking in the beautiful scenery, this park has something for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to visit Echo Bluff State Park?

Visiting Echo Bluff State Park does not require any entrance fee.

How much time should I plan to visit Echo Bluff State Park?

You should spend at least 1 full day exploring this park. Some visitors even choose to spend up to 3 days here.

What are some attractions near Echo Bluff State Park?

Can I bring my dog to Echo Bluff State Park?

Pets can stay with their owners in Echo Bluff State Park, and some accommodations are designed to be pet-friendly.

Amar Hussain's image

About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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