Immerse in nature Wilderness Lodge style!

There is an abundance of outdoor activities at Wilderness Lodge that will engage your mind and body, remind you that you have muscles that you didn’t remember you had, and will have any little ones so tired that they will be pleading to go to bed at night.

To start with, there is of course the Black River for a ton of natural water fun. Just a short walk from the cabins, the river, gravel bars, and side streams are great places to explore, swim, catch interesting water critters, or just relax in the sun (a beach day Ozark style, a staff favorite). There are plenty more outdoor activities on the 1,100 acre property including miles and miles of hiking, fishing, miniature golf, Frisbee golf, basketball, croquet, volleyball, shuffle board and yes, even primitive fort building. And there are a number of very cool nature attractions within a short car ride, including Elephant Rock State Park and the recently re-opened Johnson Shut-ins.

  • Command a canoe or raft down the beautiful Black River;
  • Splash into our in ground salt water pool to cool off, or ease your muscles in the hot tub;
  • Relax and unwind in your cabin, in the library, or on the grassy lawn;
  • Hike into the woods and immerse yourself in nature like Thoreau;
  • Roast s’mores over a fire;
  • Wonder at the moon and stars in all their celestial glory;
  • Play games on the lawn or in the lodge, laugh, and play some more;
  • Make a boat using sticks and leaves to launch down the river;
  • Simply jump in the river and let your cares float away;
  • Weave “gods-eyes”, make bracelets and other craft creations;
  • Catch fireflies and tree frogs as they come out at night.
Float Trips

Float trips are a great way to spend a day out in the Ozarks. We rent canoes, rafts, kayaks, and tubes, and port floaters upstream in the morning. The portage buses depart from our Riversedge Campground (2 minutes by car from the main lodge) usually around 10am and 11am. Upon reaching your entry point, you will climb into the water-ready vessel of your choosing and let the Black River guide you downstream for a 4 to 6 hours float (depending upon how fast the river is moving and how many times you stop to play on your journey). Don’t forget to pack a lunch and a cooler, and bring plenty of sunscreen! Goggles, masks and snorkels are also fun to have as the river is literally crystal clear. We do provide the life vests — but for kids we recommend that before your trip you purchase one of the form-fitting and much more comfortable kids life jackets from stores like Sam’s or Wal-Mart. At the end of your trip, you will end up right back at our Riversedge Campground. We kindly request that all rented equipment is returned to our Riversedge Campground by 6pm.  

Floating Fees are listed below:

  • 6-Man Raft: $125.00
  • 4-Man Raft: $85.00
  • Canoes: $46.00
  • Kayaks: $35.00
  • Tubes: $15.00

Note: All rented floating equipment must be returned by 6pm that day.

Hiking & Day Trips

There are plenty of places to go hiking on the 1000+ acres of Wilderness Lodge property, or short trips by car for half-day or full-day outings. Places to visit include Johnson Shut-ins, Elephant Rock, and Taum Sauk Mountain.

Hiking Trails at Wilderness Lodge

Places Nearby to Visit:

Sites in Lesterville to visit:

The Library

Our library is stocked with a small but unique collection of books for guests to read, enjoy, and reflect upon while visiting Wilderness Lodge. Its a great place to get out the heat and enjoy some quiet time just leafing through our eclectic array of books and magazines. If you borrow any books to read, we do ask that you please return them to the Library before you depart so our future guests will get to enjoy them as well. A screened in porch is the perfect place to enjoy a good book or time together! The Library can also be rented as a guest cabin, featuring a full size bed in the bedroom and a sofa bed in the living room/library area. The cabin sleeps 2-4 people. *not pet friendly


The Rec Room

Located next to the Lodge, the Recreation Room is another fun place to go to get out of the summer heat or a fall chill. Inside there are a variety of games to play as well as a large screen TV connected to DirectTV. If there is a ball game on then that is where you will most likely find any Cardinal fans. This room is perfect for group meetings and events!

The Family Lounge

Our family friendly lounge is a great place to relax and unwind for all ages. Enjoy a wine or spirit from our full bar, or sip on a robust coffee or a refreshing tea. Check out our interesting collection of classic board games and trivia available for anyone to play. Sit back in a comfy chair and flip through one of our books from the Lodge library or one of our topical magazines. The Family Lounge is open all day with bar hours from 5pm until closing. If you would like a cocktail or beverage before our bartenders arrive on duty, just let us know and we will be happy to serve you.