Ozark National Scenic Riverways

IMG_1801Every year we head down to beautiful Eminence Missouri for the Cross Country Trail Ride with our mules, for a week of trail riding through this gorgeous landscape. This year we decided to venture out of the campground/trail system and see what the National Park system had to offer, we weren’t disappointed!!

The Ozark NSR is 134 miles in length, it contains Karsts, springs , caves and rivers. There are several places to go and we didn’t cover everything. We did enjoy it so much we have decided that next year we are going to pack the kayaks and go out to enjoy what we missed this time.

Here is what we managed to fit in this year.

Alley Spring

The first stop we made was at Alley Spring. Home of the beautiful Alley Mill, old school house, trails, caves to crawl in and an Old General Store/Visitor Center. We headed straight to the Visitor Center to grab our passport cancellations, junior ranger book and information pamphlets. This Visitor Center is really cool, it doubled as an old general store.

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We drove down to the parking lot to walk to Alley Mill. The Mill is gorgeous! It also has its own cancellation! 🙂  Take a walk around to see all the old equipment and machinery. Under the back porch is a turbine pit that holds the turbine. The first floor is where the grain entered the Mill, was put into bins and elevated to chutes connected to milling machines, here you find those machines. The second floor contains a swing sifter.

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Take a walk on the trail around the Mill, it’s not far and it is beautiful!! It even has a few caves for kids to crawl into! Who doesn’t love a good Cave!!

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This spring has an average daily flow of 81 gallons!

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We skipped the school house this trip. A little secret here that not many people know about is the warm springs swimming area. This is found past the campground and down a gravel road into a parking lot and then a short walk to the beach. If you are here in the summer this is a great place to cool off at without many people!! The kids loved jumping off the rock and swimming here when we brought them in the summer.

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Round Spring

This spring was beautiful!! A short walk to this from the parking lot. Round spring was created when a cavern roof collapsed, part of the roof still remains as a natural bridge under the spring.  Round spring has an average daily flow of 26 million gallons.

Fun fact: Spring systems can be thought of as caves in development!

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People have been visiting round spring for 10,000 years! We didn’t get to Round Spring cave on this trip because it is only open in summer months.

Rocky Falls

Rocky Falls is located about 14 miles Southeast of Eminence.  This place is gorgeous in any season. It is an example of a shut-in, a river naturally confined in a narrow channel. In the summer you can swim here. This time we just walked the trail up to explore the top of the falls and enjoyed it from the bottom.

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Blue Spring

This spring was my favorite. There was a great short hike to get back to the spring. This spring is 310 feet deep which boasts that if the Statue of Liberty stood at the bottom her torch would be under water. Wow, that’s deep! The color of this spring comes from dissolving minerals.

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Absolute walk of beauty all the way to the spring and back.

Two Rivers

Two Rivers is exactly what you think it might be, two rivers. This is where the Current River and the Jack Forks River meet up. We actually ride here on our mules every year. This is by far my favorite ride in this area. We pass through Shawnee campground and through a field that houses the Missouri Wild horses. Tons of river crossings and beautiful scenery the whole way! When you get there, this is the view that awaits you, absolutely stunning!

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The rivers here are crystal clear, with a deep green hue where they are deepest. Set against a beautiful blue sky and rolling hills of trees this is a place you just want to keep coming back to!

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We didn’t get to all of the stops along the Ozark Scenic Riverways but we checked a few off. We will be back in the years to come to enjoy all of them. I did happen to get a few cancellations, all of these were located at Alley Springs visitor center besides the Alley Mill.

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I hope you all enjoyed our trip to the Ozark Scenic Riverways. Have you been there? What was your favorite part?

Thanks for visiting, until next time, enjoy your travels.

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