Missouri State Laws …
so no if, ands or buts......
No glass, beer bongs, kegs, gelatin shots or styrofoam coolers on Missouri State Rivers.
Children under the age of seven are required to wear a life jacket at all times while on board a watercraft. GHR stocks a limited selection of youth life jackets that can accommodate children from 30-50 lbs and 50-90 lbs. You may use your own coast guard approved life jacket if you wish.
The Gasconade River is patrolled by Missouri State Water Patrol! so represent us all well!
WARNING: UNDER MISSOURI LAW, AN OUTFITTER IS NOT LIABLE FOR AN INJURY TO OR THE DEATH OF A PARTICIPANT IN PADDLESPORT ACTIVITIES RESULTING FROM THE INHERENT RISKS OF PADDLESPORT ACTIVITIES PURSUANT TO THE REVISED STATUTES OF MISSOURI. 537.327 R.S.MO.
Gasconade Hills Resort offers a variety of floating services
- 4 Mile Float Trip - Our 4 Mile Float Trip, starts at Gasconade Hills Resort's access put in. You float from here 4 river miles to the Hazelgreen access where you will take out and receive a shuttle ride back to the resort. You will want to allow 2-4 hours depending on your stops and activities.
- 6 Mile Float Trip - Our 6 Mile Float Trip, is a short shuttle ride from Gasconade Hills Resort to the Barlow Ford Access Put In. You will float 6 river miles where you will end at the Resort access to take out. Allow 3-6 hours depending on your stops and activities.
- 10 Mile Float Trip - The 10 Mile Float Trip is only offered by special appointment and scheduled ahead of time. You will take a shuttle to Black Ford where you will put in and end at the resorts access where you will take out. This is a full day or overnight float.
- 20 Mile Float Trip - The 20 Mile Float Trip is only offered by special appointment and scheduled ahead of time. You will take a shuttle to Adams Ford where you will put in and end at the resorts access where you will take out. This is an overnight (possibly two nights) float.
- Local Eddy or Access
- Put in or take out your own equipment with a required reservation and check in
- Boat rental for a short float around the GHR eddy
- Boat Rental Options
- Canoes, Kayaks and Paddle Boards - Travel approximately 2 miles per hour
- Rafts Travel approximately - 1 mile per hour
- All GHR boat rentals included: paddles, life vest, waste bag and one way shuttle
A signed Float Waiver is REQURED for each individual floating. All minors are required on accompanying adult waiver.
A signed rental agreement is required for all equipment rentals.
Before you go floating this summer, there are some important things you should know to keep yourself safe. Float trips are a lot of fun, but it you don’t know the dangers, you could get into trouble on the water. Here are some tips for keeping dry and steering clear of danger:
Be aware that on some sections of the river land access may be difficult and help is far away. If you encounter any issues while on the river, please contact us at 573-937-1678 or call 911 if a medical emergency.
This information is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have a health-related concern, consult a physician. Also, the tips discussed here may lower injury risk, but the unpredictability of lightning affords no guarantees.
We issue each guest a waterproof wristband with our contact information and Coast Guard approved personal flotation device, please wear them at all times while on the river.
River levels can change drastically depending on rainfall, making passage and maneuverability more difficult. Even gentle stretches of water can have wicked undercurrents, even good swimmers can have difficulties, please wear a life jacket.
Never boat alone, all minors must be accompanied with an accountable adult. Children under the age of 2 will not be permitted to float.
Prior to your launch, make a plan with your partner or group, how will you traverse the river, and communicate as a group through the trip. Consider plans that address, your trip schedule, activities but also if become separated and how you travers the rough waters or unexpected rough weather.
Choose someone who can look ahead, scout rapids, currents and hazards (e.g trees). Then clearly communicate a plan of approach and safely make rescue plans when needed.
Prior to your trip, ensure someone in your group has basic water rescue techniques and first aid. Learn to recognize the symptoms and treatment for hypothermia.
Be sure all members of your group, know and stay within their skill and ability limits; do not attempt a section of river beyond your skill level.
While on the river, pay attention to weather and water conditions. If the water temperature and the air temperature combined total is 100 degrees or less, wear protective clothing. Use sunscreen, where hats and protective clothing to prevent painful sunburns.
