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Paddling’s Greatest Getaways

16 wild ways to find backcountry solitude and big-time scenery. All this, and you can bring the ice chest, too.

{Missouri}

Perfect Family Float

Easy paddling and great sidetrips (bat cave, anyone?) distinguish the Eleven Point River.

This is the kind of low-key, backwoods river where the local sheriff’s deputy doubles as a canoe outfitter and will happily tell you stories about arresting uppity out-of-towners. Message: Mooning strangers is frowned upon when floating this family-friendly river. Our suggestion? Paddle the Eleven Point-with or without kids-and keep your pants on. Start with a mile-long hike to Greer Spring, where 220 million gallons of agua bubble up through the dolomite every day, more than doubling the river’s flow and making it boatable year-round. Stop for a night at Whites Creek Float Camp, on river left about 12 miles from Greer. There you can pick up trails through the Irish Wilderness and explore nearby Whites Creek Cave, a 500-yard-deep cavern full of wild formations (and bats, after mid-September, at which time it’s closed).

Get there Put in at Greer Access, north of Greer on MO 19.

Take out at MO 142, east of Billmore. Multiple access points allow daytrips. Rentals and shuttles: www.missouricanoe.org/eleven.html

Season Year-round; spring and fall are best

Difficulty Easy. It’s mostly Class I with a few Class II riffles.

Contact Mark Twain National Forest, (573) 325-4233; www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/marktwain

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