Current River Headwaters
The beauty of the surrounding Ozark region and the steady flow of clear water from the many springs attracted settlers to the Montauk area in the early 1800s. These same natural resources entice visitors to this secluded area today. The springs in the northern end of Montauk State Park combine with tiny Pigeon Creek to form the headwaters of the famed Current River. The park attracts anglers for the outstanding trout fishing, and vacationers flock to Montauk during the summer months to enjoy the variety of outdoor activities available in the park and the surrounding region.
Early residents came to the area from New York and named their first post office after Montauk in Suffolk County, Long Island. Because of its proximity to the springs and its abundant supply of water power, the village of Montauk proved to be an excellent spot for milling. A total of four mills served the community at various times. The last, a gristmill built in 1896, still stands in the park. The mill contains most of its original machinery and is open seasonally for tours.
Since its acquisition by the state in 1926, Montauk State Park has been one of the most popular vacation spots in Missouri. It is one of three Missouri state parks known for fine trout fishing. The official trout season opens March 1 and runs through Oct. 31. Catch-and-release fishing is available on weekends during the winter. A fishing license and daily trout tag are required. The cold, spring-fed waters are well stocked by the park's trout hatchery, which is managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation. For information concerning regulations and daily limits, contact the park lodge or hatchery personnel.
You don't have to be an angler, however, to enjoy all that Montauk State Park and the surrounding region have to offer. The Current River is known as one of the finest canoeing rivers in the Midwest. Although canoes are not allowed within the state park boundaries, the northernmost canoe access to the Current River, Tan Vat, is located just below the park's southeast border. Both the Current River and the nearby Jack's Fork River have been designated as National Scenic Riverways by the National Park Service, which helps preserve them in their natural, free-flowing state. Additional information about area canoe rental agencies can be obtained from the park office or lodge.
Hiking one of the park's trails is an excellent way to view the area's natural environment. Several species of native Missouri wildflowers can be viewed around the springs and along the Current River. Pine Ridge Trail takes hikers out of the valley, through a portion of the park's natural area, and along the scenic hilltops. For a more leisurely walk, visitors can see Bluff Spring along the level Montauk Lake Trail.
Interpretive programs are presented by the park naturalists throughout spring, summer and fall.
Located adjacent to the Current River, Montauk's campground features electric and basic sites with paved level pads, fire grills, picnic tables and lantern posts. Some campsites can be reserved in advance. Facilities include modern restrooms, hot showers, dump stations, coin-operated ice and laundry machines and a campfire wood lot.
Housekeeping and sleeping cabins and motel rooms are available throughout the year; register at the park's lodge. A modern dining lodge centrally located in the park opens daily during the trout season and on weekends during the winter catch-and-release season. A store in the lodge is stocked with grocery items, camping and fishing supplies.