If you capsize, hold on to your craft and get immediately to the upstream side. Float on your back, with your feet together and keep your feet pointed downstream. If you go over a ledge or drop tuck into a ball. Release your craft only if it improves your safety. Stay upstream away from the boat.
Be aware of currents in the water – you don’t want to end up floating farther downstream than you planned. If the current starts to pull you along faster or you see lots of rocks in the water ahead of you paddle away from them or paddle towards the shore.
Pay attention to your float path, with close attention to hazards in and out of the water. Stay away from low hanging trees and branches near the shore.
We do our best to avoid predicted storms and severe weather. There is often time when weather becomes unpredictable. Be aware the weather and aware of and unexpected changes, a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoons is not uncommon. Please Pay Attention, Please Be careful!
While this is a level 1 river, there are times when the current does create waves. Avoid letting big waves hit the side of your canoe, always try to keep your canoe at a right angle to the waves. Otherwise, the wave might push your canoe over.
DO NOT Litter, for the safety of our wildlife and ecosystem as well as the beauty of this water, use your mesh litter bag, keep in your boat and dispose of it at the resort, when you return.
Getting into your boat safely…
- Load any gear before you get into your boat.
- Put on your life jacket – you never know when you might fall out or tip over unexpectedly.
- To get in your boat, hold the canoe steady with both hands. Going feet first may result in tipping your boat. You don’t want to tip the boat before you even get out on the water!
- Crouch low – keep your knees bent and grab the sides of the boat for balance as you get to your seat.
- Always stay to the center, keeping your feet on the centerline will help keep the boat from rocking.
- Stay low, DO NOT stand up or walk in your boat when you are away from the shore.
- Avoid sudden or jerky movements, rocking from side to side could cause the canoe to tip over.
- Avoid sitting on the side of a canoe will cause it to tip over.
- Secure your equipment to the canoe, to avoid loosing
What to do if you tip over…
First don’t panic, and stay with your boat!
If you loose your personal items, do not attempt to retrieve them in deep or rough water. You are more important than they are.
Paddle or push the boat to shore, seek help from your group if needed. Once you are in shallow, then flip the canoe, this will dump out any water, then climb in. Your canoe will float even if its full of water until you can get to shore to empty it.
Difficulty: I, seldom II.
Gradients: general-2.6; Hwy. 38 to Grimes MiIl—-6.2; Competition-4.I; to Hwy. 32-3.2; to Hwy. 66-3.1; to Hwy. 7-2.7: to Hwy. 17-2.4; to Big Piney Rjver-2.6; to Indian Fold Bridge-2.2; to Hwy. 89-1.8; to Hwy. 50–1.7; to Missouri River -0.8.
Counties: Wright, Laclede, Pulaski, Phelps, Maries, Osage, Gasconade.
The Gasconade River is about 280 miles (450 km) long and is located in central and south-central Missouri in the United States.
The Gasconade River begins in the Ozarks southeast of Hartville in Wright County and flows generally north-northeastwardly through Wright, Laclede, Pulaski, Phelps, Maries, Osage and Gasconade counties, through portions of the Mark Twain National Forest. It flows into the Missouri River near the town of Gasconade in Gasconade County.
The headwaters of the Gasconade are in the southeastern corner of Webster County northeast of Seymour, Missouri where it drains the eastern margin of the Springfield Plateau. The river joins the Missouri River at the city of Gasconade. The river follows a meandering course through the Ordovician age dolostone and sandstone bedrock of the Ozark Salem Plateau creating spectacular bluffs and incised meanders along the way. Numerous springs and caves occur within the drainage area and along the river course. Significant tributaries include the Osage Fork of Webster and Laclede counties and Roubidoux Creek and Big Piney River of Texas and Pulaski counties. The Roubidoux and Big Piney flow respectively along the west and east boundaries of Fort Leonard Wood which lies a short distance south and east of the Gasconade.
The plateau surface near the midpoint is 300 feet (91 m) above the river bottom near the river midpoint northeast of Waynesville creating scenic river bluffs. At the junction with the Missouri the river bottom is about 400 feet (120 m) lower in elevation than the old plateau surface above the river. The elevation of the plateau rim at the headwaters is at or above 1,600 feet (490 m) with local hilltops at over 1,700 feet (520 m) (second highest elevation in Missouri near Cedar Gap). The elevation at the confluence with the Missouri is 500 feet (150 m) giving an overall drainage basin relief of 1,200 feet (370 m).
