Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Need to Know
It is illegal to enter or litter in any part of the pool, spring creek, or spring.
Most people start in the lower parking area (37.973806, -92.774332) and go east. It's a nearly level hike to the spring and back. Most of the way is paved or boardwalk, accessible, and wide enough to pass people going either way.
At the connector to an "island" in the valley, some historical remains of a mill's race can be seen, with warm-water turtles in the old mill pond. Only a few parts of the trail to the spring are natural terrain, narrow, and not ADA accessible, such as where the trail goes between boulders.
The spring valley is forested but canyon like, due to being a collapsed cave system. The spring forms a large creek that flows into a large pool (rich with plants and often wildlife), which drains on the far side of the island into Lake of the Ozarks. Blue spring water emerges from under a cliff, and trout may be seen there for those who look closely for movement.
Beyond the spring, the path becomes stairs and boardwalk, rising steeply up a cliff face. At the top, there is a choice to take other trails, or continue the loop around and eventually back to the lower parking area. Much of the trails at the top are over natural terrain and singletrack, although wider in the more popular parts and narrower in others. Vistas, as well as massive, cliff-ringed sinkholes, are easier to see in winter months without tree leaves. Glades and forests feature a variety of flowers and other plants during the growing season. The connector can be used as a shortcut back to the lower parking area.
Shared By: Brian Garrison