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Difficulty III
Length Miles
Gauge Little St. Francis River at Fredericktown, MO
Flow Range 5.00 - 9.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 23 minutes ago ~ 5.47 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 12/04/2011 2:17 pm

River Description


Gauge Description:
Look for 1" of rain on wet ground within 24 hours at the Libertyville & Fredericktown rain gages. A paddler's gauge is on the highway J bridge located about 1 mile upstream from the put-in in Amidon Memorial Conservation Area. Levels are measured from the top of the footing (minimum) on the upstream, river-right bridge pier. When the ground is wet, the gauge has been correlated with the USGS gauge on the Little St. Francis River. If the Little St. Francis is less than 8 feet, the approximate conversion is

Castor @ Hwy J bridge = 0.6 * (Little St. Francis – 3)
 

  Little St. Francis
(feet)
Castor @ Hwy J bridge
(feet)
Minimum 5.0 1.0
Optimum 5.7 - 7.5 1.5 - 2.5
Maximum 9.0 3.2 (class IV-ish at levels > 2.6)


 

River Description:
This is a very short run in a scenic mini-gorge (shut-in) for those who want multiple creek runs in one day. The four main drops can be scouted from a trail that parallels the river. The drops are named Crack in the Rock, C-Turn, Throat, and Rooster Tail. If you want to do laps on the Castor, simply take out in the pool at the bottom of the last drop and walk the 200 yards or so to the top of the first drop.

The Castor River Shut-Ins has been a local teenage hangout known as Pink Rocks for generations. Fortunately, state ownership and oversight have cleaned up the trashy appearance of this naturally beautiful area.

Logistics:
Both the put-in and take-out are in Amidon Memorial Conservation Area. From Fredericktown MO, at the intersection of Hwy 72 & Hwy OO (Hardees Restaurant), go east 1.9 miles on Hwy 72 to the intersection with Hwy J. Turn left on Hwy J and go 4.4 miles to the intersection with Hwy W. If you want to check out the paddler's gauge, continue another 0.9 miles on Hwy J to the Castor bridge; otherwise, turn right (south) on Hwy W and go 1.2 miles until the pavement ends and W becomes CR 208 (left turn). Go 0.9 miles on CR 208 to the intersection with CR 253 and continue past the intersection a short distance to the take-out parking area on the left. The parking area is not visible from the river, so you might want to scope out the take-out by walking down the road to the river.

To get to the put-in from the CR 208/253 intersection, go 1 mile down CR 253 and park in the public parking area. A trail leads from here to the beginning of the whitewater section; however, it is more convenient to bushwhack 100 yards or so over to the river and put in.

An alternative put-in is the Hwy J bridge. This adds about 1 mile of flatwater to the trip but gives the options of a warm-up and reading the paddler's gauge at the bridge.

Guidebooks:
A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to the Ozarks (formerly Ozark Whitewater) by Tom Kennon (3rd edition, Menasha Ridge Press) has a good description of the run. MoCreekin' has some good info about this and other creek runs in Missouri.

History:
The Castor River Shut-Ins was first paddled in 1978 by Karl Koenig, Jo Ann Weber-Koenig, Herm Smith, John Ruprecht, and others. The Castor was the first “creek” run to be discovered in Missouri and followed 10-15 years of whitewater paddling on the nearby St. Francis River.

 

Rapid Descriptions

Comments

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13 years ago

This is a very beautiful and peaceful conservation area. We love taking our family here for an outing. Its a shame that there are no pics, that way people that have never been here could see why its called "Pink Rocks".

Gage Descriptions

Look for 1" of rain on wet ground within 24 hours at the Libertyville & Fredericktown rain gages. A paddler's gauge is on the highway J bridge located about 1 mile upstream from the put-in in Amidon Memorial Conservation Area. Levels are measured from the top of the footing (minimum) on the upstream, river-right bridge pier. When the ground is wet, the gauge has been correlated with the USGS gauge on the Little St. Francis River. If the Little St. Francis is less than 8 feet, the approximate conversion is

Castor @ Hwy J bridge = 0.6 * (Little St. Francis – 3)
 

  Little St. Francis
(feet)
Castor @ Hwy J bridge
(feet)
Minimum 5.0 1.0
Optimum 5.7 - 7.5 1.5 - 2.5
Maximum 9.0 3.2 (class IV-ish at levels > 2.6)



 

Directions Description


Both the put-in and take-out are in Amidon Memorial Conservation Area. From Fredericktown MO, at the intersection of Hwy 72 & Hwy OO (Hardees Restaurant), go east 1.9 miles on Hwy 72 to the intersection with Hwy J. Turn left on Hwy J and go 4.4 miles to the intersection with Hwy W. If you want to check out the paddler's gauge, continue another 0.9 miles on Hwy J to the Castor bridge; otherwise, turn right (south) on Hwy W and go 1.2 miles until the pavement ends and W becomes CR 208 (left turn). Go 0.9 miles on CR 208 to the intersection with CR 253 and continue past the intersection a short distance to the take-out parking area on the left. The parking area is not visible from the river, so you might want to scope out the take-out by walking down the road to the river.

To get to the put-in from the CR 208/253 intersection, go 1 mile down CR 253 and park in the public parking area. A trail leads from here to the beginning of the whitewater section; however, it is more convenient to bushwhack 100 yards or so over to the river and put in.

An alternative put-in is the Hwy J bridge. This adds about 1 mile of flatwater to the trip but gives the options of a warm-up and reading the paddler's gauge at the bridge.
 

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