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Cabins at Roaring River State Park in Cassville, Missouri

by Robert Kay

Roaring River State Park -- set on a towering bluff above its namesake river in Cassville, Missouri -- is known for trout fishing and the 224-foot-deep Roaring River Spring, which produces about 20 million gallons of fresh water daily. The park, surrounded by Mark Twain National Forest, gives visitors the chance to relax amid the splendor of southeast Missouri's Ozark region. Home to one of the nation's oldest fish hatcheries and an abundance of hiking trails that wind through hardwood forests and along ridges, streams, waterfalls and naturally formed rock shelters, Roaring River also has a variety of accommodations, including 26 seasonal cabins.

Individual Cabins

Roaring River State Park has 10 individual cabins set near the park's old Civilian Conservation Corps lodge, which was built in the 1930s. The furnished cabins have two bedrooms with one queen bed in each, full baths, living areas and front porches. Though they look rustic, the cabins include modern amenities such as heat, air conditioning, satellite television and a full kitchen with cookware and utensils. All linens and housekeeping services are provided.

Duplex/Fourplex Cabins

Roaring River State Park also has a total of 16 duplex and fourplex cabins. These two-bedroom cabins, set along Highway F near the river, include similar amenities and services as the individual cabins but have either one other unit or three other units connected. Both styles of cabin have a double bed in each bedroom, and duplex cabins also include a pull-down bed in the living area. All three styles of cabin are available only from early March to late October.

Other Overnight Options

In addition to its rental cabins, Roaring River State Park also provides 26 hotel-style rooms at the Emery Melton Inn and Conference Center, which sits atop a bluff near the park's outdoor swimming pool and park store. Inn rooms typically are available from March to October and include mini-refrigerators, satellite televisions and private balconies with scenic views. Some rooms also have kitchenettes. The stone-and-timber lodge also has a full-service dining room and bar. If you prefer to rough it, the park has more than 180 campsites -- some with full hookups -- that are spread among three camping loops and available from late February to October. Other campground amenities include an RV dump station, running water and restroom, shower and laundry facilities. A few campsites are available year-round, but amenities are reduced in winter.

Activities and Attractions

Anglers in search of trout are likely to find them in abundance at Roaring River State Park. The park's Roaring River Hatchery, which opened in 1910, produces more than 250,000 rainbow trout annually and stocks the river and nearby trout streams daily. The hatchery is open for tours year-round. Anglers can purchase fishing licenses and equipment in the park store, and then prepare their catch at a cleaning and fillet station. The park also has seven trails, including the .2-mile Deer Leap Trail, which takes hikers past twin waterfalls to a boardwalk overlook that provides views of the hatchery and Rock River Spring. The 3.75-mile Fire Tower Trail, the park's longest, winds through dense Ozark forests, deep hollows and meadows to a circa-1930s lookout tower. Other park amenities include picnic areas and a playground.

About the Author

Robert Kay has written travel articles since 2002 and has more than 20 years of experience at three daily newspapers and a national magazine. His work has appeared in "Golfweek," "The New York Times" and various AAA publications. Now based in Florida, he holds a journalism degree from the University of South Carolina.