I almost didn’t put this run in my list. I hesitated for two reasons:

  1. Because I don’t know how the park will respond to someone boating through here. I do know you can go to the office sign a waiver and if you prove you have the safety equipment they will allow you to climb and repel on the bluffs. If they will do the same for kayaking, I do not know.
  2. As most of you know, at least the ones who have been to the park or have looked in some kind of Missouri Outdoor magazine, there is an impressive class III-IV section of whitewater running through this park. For the most part, I don’t think this section would be too difficult. But below the “main rapids” section the river funnels into a narrow channel before reaching the deep hole of water by the bluffs. I have never seen this, but from what I’ve heard, the flooded river picks up a whole lot of speed going through the channel and when it hits the relatively slow water of the “bluff hole” it forms an incredibly nasty hole.I once heard a story of a person who was at the park when the river was flooded. He got too close to the rocks and fell in above this hole. After the water went down, scuba divers recovered his body 30 feet down pinned under the rocks.

I don’t know if this story is true, but I don’t think I want to try to surf this one. Anyway my point is if you do this run be sure you have the skills enough to run the class III-IV rapids and still be able to eddy out before reaching the hole. I just don’t think swimming would be an option.


Class III-IV with a Class VI hole


Johnson Shut-ins State Park