Big Spring

Big Spring is the largest spring in Missouri and one of the largest in the world with an average daily water flow of 286 million gallons!!  The source of all of the water is a recharge area extending as far as 40 miles to the west.  The water travels through crooks and crannies of the karst underground.  Water can take more than 130 days to reach the spring's outlet.  The water rushes out from the base of a dolomite bluff and then travels nearly 1000 feet before feeding into the current river.

 Here you can see a bit of the dolomite bluff.  The aquamarine hue is due to dissolved minerals in the cold water (between 55 and 58 degrees year round).

Here you can see a bit of the dolomite bluff.  The aquamarine hue is due to dissolved minerals in the cold water (between 55 and 58 degrees year round).

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 Watercress abounds in the mineral rich water.  It is hard to properly show just how clear this water is.

Watercress abounds in the mineral rich water.  It is hard to properly show just how clear this water is.

TD Big Spring (308 of 13).jpg
TD Big Spring (307 of 13).jpg
 We arrived early enough to get some fog on the river.  There were many photographic opportunities downstream as at the springs surge into the river bed.

We arrived early enough to get some fog on the river.  There were many photographic opportunities downstream as at the springs surge into the river bed.

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TD Big Spring (304 of 13).jpg
 Sometimes you just need a good sign to explain it all!!

Sometimes you just need a good sign to explain it all!!

Big Spring became a State Park in 1924, Missouri's first.  The Civilian Conservation Corps arrived in the mid-1930's and helped conserve the area's resources.  They built a campground, lodging and dining facilities and dug a echannel for the spring's water (helped in preventing recurring flooding).  The spring is part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways which was established in 1964 and includes Alley Spring and Round Spring.  We looked at some camping options and feel that this could be a great spot to return to next year.