Big Barren Creek
Points of Interest:
- Explore a high-quality Ozark stream.
- See lush mesic bottomland forest along the Big Barren Creek.
- Devil’s Run, a tributary to Big Barren Creek, contains an interesting sedimentary rock shut-in.
Natural Features Description:
Big Barren Creek is a losing creek upstream of the natural area, but here visitors will find a gaining stream with deep, permanent spring-fed pools. The creek contains an exceptional diversity of aquatic habitats that supports nineteen native fish species, including chain pickerel and longear sunfish in the pools and bleeding shiners and rainbow darters in the riffles. The bottomland forests along Big Barren Creek contain oaks sharing dominance with sycamore, bitternut hickory, sugar maple and black walnut. Pawpaw and spicebush are common in the understory. Cherty woodlands dominate the uplands with small dolomite cliffs and glades. Along the Devil’s Run tributary large chert, dolomite and sandstone boulders form a shut-in stream passage during rainfall events.
This natural area is within the Mark Twain National Forest. From Van Buren take Highway 60 west to Highway C. Turn left (south) onto Highway C and proceed for about 11 miles to County Road 167 (just before crossing Big Barren Creek). Head right (west) on County Road 167 for 2.3 miles to the small Forest Service parking area. From here you can follow the creek or the old road up into the natural area. A map and compass are recommended to explore the area. Hunting is permitted.