Cuivre River State Park

One lane bridge

Do you ever camp close to home? Do you have a favorite spot? How often do you go there?

Dan and I recently camped for three nights at Cuivre River State Park. This state park is only 33 miles from our home; yet, it takes us about an hour to get there. It takes an hour because once off the highway, the roads to the campground are hilly, curvy, somewhat narrow and a bit long.

Once at the state park’s entrance, it is another four and a half miles to the campground. So, that campground is pretty far back in there.

Except it really isn’t. Right behind the full hook up loop is Walker Road. And at the edge of the campground loop, there is a short road which goes right out to Walker Road. However, this entrance/exit is closed except for emergency use. So, even though it’s there, it’s not there. Perhaps the philosophy is campers will see more of the park by having to drive through it. While this may be true, I couldn’t help but feel I would have preferred to enter the campground more directly and saved driving the hilly, curvy roads for later when we weren’t towing a travel trailer.

Once at our site though, it was really nice to have full hook ups. The campground has two loops of basic sites, one loop of electric only sites, and one loop of full hook up sites. It is a large park with numerous camping sites. This is good because it is a very popular park given its close proximity to the St. Louis area. We were able to reserve a site for three nights during the week.

Our site had a gravel pad, but we were able to get level easily. We could occasionally hear the traffic on Walker Road which was separated from our site by a grove of trees. Another thing I noticed was that our picnic table, which was on a slab, had a great view of the neighboring site’s sewer hook ups. And our neighbor behind us had a great view of our sewer hook ups. Our trailer was centered on the gravel pad; yet, our picnic table was fairly close to the neighboring site’s sewer hook ups.

Maybe other parks and campgrounds are like this, too, but I haven’t noticed it before. I did see one site, and there may be others, with a very nice view from the RV and picnic table. So, if we were to return to Cuivre River, I would reserve site 81, if possible.

Site 96
Site 81

Cuivre River has thirteen hiking trails with varying distances. I would enjoy hiking these trails, but I had seen several comments on Facebook just a few days earlier about how bad the ticks were at the park. So, Dan and I chose to avoid the trails, and we walked the campground loops each morning. This gave us 6,000 steps before breakfast, and so we were happy with that. There are two trail heads at the back corners of the full hook up loop, so access to the trails is easy. Perhaps we would hike these and other trails in the fall when we are wearing long pants and long sleeves.

Mossy Hill Trail
(0.80 mile loop)
Blazing Star Trail
( 2 mile loop)

There is also a lake and beach area at Cuivre River. Kayaks and canoes are available to rent during the season, and the lake is also used for fishing and swimming. This area opened up at the end of our stay; however, all we did with the lake was look at it from afar.

One thing I really did enjoy at the park was the Visitor Center. It’s a pretty small center with just a few nature displays, including some live turtles and snakes. But what I really liked was the display about the park’s history. The park was created and developed by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) beginning in the fall of 1934. In 1946, the National Park Service turned over the area to the state of Missouri to use as a state park.

The one lane bridge featured at the beginning of this post was built by the CCC and is still used today. Also still standing today are two camps, the Stone Shelter, the old park office and numerous small stone culverts. According to the display in the park,

The CCC enrolled over three million American men from 1933-1942 who helped revive the land and forests of our nation.

Cuivre River Visitor Center

For another really interesting project by the CCC, check out this post from fellow blogger, Bill, at OntheRoadofRetirement. I encourage you to take the time to read it. I only recommend high quality content, and I guarantee it will be worth your time. Have I ever steered you wrong?

I’ll leave you with one fact I remembered from the CCC exhibit. Did you know that the CCC taught over 100,000 enrollees to read and write? Other education was taught as well, providing skills used in CCC projects as well as in jobs years later in the private sector. While Roosevelt’s deal was new, it truly was and is a lasting legacy.

List of Missouri State Park CCC Projects

We enjoyed our time at Cuivre River. And we appreciate all the work – past and present – to create and maintain our state park treasures.

