Buck Hollow River Access sparkles Feb 18, 2006 22:54:10 GMT -6
Post by Steve King (Admin) on Feb 18, 2006 22:54:10 GMT -6
Buck Hollow River Access on the Jacks Fork is chiefly a swimming hole, says National Park Service ranger Bill O'Donnell. The access is near towering bluffs lined with trees.
Visitors to Buck Hollow can drive over the access point on the Missouri 17 bridge, then turn around and head back to the river. The view from the bridge is worth the extra trip.
Buck Hollow River Access sparkles
While mainly a swimming hole, be advised not to dive in from the bluffs.
Driving north on Missouri 17 near the convergence of Texas, Howell and Shannon counties, it's hard to see what's just around the corner. The road winds through forests and up and over rolling hills as it enters the federal district known as the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
Cresting a steep hilltop, a striking sight comes into view: An old concrete and steel bridge crosses the Jacks Fork River; the span looks to be in disrepair but is set next to an exposed wall of dolomite. The bluff is streaked dark from a combination of weeping water, elements and natural deposits.
If drivers go too fast on this stretch of highway, they'll miss the turn to Buck Hollow River Access. The wide, gravel lane is on the east immediately before the bridge — but do be sure to cross the bridge if you're passing through. The scene from the span shows the region and the river access in full glory. Sparkling water runs wide as it meanders past blufflines full of greenery.
Here's what you need to know:
Where: Approximately 105 miles east of Springfield; six miles northeast of Mountain View.
What: Chiefly, Buck Hollow is a swimming hole, says National Park Service ranger Bill O'Donnell: "It's a pretty place." But O'Donnell offers a warning: "We have a problem park-wide — not really a problem at Buck Hollow — with people diving off these bluffs. ... And we have about one or two fatalities a year because the water isn't deep enough for that."
This day in summer visitors splash near shallow rapids or swim in deep pools close to the edge of the towering bluff that lines one side of the Jacks Fork. It feels cooler in the valley that is Buck Hollow as wind gently ripples the surface of the waterway that later joins the Current River.
Brown picnic tables in the shade offer a spot for lunch in the wooded area; small restrooms are available for changing into swimsuits. Anglers catch bass in this trophy bass management area, too.
Buck Hollow offers a put-in for canoeists. Paddlers can take an 8-mile trip that lasts about 5 hours or travel to Alley Spring on 17 river miles.
Before heading east, though, check the water levels and weather reports.
"The Jacks Fork is very temperamental," says O'Donnell. "Some times of year, many sections of the Jacks Fork are too shallow to float a canoe. And during spring and fall flood season, the pendulum swings a little more wildly there. It's subject to flash floods very quickly. ... The river can get really ill-behaved. It's like a little kid that won't stay in his bed."
If you stay: There is no camping at Buck Hollow. Primitive camp spots without facilities are available at no cost at Blue Spring Access, says O'Donnell. Blue Spring is found a handful of miles east of Buck Hollow off Missouri OO.
For information: Call the Van Buren office of the National Park Service at (573) 323-4236.
Source: Springfield News Leader
Published: Thursday, August 25, 2005