An ideal day float in this section of the river is the 12-mile stretch from Hammond Mill to Sunburst Ranch. Shortly after you put in at Hammond Mill, you’ll come across Blue Spring on your left. The spring is surrounded by a semicircle of small bluffs, and it’s easily spotted from the river. Paddle your canoe into the spring and take a dip in the 40-degree water. The water here bubbles up from the ground and creates a stunning turquoise blue color you’re more likely to find on a tropical beach than on a river in the Ozarks. The spring is a popular jumping spot, but be sure to check for rocks in the water, as they can be hard to spot.
Farther down the river you’ll pass McKee Bridge, which can be dangerous when the water is high, so stay alert. Toward the end of your float you’ll have to navigate The Falls, a 2- to 3-foot rock ledge, but if you stay to the right you should be fine. Once you see Blair Bridge, you’re less than a half-mile from the takeout.