The Indigenous Osage People named this river the Niangua, which translates to Big Winding Stream of Many Springs.

The Big Niangua River Trail starts at Ha Ha Tonka State Park. The first four miles are lake and require paddling. For a river float try an upriver access.

  • Distances
    • Whistle Bridge to Ha Ha Tonka 13.3 miles
    • Mother Nature's Family Side to Ha Ha Tonka 11.7 miles
    • Mother Nature's Wild Side to Ha Ha Tonka 9.5 miles
    • Casa de Loco to Ha Ha Tonka 6.2 miles
  • The Lake of the Ozarks and Niangua River are public waterways available for fishing and boating. However, the shoreline and stream bank above the high waterline is privately owned. Trespass laws do apply. Be considerate of the property rights of others.
  • Public access points are marked on the map. Commercial access points may charge fees for boat rentals or the use of ramps; contact them for details.
  • Missouri law prohibits glass containers and styrofoam coolers in canoes and kayaks.
  • Don't forget your fishing pole and permit. Fishing regulations on Lake of the Ozarks vary somewhat from those on the Niangua River. For complete fishing regulations, go to
  • Be safe not sorry. Know the river conditions before floating. Even the flat water portion of this trail can be hazardous in times of flood. Wear proper flotation devices. Use caution around low water crossings and downed trees. River level and flow conditions for this section of the Niangua River are available at:
  • The terms "north bank" and "south bank" of the river refer to those banks of the river that border the areas north and south of the Big Niangua River, regardless of the compass direction of the bank at that point in the river.