The Gasconade River is the longest river completely within the boundary of Missouri. It has been called one of the world’s crookedest rivers.
It is ranked with a difficulty of I and II (seldom) by those who canoe, kayak and float. It is considered a good float stream because there’s typically not a heavy congestion of boats. It is common to go for many miles without seeing another boat.
There are caves and an abundance of wildlife along the river and is considered a popular place by anglers for its largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.
Information courtesy of the Missouri Canoe & Float Association (MCFA).
What To Consider …
Be honest with yourself when evaluating your skills (and the skills of others in your party). You will have a safer and more enjoyable trip if you choose sections of the river that match your ability.
Check on current water levels before embarking on your trip. The difficulty level of certain sections of river can change dramatically with changes in water level. Gentle stretches can become dangerous with high water levels. At extremely low levels, you may find yourself paddling through puddles, dragging the canoe over rocks or portaging.
Know your physical ability, swimming skills and paddling skills. If you are uncertain about how much you can do, start with a short trip.
Take time to find out which lands along the river belong to private landowners. Private property may be marked with signs or purple paint.
Planning Your Float Time…
Canoes, and Kayaks travel about 2 hours per hour, Rafts are about 1 mile per hour, if you paddle, much less if you do not. You will also want to the river levels and current speeds. If we just had a big rain and the water is between 3-4 feet the water will move you faster, if the water is low, under 2 it will be slower. If it is 1.5 feet or less, plan to do a lot of work as the water is at a creep.
Use this as a gauge of how much float time you need. Then add in the amount of time you believe you will spend with pauses to take in the views, fishing time, play time on the eddy’s you find along the way and of course meal or snack times. That should give you an idea about how much time you plan to be on the water and to ensure you are able to return on time.
Picking Your Float Trip…
Both floats require a shuttle ride… consider which best suits your needs or preferences.
Both floats are quiet and serene, offering you’re an amazing, relaxing trip. Often, once you are on the water, you may go quite a stretch before you see another boat or people. We consider this a family river and want to keep it that way. This is NOT a party river, so please behave appropriately. If you encounter issues, please report them immediately.
The 4 Mile, starts at the resort boat access, where you put in. You float take out at the Hazelgreen access, then we shuttle back to the resort. This trip offers scenic views and lots of stopping points along the way. As it is shorter it is great for the first time floater, or those that just don’t want to make a full day of it. Another benefit to the shorter span, is if you are a fisherman and want to be out all day, it gives you a lot more water time, which is always great!
The 6 Mile, is a shuttle to the take out point (Barlow) and you float back to the Gasconade Hills to take out. This trip offers scenic views and you may even be able to check at a cave at the start of the float. This is a longer float stretch so planning your day is important, as you will have less time to get back, especially if you choose the later departure time.
The 10 and 20 Mile are not offered on our normal schedule. They require special planning and scheduling. These are float trips for the experienced, and often used as full day or overnight fishing excursions.
Planning Your Float Trip…
What do you plan to do with your day, while on your float trip?
You may want to swim, picnic, fish, play some games, nature watch or just paddle your way down the river at your own pace. Well, the day is your so take your pick.
Our float trips allow for 7-9 hours in total, so that is a lot of time to make the most of your day and be back by our required return time of 6pm.
Each float guest is issued a wrist band. Each band indicates your float trip, your group name, your float exit point and a number to call. This number is used for any critical issues while on the water and for your pick up shuttle (4 mile only).
There are eddy’s along the way to stop and picnic, rest, etc. All are on private property so stay to the eddy area only. DO NOT venture on to the private property areas past the eddy points. These are our neighbors and our community, and we appreciate your partnership in respecting their property and privacy.
What to pack (in your waterproof bags or containers)….
- First Aid Kit
- Phone (we recommend a waterproof aqua case with neck strap)
- Sun Protection, Sunscreen, Hats, etc.
- Water (lots)
- Snacks or Meal
- Water shoes
- Extra clothing
When you arrive at the landing, you may be pretty tired and have been in the sun so consider this as you make your way in and prepare to exit your boat. Once you are ready to exit your boat please follow these instructions.
