Saturday on the North Fork River
9 a.m. Hop in a Canoe at Twin Bridges
HC 64, Box 2300, West Plains, 417-256-7507
Ready to float? Begin your morning on the North Fork River at Twin Bridges outfitter, where you’ll put in your canoe for a float to Blaire Bridge. It will take you past some of the best sites on the river.
1:30 p.m. Paddle the Springs
Floating the river you’ll find Blue Spring. Paddle in and explore or take a dip in the cool water. Two miles from Blue Spring, you’ll see a limestone bluff where the river flows underneath. Paddle under the bluff and watch water drip down from the rock. Float a little over a mile to stop at North Fork Spring.
4 p.m. Navigate the Falls
As you pass The Falls (a well-known series of mini-waterfalls that can be navigated by canoe if you’re an experienced paddler), you’ll have the option to cross them on canoe or bypass them. If you tackle The Falls, make sure you approach the two-foot drop with caution. Do not go over the ledge from your side
Sunday on the North Fork River
11 a.m. Visit Hodgson Mill
5 Merrimack St., Dora
After checking out of the River of Life cabin, spend your last day mill-hopping. Hodgson Mill—just a 20 minute drive away—was built in 1861 to control the spring that was entering Bryant Creek. Three million gallons of cold water flow through it a day, and this water once powered a cotton gin, lumber mill and clothing factory and generated electricity. Some of the old machinery still sits in the building.
1 p.m. Eat lunch at the Rockbridge Rainbow Trout and Game Ranch
4297 County Road 142, Rockbridge, 417-679-3619
Stop at the restaurant at Rockbridge Rainbow Trout and Game Ranch to enjoy fresh-caught fish and a great view of the river, mill and hummingbirds.