Mammoth Spring, Mammoth Spring, AR. We visited the National Fish Hatchery, learned about local fish and early fish transportation and took a walk around the spring and attached lake. Mammoth Spring is Arkansas’s largest spring and the second largest spring in the Ozark Mountains. A National Natural Landmark, the spring flows nine million gallons of water hourly.
Grand Gulf State Park, Koshkonong, MO (1 mile loop, 124’ elevation) Natural Bridge Trail Interpretive Loop. According to their website ‘some people call Grand Gulf State Park the “Little Grand Canyon” and some just call it “breathtaking.” The park is one of the natural wonders of the Ozarks. The “Grand Gulf” stretches for about three-quarters of a mile between 130-foot-high walls. Visitors can view the gulf from trails on top or from the floor where they can walk under the natural bridge, which spans 250 feet with a 75-foot-high opening. There is no official trail leading to the bottom, so visitors should use extreme caution when attempting to access the bottom.’
This park talks a big game but in my opinion it doesn’t live up to its own hype. The natural bridge trail goes through the woods and none of the features mentioned are actually visible on it. The make-your-own-trail through the canyon to the natural bridge was too sketchy to safely continue on.
Greer Spring, Woodside Township, MO. (1.4 mile out and back, 206’ elevation. The spring is the second largest spring in the Ozarks, with an average discharge of 360 cubic feet of water per second. A lovely hike takes you down to the cave the spring comes out of. It’s a beautiful canyon, the walls almost look like the ruins of an old castle, covered in moss.
Alley Spring & Mill, Eminence, MO. The Mill is set by a spring that puts out 81 million gallons of fresh water daily. The color is incredible. The short trail along the river was spectacular, with interesting rock formations on one side and the clearest water I’ve ever seen flowing over the vibrant green vegetation below.
This area is a diverse and unique ecosystem. Rose verbena blooms in glades in the Riverways around April, and is a significant source of nectar for many species including large swallowtail butterflies. Butterfly milkweed thrives on Ozark glade habitats and is the only food source for the once-thriving monarch butterfly. I hope to come back and see the area in bloom.