Day Trippin: Ride a horse and float a kayak in Eminence

Vicki Wood
Special to Lake Sun Leader
Riders are a common sight in Eminence. Many businesses have areas for horses to tie-up.

Driving down into the hills of Eminence feels like the first turn into the foothills of Colorado. The small town in Shannon County is a popular destination for those looking to experience the outdoors. 

Eminence is south of Rolla. Take Rolla south down Highway 73, to Highway 19 and to Business 19 that will take you right into downtown Eminence. 

During May, the town puts on quite a show during the annual bluegrass festival that draws thousands for a weekend of music.

Eminence may be known for its proximity to the Ozark National Waterways but it has also become a weekend destination for equestrians. The whole town seems to thrive from visitors who come to spend time riding.

The main campground in town even has a horse barn and trailer parking. The quaint “old town” built right on the main drag has shops displaying horse supplies and some even have tie-up posts out front.

The tack store in town stocks everything a rider needs for a day on the trails.

There are also several ranches in the area that offer trail ride expeditions and accommodations. It is also not unusual to see riders picking their way around the courthouse square or downtown on horseback.

The only thing that breaks up the feeling of a throwback to the old west is the dual popularity of kayakers, floaters, and canoers. Log cabin rentals are abound for such a crowd.

Rental companies shuttle people to and from the waterways to float back to at the end of the day. It’s not uncommon to find folks hanging out along the shore, taking in the sun and scenery and enjoying the access to some of the state’s best float treats and springs.

Eminence has more than 120 miles of navigable waters on the Jack’s Fork and Current rivers in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Take a weekend to canoe or kayak and explore the many springs in the area. 

You may also be able to catch a glimpse of the herd of wild horses that roam the land around the Jack’s Fork and Current rivers. Located in Shannon County, the horses have been running free for over 100 years, and can be seen at different times of the day.

For more information, contact the Missouri Wild Horse League, a group that was formed in 1992 to protect the horses.