Points of Interest:
• See the 6th largest spring in Missouri with a discharge of 90 million gallons per day.
• Enjoy the scenic bluffs along the spring and spring run that support good spring wildflower displays.
• Gaze into the azure depths of Missouri’s deepest known spring (300 feet).
• Look for colorful warblers and kingfishers along the spring run and the Current River.
Natural History: A large, beautiful, undisturbed spring and spring branch with associated aquatic plants and animals surrounded by forest in the Current River Hills region of the Ozarks. The Osage Indians reportedly called this spring “Spring of the Summer Sky.” Spring water is actively dissolving away limestone and or dolomite as it moves through the earth. Springs are actually excavating new caves through this process. This dissolved limestone and or dolomite, along with the influence of the spring's depth and the blue of the sky, impart the blue color of the spring. The recharge area for the spring includes the headwaters of Logan Creek which is nearly 10 miles away. This part of the recharge area lies in the topographic watershed of the Black River despite the fact that the spring itself is feeding the Current River.
In the spring pool star duckweed, American bur-reed, and water starwort occur. Giant cane, grass-of-Parnassus, and blue boneset grow along the banks of the spring run. Southern redbelly dace, Ozark sculpin, and rainbow darter inhabit the spring run. The rare Swainson’s warbler has been found in giant cane stands along the Current River just upstream from the spring run. Other birds to look for include American redstart, northern parula, kingfisher, Kentucky warbler, red-shouldered hawk, ovenbird, wood thrush, and yellow-throated warbler.
The surrounding area was used for a lodge and retreat until 1960 when it was sold to the Conservation Department. Just upstream on the Current River is Owls Bend. This area historically supported a mill that produced gunpowder and a river ferry which was the only way across the Current River here until 1975.
There are two ways to access the natural area by land. 1. From Eminence head east on Highway 106 and travel 14 miles. Turn right (south) into the Powder Mill campground and parking area owned and operated by the National Park Service. At the boat launch on the Current River look for a trailhead sign for the Powder Mill/Blue Spring Trail. Follow the trail south along the Current River for 1.5 miles to the Blue Spring parking area. 2. From Eminence head east on Highway 106 for 16 miles and turn right (south) on an unmarked gravel road. Follow this rugged gravel road (CR 535) for three miles (stay to the right at the “Y”) through National Park Service lands to the Blue Spring parking area. From the Blue Spring parking area, follow a short 0.25 mile trail to the spring. Alternatively you can canoe from Powder Mill campground downstream to a canoe landing just north of where the Blue Spring branch empties into the Current River. From here follow the trail east to the spring. Please stay on designated trails to protect the vegetation. Wading, swimming, boating and fishing are prohibited in the spring and spring branch. Hunting and fishing are permitted on the surrounding Current River Conservation Area and nearby Ozark National Scenic Riverways lands.