Earlier this week, my dad and I spontaneously decided to take a day trip to check out the springs of Southern Missouri. The Current River and Jacks Fork River create a stunning landscape made of hills and valleys. These rivers are lined with springs that help feed them. These all combine into the stunningly colored Current River. While there are many springs along the rivers, one truly stands out: Blue Spring.
Getting to Blue Spring:
Left: Road Down to Trailhead / Center: Beginning of Trail / Right: My Hitting the Trail
Blue Spring is owned by the Missouri Conservation Department even though it’s completely enclosed by the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. The trailhead for this spring is essentially equidistant from the towns Eminence and Ellington, Missouri. I recommend coming from the Eminence area, though because there are so many more things to see in that area off 106. There is a very well-marked, brown sign that lets you know when to turn. You just follow that down for 2.5 miles.
A Couple More Views of the Trail. You Can See the River in the Photo on the Right.
At the trailhead, there’s only one path to take. The trail itself is under one mile and it’s completely flat. Super easy as long as you watch your step in some places. The trail does fork shortly into it. There’s a clear sign that tells you to keep left to the spring. You can also turn right to go to Powder Mill. There was a serious flood in southern Missouri this year, so the road to get to the mill was closed. I’m hoping that the Mill is still standing and I can see it next time.
The trail follows the river and eventually you see a bluff at the end of the trail and that’s it. Be prepared to be amazed. The spring just blew my mind.
You can also access Blue Spring from the river. I’ve been told that there are signs posted. Also, there are steps leading up from the Current River right to this trail.
Exploring Blue Spring:
Blue Spring really left me awestruck. It’s insanely stunning sapphire-colored pool is what makes it aptly, in my opinion, the gem of the Ozarks Scenic National Riverways. It was the place that I truly didn’t want to leave. I looked out at it from the first little overlook, and then made my way on to the boardwalk.
My dad and I stood and looked over the edge. It’s captivating. I was so drawn to the color and it seemed like every time I took another step, I wanted to stop to take a photo. Although the water is beautifully clear, it’s just so deep that at some point it just looks like pure, deep blue nothingness.
It’s hard to see, but that’s the creepy little guy right in the middle of this photo.
I also had a wildlife first! There was a muskrat in the water! I had never seen a muskrat, and to be honest, it was pretty creepy looking. The tail on it was just so long. This was the best photo I could get – it was just so quick!
Left: The View from the Second Boardwalk / Right: The View Coming Back Around the Bluff from the Second Boardwalk
We were about to turn back and walk back to the car when my dad saw that there was a second boardwalk that led up behind the bluff and then on top of it to look down on the spring and the flow into the creek. Although it’s pretty, I think that the view is probably the best in winter when there aren’t any leaves on the trees. The different perspective of the spring coming back around the corner was pretty, though.
Left: Looking Out from the Base of the Spring / Right: The Stream from the Trail Just Before the Spring
In addition to the spring itself, the view down the creek standing on the boardwalk at the mouth of the stream is a gorgeous natural view as well. I have to say, this spring is probably my favorite natural site in all of Missouri. It’s just so stunning.
Fun Facts About Blue Spring:
My Dad Taking it All In
⋙ Blue Spring is 310 feet deep. In case you’re trying to picture that, the NPS describes it as big enough that if you put the Statue of Liberty at the bottom of it, the entire thing would be submerged. Even the torch would be underwater.
⋙ The Osage Native Americans referred to this spring as the ‘Spring of the Summer Skies’.
⋙ Blue Spring discharges about 90 million gallons of water each day. This makes it one of the top 10 largest springs in Missouri. (I’ve read/heard 6th, 7th and 8th largest, but it’s definitely in the top 10.)
⋙ The color of the sky can determine just how blue/clear the water it. For reference, we were here on an overcast day. The depth of the pool is a big part of what makes the color such a bright blue.
⋙ The water stays a consistent 57 degrees (F) year round.
⋙ Swimming is very strictly prohibited here. This is to protect the beauty of this amazing natural sight.
The more I explore the Ozark National Scenic Riverways and discover amazing things like Blue Spring that are tucked away in the gorgeous hills of the Ozarks. As always, the thing that I treasure about these adventures the most is the time spent and memories made with my dad.
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