photo by Scott Merritt

photo by Scott Merritt

photo by Scott Merritt

photo by Scott Merritt

photo by Scott Merritt

photo by Scott Merritt
North Fork

photo by Scott Merritt

One of the finest and most beloved of the Ozark float streams is the North Fork River. This tributary of the White River flows south through the dissected plateau country of the Willow Springs Unit of the Mark Twain National Forest at the eastern frontier of the White River Hills section of the Ozarks. The river has cut deeply into this gently rolling plateau and carved a twisting, ledge-lined valley flanked by the steep hollows and sharp ridges of its smaller tributaries. Nowhere does the North Fork River flow through wilder or more appealing country than in the stretch between Twin Bridges and the old West Plains Road (now Highway CC).


photo by Scott Merritt

A large block of wild forest land cradles the river in this stretch and comprises the 8,000-acre North Fork Wilderness, mostly in Ozark County but extending into Douglas and Howell Counties along Tabor Creek. This wilderness is a truly impressive example of our original Ozarks.

The North Fork Wilderness straddles the North Fork River and derives its character from that swift, clear stream. Besides the scenic limestone bluffs, several areas of impressive Ozark bottomland forest are found here. These bottomland forest and open-water river habitats are part of the vital feeding grounds for the endangered gray bat which finds refuge in caves hidden in this wilderness.

The proposed North Fork Wilderness lies immediately north of the adjacent Devilís Backbone Wilderness and the North Fork Recreation Area. Besides the popularity of the area for canoeing, the uplands are traversed by the Ozark Trail and Ridge Runner Trail, connecting Devilís Backbone, North Fork Recreation Area, and North Fork Wilderness to the proposed Spring Creek Wilderness and Noblett Lake, 20 miles (by trail) to the north. All of this makes for a spectacular recreational and Wilderness corridor.

Proposed Wilderness Acreage
  • 8,009 acres in Mark Twain National Forest
Map of North Fork Proposed Wilderness
Map provided for reference information only. MWC is not responsible for it's accuracy.