Ruby’s Landing: Kayaking the Gasconade River

The weather was unseasonably warm. Even in the Missouri Ozarks, 90-degree days are uncommon in late September. I’m usually not thrilled with such hot weather. However, considering I got completely wet during our five-mile Ruby’s Landing River Resort kayak trip, the heat was welcome.

After checking in at Ruby’s Landing, located on the banks of the Gasconade River, Ron Adamson, resort co-owner, suggested we park our car under a shady tree near the water. That way, when we ended our trip, we could pull our kayaks up onto the riverbank and get right into our car.

Ron Adamson
Ron Adamson, Ruby’s Landing co-owner

As Ron drove us to our trip put-in location, we chatted about Ruby’s Landing. Besides canoe, kayak, and raft rentals, Ruby’s Landing offers campsites, cabins, and even a wedding chapel. Ron recently became an ordained minister, which allows him to perform wedding ceremonies. Talk about full service!

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The inspiration for the resort came one evening as Ron and his wife had finished working on a bed-and-breakfast they planned to open. The bed-and-breakfast sets on a hill on the 100-acre property. As they sat on the porch at sunset, a warm glow reflected on the fields below them and the river beyond the fields. The idea to turn the property into a full resort came to them, and they haven’t looked back since. They abandoned the bed-and-breakfast, even though it was 90 percent complete, and went to work on the resort. In just their second season, they already have three cabins and 50 pull-through, full-hookup RV sites, plus additional campsites with only electricity.

Kayaking the Gasconade

Once we got to our trip put-in location, Ron set the kayaks in the water for us and helped me in. I love kayaking, but with bad knees, I do have some trouble getting in and out. Out of necessity, I’d learn later how to get in and out quickly and without help.

Rubys Landing - kayak trip start

At over 270 miles long, the Gasconade is the longest river completely within Missouri’s boundaries. It’s also known as one of the world’s crookedest rivers, full of twists and turns. It was a weekday, and the river was quiet. We didn’t see one other party on the river the entire trip as we paddled past wooded riverbanks and sandstone bluffs. The only sounds were the lapping of water as we paddled and the occasional bird call. Frequent turns in the river kept navigation interesting. So relaxing…until we came to the rapids.

Rubys Landing kayak trip

Caught on rocks

The weather had been dry for several months, and the river was lower than usual. We know to stay away from rapids. It means the water is very low there, and chances are, you’ll get stuck. There was no way to avoid it, though, and yes, we got stuck. I tried pushing off of a rock with my paddle to no avail.

I finally gave up and climbed out of my kayak and pulled it into deeper water. Then I had to get back in. Attempting to get in feet first and then bend my knees to sit was painful. I finally put my back to the side of the kayak and plopped down butt first. Success! Good thing, because we came across several more spots where the river was lower than normal, and we had to get out and pull or even portage around some areas. Although the water was mostly shallow, I managed to get soaking wet through all the in and out and pulling.

We finished the trip in about three-and-a-half hours—not bad, considering the low-water obstacles. I certainly got my exercise that day! Afterward, my legs and arms reminded me how out of shape I am. But it was worth every bit of pain. It had been over a year since we had last kayaked, and I realized how much I missed paddling down a river.

Checking out the rest of the resort

After our kayak trip we checked out the chapel and the cabins. We weren’t staying there, but were able to go inside one of the cabins to looks at it. Impressive! It certainly would be a wonderful place to stay on a return trip to Pulaski County.

Chapel at Rubys Landing
Ruby’s Landing wedding chapel
Rubys Landing cabins
Ruby’s Landing cabins

If you visit Ruby’s Landing

Ruby’s Landing is located at 22474 Restful Lane in Waynesville, Missouri. They offer various trip lengths. Our five-mile trip is the shortest. Check the website for further details on canoe/kayak rentals, campsites, and cabin rentals.

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Rubys Landing

The Pulaski County Tourism Bureau hosted our visit to Pulaski County. Our kayak trip was complimentary, but all opinions in this article are my own.

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