- Beach your boat on the boat landing
- Ensure each person exits the boat
- Collect all your personal belongings and remove from the boat
- Leave the paddle and any additional rented equipment (e.g. cushions) in the boat
- Return the life vest to the rack
- Place your mesh trash bag in the nearest dumpster
Both trips, require you return by no later than 6pm. We appreciate your attention to timely returns, as our staff work hard all day and we would hate to make them work longer hours because of a lack of attention or diligence in abiding to the return time.
Returns after 6pm, will result in a later return fee, as detailed in your float agreement and waiver.
If you have not returned by 7pm this is the point we determine if we need to our a search and rescue team. Please understand, if this occurs, it is very serious action, which we try to avoid taking. In the event a team is sent to bring you in, it may result in additional fees.
Please…please… please… watch your time and DO NOT pose the need for us to deploy a search and rescue!
Operable float conditions at Gasconade Hills Resort, during float season, are when the weather is clear of storms, and lightning, with the water level above 1-4ft based on the gauge at Hazelgreen.
If the water measures above 4ft, GHR float services will not be available until the water returns to a safe level, that is below 4ft. This means your float could be cancelled and may not be able to be rescheduled before the end of your stay.
If the water measures below 1ft, GHR float services will not be available until the water returns to a safe level, that is above 1ft. This means your float could be cancelled and may not be able to be rescheduled before the end of your stay.
Weather conditions such as predicted storms or lightning in the area, will result in closed, cancelled or a change float services at our resort. This means your float could be cancelled and may not be able to be rescheduled before the end of your stay.
Unpredicted weather conditions may result in immediate closure of float services at our resort. This means your float could be rescheduled after the storm passes, or, cancelled and may not be able to be rescheduled before the end of your stay.
Weather is very unpredictable and we DO get pop up thunder and lightning storms.
Please review this information provided from the USDA Forest Service
High on the list of activities where people are injured by lightning are mountain hiking, climbing, camping, fishing, boating, and golfing.
Many vacationers are unaware of the measures they can take to lower their risk of being struck. They should educate themselves about lightning strikes. They should be near safe shelter and try to avoid high terrain, golf courses, and bodies of water during high lightning activity.
If you are caught above the tree line when a storm approaches, descend quickly. Avoid isolated trees.
It is better to run into a forest.
Electric storms can also develop in the middle of the night. To lower your odds, don't pitch your tent near the tallest trees in the vicinity.
Hikers, golfers, and others should run into a forest if a shelter or car is not nearby.
Drop metal objects like golf clubs, tennis rackets, umbrellas, and packs with internal or external metal frames.
Get off bicycles, motorcycles, horses, and golf carts. Metal bleachers at sports events, metal fences, and utility poles are also to be avoided.
If you are caught in an open field, seek a low spot. Crouch with your feet together and head low.
If Someone Is Struck - People who have been hit by lightning carry no electric charge and can be safely tended to. Also, victims who appear dead can often be revived. If the person is not
breathing, begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. But if a pulse is absent as well and you know cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), begin CPR. Stay with the victim until help arrives.
Don't sit or lie down, because these positions provide much more contact with the ground, providing a wider path for lightning to follow. If you are with a group and the threat of lightning is high, spread out at least 15 feet apart to minimize the chance of everybody getting hit (see "If Someone Is Struck").
Don't return to an open area too soon. People have been struck by lightning near the end of a storm, which is still a dangerous time.
Swimmers, anglers, and boaters should get off lakes or rivers and seek shelter when storms approach. Drop any fishing rods. Boaters who cannot get off the water before the storm hits should crouch low. Once on land, get at least 100 yards away from shore.
Please Note: You will need to purchase your fishing license prior to your visit. You may do so on-line at -- http://mdc.mo.gov/permits. We do not have fishing licenses for sale.
Get the latest information from Pulaski County's Fishing Website.
From Sports Afield: Many consider the Gasconade the finest float stream in Missouri. It's a river of caves and springs and wildlife, of solitude and beauty. And there's a plus for anglers: The Gasconade has very lively populations of largemouth and smallmouth bass... What's more, the river is underfished.
From Trailer Life: The Gasconade is not a canoe freeway, like some float streams. It's more like a country lane. Some days you can float for miles without seeing another boat. The Gasconade River is the longest river completely within the boundary of Missouri. It begins near Hartville and flows into the Missouri River near Hermann... A visit to Gasconade Hills can provide affordable family entertainment.
Local River Expert and Guide Service: Link: Gasconade River Guide