Can I Camp in Mark Twain National Forest?

Mark Twain National Forest has been a popular destination for those seeking outdoor recreation and adventure. With its vast expanses of pristine wilderness, it is the perfect place to camp, hike, fish, hunt, and explore. Located in Missouri, this national forest is home to a wide variety of wildlife and offers a great escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday city life.

The Mark Twain National Forest encompasses 1.5 million acres of public land that stretches across 29 counties in Missouri. It contains four ranger districts with headquarters located in Ava, Poplar Bluff, Rolla, and Salem.

The forest provides over 500 miles of trails for hiking and horseback riding as well as hundreds of lakes and streams for fishing or other recreational activities. Camping is allowed in the forest with camping areas open from April 1st through October 31st each year.

If you plan on camping in Mark Twain National Forest you will need to obtain a permit first. The permits are available online or at any one of the four ranger district offices located throughout the forest.

There are designated campsites where you can pitch your tent or park your RV if you wish to stay overnight. Each campsite has its own set of rules such as no campfires allowed or only certain types of camping gear permitted.

Camping Rules:

  • Campfires are prohibited except within designated fire rings.
  • No littering.
  • No motorized vehicles off designated roads.
  • Dogs must be on a leash at all times.

Mark Twain National Forest also offers many other recreational activities such as hunting, boating, swimming, picnicking, nature viewing, bird watching, ATV riding and so much more! Whether you’re looking for a peaceful getaway or an action-packed adventure Mark Twain National Forest has something for everyone.


Yes! You can camp in Mark Twain National Forest with a valid permit obtained either online or at any one of the four ranger district offices located within the forest boundaries. Be sure to follow all rules and regulations when camping within the national forest boundaries for an enjoyable outdoor experience!


Photo of author

Chris Powell