My wife Wendy and I took some friends who recently moved to Texas County to one of our favorite places in the Missouri Ozarks.
It’s Blue Spring, located on the Current River about 14 miles east of Eminence on Highway 106.
Blue Spring emanates from underneath a dolomite bluff, and although its pool is only about 100 feet in diameter, it's incredibly more than 310 feet deep, making it one of the deepest springs in the United States. To put that in perspective, if the Statue of Liberty could be placed in Blue Spring, her torch would be five feet below the surface of the water.
Because of the vividly blue color of Blue Spring’s waters (apparently caused by a combination of dissolved limestone and an influence from the amazing depth), Native Americans aptly called it “Spring of the Summer Sky.”
Blue Spring sends about 87 million gallons of water per day into the Current River, making it the eighth-largest spring in Missouri.
While it’s surrounded by Ozarks National Scenic Riverways territory owned by the U.S. National Park Service, Blue Spring is actually on Missouri Department of Conservation land. Reaching it requires negotiating a pretty lengthy gravel entrance road, and then walking about 1/3 of a mile on a fairly easy trail that first parallels the Current River and then follows the spring branch.
At the spring, a nice wooden boardwalk and platform allows visitors to enjoy staring into the colorful water, and several low stone walls create peaceful sitting areas next to the pool.
When we were there early this week, there were dozens of black-winged damselflies and hundreds of pretty little eastern tailed-blue butterflies flitting about, while numerous types of aquatic plants and countless of aquatic snails enjoyed the spring’s crystal clear water (which remains at about 52 degrees Fahrenheit year round).
The sounds of bird calls and flowing water added to the charming (yet dazzling) natural visuals made for a wondrous mix that our friends said was unlike anything they had ever before experienced.
Not surprisingly, the area around Blue Spring was used as a lodge and retreat until 1960 when it was sold to the MDC. Now it’s a protected zone and swimming and wading are even prohibited.
On our way home, we stopped at Alley Spring and showed our friends Alley Mill and the most photographed spot in Missouri. While not as captivating as Blue Spring, Alley Spring is beautiful in its own way, and is never a boring sight.
Anyway, if you haven’t seen Blue Spring, do what you can to get there. It’s a stunning place to visit – any time of year.