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Rural Missouri Magazine

Summer in the valley
Red Bluff Recreation Area — Davisville, MO

by Jim McCarty

For the past 100,000 years, the Huzzah Creek has been doing its best to carve a picturesque valley through the Ozark hills. At one spot near Davisville, it did its work especially well, leaving behind a towering bluff that today is the highlight of the Mark Twain National Forest’s Red Bluff Recreation Area.

The namesake bluff’s reddish hue comes from iron compounds that are rusting due to exposure to air and moisture.

This recreation area features a campground with 37 sites, including nine double sites and three group areas. Most of the sites are in the valley near the river, but a few offer outstanding views of the valley.

The Huzzah is one of two clearwater gems that flow into the Meramec River (the other is the nearby Courtois). The little stream offers great float potential, although most trips start below the Red Bluff area unless heavy rains have raised the water level. Fishing for smallmouth bass, goggle eye and panfish can be excellent for those who know how to work the shallow, crystal clear water.

The most popular activity here seems to be soaking away the summer heat in the Huzzah. A rope swing at the base of the bluff adds to the excitement. There’s also a one-mile-long hiking trail that leads from the valley to the hilltop.

For those who just want to visit and see the sites, picnic areas with tables and grills can be used. Larger groups might want to reserve the pavilion.

The area is open from May 1 through Oct. 15. There is a $2 fee for entering the park, while reserving the pavillion costs $34 a day. Camping fees range from $8 for a single to $16 for a double.

For more information, call (573) 438-2633 or log on to www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/marktwain/recreation/sites/red_bluff/.

Rural Missouri magazine - November 2014
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