The Three Types
Commercial access points, such as campgrounds, are numerous along the streams of the Elk River basin. Most welcome the public at large for varying fees.
A limited number of formal public access points are maintained by the Missouri Department of Conservation and/or local municipalities. They generally have additional rules such as curfews and prohibitions on fireworks, but are free to the public.
Though less formal, there are additional roadside access points along the streams of the Elk River basin. These are points where the creek makes contact with a roadway, or where the stream can otherwise be accessed directly from a roadway.
Keep in mind that you may not block any roadway in the course of accessing a stream.
While you may be able to access the stream in this manner, parking is another matter. Parking along the side of a road is not necessarily legal. Parking off of the roadway requires permission from the land owner on whose property you wish to park. Failing to obtain this permission first may result in a tow.
Private access is obtained only through the permission of the landowner on whose property you wish to cross in order to get to a stream.
If you ever wish to use a private access point, you would do well to ask first. You would be surprised at how accommodating many landowners are when properly approached.
Be warned that getting caught not asking first may get you a free ride to jail or worse.