Hiking the Blue Spring Trail in the Missouri Ozarks

News & Tips: Hiking the Blue Spring Trail in the Missouri Ozarks...

Missouri isn't called the "Trail State" for nothing. Trails abound all across the Show Me State, but especially in the Ozarks of southern Missouri.

Trails may be found in the region's state parks, Missouri Department of Conservation areas, U.S. Forest Service lands, Corps of Engineer properties and the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

If you're looking for a short, easy trail in the Ozarks with breathtaking views, the Blue Spring Trail should be one of your options. Here's what you need to know about it.

How to Get There

HikingBlueSpring mapBlue Spring Trail, which parallels the Current River east of Eminence, is one of my favorite short trails. Take Highway 106 east out of Eminence. Once you cross the Current River, turn right on the road leading to Powder Mill. The trail begins at the back side of the campground.

Easy, Short Trail

Blue Spring is relatively easy to traverse. It runs along the Current River, mostly on flat ground. Sturdy boots are necessary for ankle support. Roots and rocks are prevalent on some portions of the trail. It is 1.3 miles to Blue Spring, the eighth largest spring in the state.

Trail Cautions

The trail is best walked in cooler weather, before warm weather vegetation emerges. However, most people hike the trail in summer. It can become narrow as vegetation grows. Be especially aware of stinging nettle and poison ivy. It is wise to wear long pants and long sleeves to prevent skin contact with these plants.

Be Prepared

Spraying down with insect repellent is advised in the warmer months. Ticks, chiggers and mosquitoes will be present at various times.

Summer weather can be hot and very humid along the lowland area Blue Spring Trail traverses. Carrying a bottle of water or hydration pack will keep you cooler and hydrated. Sip water often in warmer temperatures.

Trail Sights

HikingBlueSpring blogAs you enter the woods from the campground parking lot, you will enter a tall canopy of trees made up of oak, ash and sycamore. Carry a pair of binoculars to watch the myriad of birds that flitter in the treetops. Vireos, flycatchers, summer tanagers and woodpeckers are common.

You will climb a few feet almost immediately. A towering ridge with bluffs will quickly come into view. The hillsides are covered with wildflowers in the spring. You will see columbines, mayapples, yellow bellwarts, violets, Dutchmen's breeches and wild ginger.

Within 100 yards of leaving the trail head, a long pool of water will come into sight. it is fed by seep springs coming out of the hillside. This pool teems with wildlife. Frogs, water snakes, turtles and aquatic insects are abundant. other wildlife, such as raccoons, mink, otters, water birds, wood ducks, deer and turkey also use this water source.

The trail offers a few good views of Current River as well, but Blue Spring is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It produces 87 million gallons of clear cold water each day. A very deep spring, it is the bluest of all springs in Missouri.

For more information about Blue Spring or other natural features in the Eminence area, call the Eminence Chamber of Commerce at 573-226-3318.