Missouri is full of scenic spots that are available for anybody who loves the outdoors and enjoys getting outside and seeing things.
A place by the name of Millstream Gardens Conservation Area happens to be one of those scenic spots that makes me proud of being a Missourian, mostly because our state is by no means lacking in such wonderful spots.
The Millstream Gardens area is made up of 916 acres situated in Madison County. The St. Francis River flows through the area and provides some great camera shots that could grace any calendar, especially those shots of the Tiemann Shut-Ins which are located at the site, so don’t forget your camera when you visit here.
The Tiemann Shut-Ins are similar to those at the Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park. The many boulders in the river provide some challenging whitewater rapids when the river is high, especially in the spring after a lot of rain.
During high water, the rapids can be rated as high as Class 3-4 which can only be managed by expert kayakers.
The Missouri Whitewater Championship is held here every March with the kayak races starting at the Millstream Gardens area and finishing about a mile-and-a-half or so downstream at the Silver Mines Recreation Area. This race has been around for some time now and this past March celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Camping spots are not offered at the Millstream Gardens area, but spots are provided at Silver Mines which I understand fill up pretty quick during the kayak races in March.
I’m not a kayak enthusiast but I’m told that after the spring rains, the whitewater rapids along this stretch of the river rival any of those out west. Some of the spots have names like the Big Drop, the Cat’s Paw, the Rickety Rack, and Willow Jungle, which gets its name from tree branches that can snare a kayaker.
The St. Francis River offers some good fishing, also. It originates in Iron County and flows some 225 miles to the Missouri-Arkansas border. Some of my favorite memories of fishing when I was a kid was on this river.
It wasn’t on this stretch of the river, though, but over closer to Farmington and I remember the big rocks and boulders similar to those at the Millstream Gardens area.
I remember one night, in particular, when my dad, my grandpa, my brother and I carried out some pretty heavy stringers of catfish.