Exploring Nature In the Ozarks
120,000 acres of National Forests and reserves open to the public.
Year Around Outdoor Recreation
Hiking, Canoeing, Horseback Riding, Biking, and Scenic Drives
Outdoor Recreation Any Time of Year
While the Ozarks have four true seasons, winter, spring, and fall have several weeks of surprisingly warm weather allowing comfortable field trips any time of year. Each season presents a broad range of outdoor adventure opportunities. Your biggest challenge is simply choosing what you want to do!
If you enjoy just a simple walk in the woods, you have literally hundreds of places for day hikes, short or long, easy or difficult. If you have a hobby in any of the natural sciences, if you are an amateur naturalist, a birder, a landscape, macro, or wildlife photographer, if your hobby is wildflowers, fossil and rock collecting, you'll be pleased to know you have a wonderful set of biologically diverse resources close by when you stay at Fish & Fiddle.
Norfork Lake Public Lands
On Lake Norfork the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has 25,000 acres of land under wildlife management programs. The Corps identifies some 115 different Eco land types around Lake Norfork. All 25,000 acres are open to the public.
Ozark National Forest
Explore the Sylamore District of the Ozark National Forest and the Leatherwood Wilderness which has another 200,000 acres of public land. The Sylamore and Leatherwood have hundreds of old road beds that offer easy walking. Hiking trails offer several opportunities for day hikes.
For one of the most accurate and best represented typifications of the Ozark Eco system, take some day trips into the Sylamore District of the Ozark National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service has designated two fascinating Special Interest Areas - Cliffty Canyon Botanical Area, and City Bluff. The Sylamore is a 30 minute scenic drive from Fish & Fiddle. This drive itself is a marvelous look at the Ozark Upland terrain. At City Bluff (top photo) you'll stand 100 feet above the White River on an impressive limestone bluff. (You can drive to City Rock Bluff.)In the bottoms of Cliffty Canyon you'll experience up close the limestone/water formations the Ozarks are so famous for.
The White River, the upper and lower North Fork River, and the Buffalo National River all offer scenic, gentle canoe trips. You do not have to be a white water paddler to enjoy these rivers. All three rivers have canoe rental operators who also provide pick up transportation at the end of your trip.
See Ozark Scenery the old-fashioned way - on horseback! These back roads are seldom traveled by vehicles and are frequently used by riders. Because many of the roads are connected, you can ride all day without seeing the same places. You can also drive these roads, hike them, or run them on a mountain bike. There are lots of little creeks and waterfalls, bizarre rock formations, scenic views, and historical spots. In addition to the interesting terrain you'll also see wildflowers, birds, and wildlife. Three different operators offer horseback riding in the Sylamore National Forest.
Mountain Biking & Hiking Trails
The Pigeon Creek National Trail System was designed for mountain biking, but is also used by hikers. With 18 miles of stacked loop trails you can go for short or long treks without having to double back. The trails run along the Norfork Lake shoreline and surrounding uplands. Trail difficulties range from beginner to intermediate. A second mountain biking trail runs through the Sylamore District of the Ozark National Forest. This is a 13 mile trail running through some of the most interesting terrain in the Ozarks.