Missouri Local Attractions
With River of Life Farm being perfectly located in the heart of the Ozarks, you’ll find many wonderful attractions within a short distance of our location. The Mark Twain National Forest, Grist Mills, Hiking and Horse Trails are just a few of the local attractions you’ll see.
Try out our NEW interactive ATTRACTIONS, HIKING AND HORSE TRAIL MAP. Just click on the location below:
(Click on the selected ‘Trails’ description window for a printable map.)
Click on the attractions below for more detailed information.
- Ozark Grist Mills
- Missouri Fly Fishing
- World Class Hiking
- Mark Twain National Forest
- Caney Mountain
- Grand Gulf National Park
- Mammoth Spring
- Laura Ingalls Wilder Home
- Laura Ingalls Wilder, Mansfield entertainment
- Antique Shops
- West Plains Civic Center
Early white settlers of the Missouri Ozarks, familiar with the water powered grist and sawmills in Europe, harnessed the power of Ozark springs and rivers to grind their grain. These grist mills not only provided a necessary service for the community to prosper, but also generally served as the center of society in many Ozark communities. Sometimes these centers evolved into county seats.
Often springs were chosen over rivers, as they are somewhat more predictable and easier to dam. Not only did the spring need to provide adequate power to harness, but other key factors such as the location to settlers, ease of accessibility by wagons, and protection from floods was necessary.
Enjoy visiting the following Grist Mills:
Dawt Mill – Approx 30 minutes
Hammond Mill -Approx 1 hr 15 min.
Hodgson Mill – Approx 20 minutes
Just a short drive from Treehouse Cabins you’ll find great hiking in the Mark Twain National Forest. There are two popular hiking trails. The Devils Backbone Wilderness offers 13 miles of marked trails featuring awesome panoramic cliff views of the North Fork River. As you hike the trail, you’ll pass Blue Spring, one of the major springs that feeds the North Fork River.
The Ridge Runner hiking trail is 22 miles long and extends from Noblett Lake in the north to the North Fork Recreation Area to the south. Two hiking loops will lead you by some of Missouri’s best topography. 334 species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds can be found in the area.
For a great short hike, Ball Pond Hollow is close by. This is an off-trail trek, but offers some great sites along the way.
This area was one of the last strongholds for the wild turkey in Missouri and was part of a wildlife refuge established by the Conservation Department in 1940 during the early years of the wild turkey restoration program. The area lies near the center of what is known geologically as the Gainesville monadnock group, a series of high conical peaks that rise above the surrounding landscape.
The knobs, steep ridges and deep valleys of this natural area offer visitors a chance to walk through a landscape similar to what the early explorer H.R. Schoolcraft might have seen in 1818. On south and west facing slopes you will see large open dolomite glades, known locally as “balds”. On these glades are stunning wildflower displays including cobea beard tongue, yellow coneflower, narrow-leaf gayfeather, and palafoxia. (Approx. 37 miles from Treehouse Cabins) Website | Map it
Some people call Grand Gulf State Park the “Little Grand Canyon.” Some just call it “breathtaking.” The park is one of the natural wonders of the Ozarks, presenting the most spectacular collapsed cave system in the Ozarks. The “Grand Gulf” stretches for more than a mile between 130 foot high walls. Visitors can view the gulf from trails on top or from the floor where they can walk under the natural bridge, which spans 250 feet with a 75-foot high opening. There is no official trail leading to the bottom so visitors should use extreme caution when attempting to access the bottom. Interpretive trails detail the formation of the gulf. Approx 1 hour 30 minutes. Website | Map it
Mammoth Spring is Arkansas’s largest spring and the second largest spring in the Ozark Mountains. A National Natural Landmark, the spring flows nine million gallons of water hourly. Forming a scenic 10-acre lake, it then flows south as the Spring River, a popular Ozark trout and float stream. Located near the spring, the park’s 1886 Frisco depot will take you back in time to an early 1900s train station. Parked just outside the train station is a Frisco caboose to explore, too.
Here at the picturesque park, remnants of a mill and hydroelectric plant also reflect Mammoth Spring’s history.
Park facilities include an information center that also serves as an Arkansas Welcome Center. Exhibits here share the story of the area’s history and natural resources. Nearby are picnic sites, a trail, ball field, and children’s playground. Approx 1 hour 30 minutes. Website | Map it
In a log cabin near Pepin, Wisconsin, on February 7, 1867 Laura Elizabeth Ingalls was born. Her parents were Charles Phillip Ingalls and Caroline Quiner Ingalls. They possessed a pioneering spirit that urged them ever westward, to lands of promise and hope.
The Museum exhibits include artifacts spanning over a century of the lives of the pioneering history described in the “Little House” books. The life, writings and career of Rose Wilder Lane are also featured in a section of the museum. Recreations of rooms from Rose’s homes, her desks, her manuscripts, and souvenirs from her world travels are also displayed.
Approx 1 hour 26 minutes. Website | Map it
For a nostalgic journey to earlier times, shoppers can visit the many antique and specialty shops in West Plains and surrounding areas. There are several antique stores for your shopping pleasure. You’re sure to find that perfect item to take home with you.
Gather your family and friends and plan on spending an entire weekend browsing through charming stores brimming with treasures just waiting to be discovered! Approx 30 miles.
The West Plains Civic Center is a popular facility for everything from concerts to circuses, stage shows to athletic events and conferences to conventions. Because of its ideal location, the West Plains Civic Center serves the cultural and entertainment needs of south central Missouri and north central Arkansas. Easily accessible by major highways, the center draws audiences from a survey area of 120,000 people in a 60-mile radius of West Plains. When booking your events in the Ozarks, we encourage you to set your sights on the West Plains Civic Center.