21 comments

  1. This sounds like a wonderful place to camp, Betty. Of course, it’s the hiking trails that draw my first attention. It was wise of you to avoid walking anywhere that’s tick infested. My cousins daughter in law in Connecticut had Lyme Disease and was extremely ill for a long time before they finally diagnosed it. Do you have ticks for a long period of time? Here, their season is usually just the month of June. I loved reading that the CCC were English tutors. Great post! Enjoy your Sunday 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I asked at the Visitor Center about ticks. The worker there told me the only season they are gone is winter. Ug! The advice is to wear long sleeves, long pants, and a repellent, such as one with Deet. I’m thinking fall, with all its beautiful colors, would be a good time to go because we would be wearing long pants and long sleeves, and some of the brush may scaled back. Many of the trails we choose to walk or ride are more “open” and thus we are not so susceptible to ticks falling on us. I wish our ticks were only around for one month! Enjoy your Sunday, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As always, I enjoyed the story and the humor. I would go for site 81, too. When I saw the first photograph I speculated CCC–the bridge with the corrugated metal arches looks like the one at Elkmont campground on the Little River in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. I really enjoyed your descriptions of the CCC activity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course, I thought of you as soon as I saw the Visitor Center display about the CCC. I wasn’t aware that this park was the result of the New Deal. Another fact I read was that there were 8 states in 1933 (I think) that did not have any state parks. What a legacy! We are going to the Smokey Mountains later in the year, and I shall have to look for that bridge at the Elkmont campground. Maybe I can get a similar style photo. Yes, 81 was the best spot. I’d almost go back just to be there. Enjoy your day!

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  3. Great write up about this state park. Now I know what site to ask for if and when we go there. As far as the sewer connection goes—you would be aghast by or current situation. And those CCC boys, they did so much, we see it everywhere. Have a great Memorial Weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Yes, and the amazing thing to me about all those CCC projects is how many are still in use today. The park also has a camp, Camp Sherwood Forest, which was also created by the CCC workers. It’s been in use since 1937. There are 53 buildings and structures. In 1985, the whole camp was designated as a historic district by the National Park Service. The road to this camp was closed, so we did not see it. Perhaps another time. Enjoy your Memorial Weekend, too, and safe travels!

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  4. Great write up about a fantastic park. Isn’t it amazing what the CCC accomplished? They were the reason we have some many wonderful national and state parks today. Here’s another interesting fact I learned about those in the CCC, the majority of them when they left had gained on average forty pounds. They came hungry and left well fed. Thanks for the mention of my blog. Have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Yes, it was amazing all that was accomplished, and it is also amazing so much of it is still in use today. I thought your post about the reforestation was really interesting, and I never knew the CCC did projects like that. I learn so much reading other people’s posts. Enjoy your Memorial Day!

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  5. Looks beautiful, but the views of the sewer hookups do not look so good! I agree that you need to stay at site 81! The CCC gave us many parks to enjoy, an enduring legacy. I’m glad you enjoyed your stay!

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  6. It is so interesting to read camping tales from campers in other countries. We live in Scotland, and our favourite “nearby” spot is Dunkeld. When I was working (now retired) we liked to take our vw camper there in a Friday night so we could have the whole weekend. It was less than an hour’s drive,but so relaxing parked up by the river, with a short stroll into the historic town. I enjoyed reading your blog- and live the photos! Happy travelling!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Dunkeld sounds like the perfect place to visit for the weekend. We like a mix of being in nature and having things to do – such as taking a walk into an historic town. I look forward to reading your blog. Safe travels, and enjoy your day!

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  7. Oh, man. Ticks. I visited Missouri with my grandparents when I crossed the threshold into teendom. No one told this California girl about the nasty ticks. My legs and stomach were not a pretty sight at the public pool. Such embarrassment. As for the wonderful view of the sewer, we’ve seen that situation many times. I guess the designers are trying to get as many sites in as possible. More sights; more money. At least you had plenty of space between sites.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Plus, people can get really sick from ticks. No, thank you! I realize more sites, more money, but I also think there could be smarter designs, such as staggering the sites. And you are right; the sites were spacious, and that was nice. Thanks for reading and your comment. Enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

    • There are often many treasures close to home! I like exploring near home, too. Those weekends when we worked, as I’m sure is true for everyone, always flew by. We’re so glad to be retired now! Hope you have a great week ahead!

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