Vacation with Nature on Ozark Riverways
See why Missouri’s Jacks Fork River and Current River are National Treasures

Area Attractions…

Current River

The Ozark National Scenic Riverways protects 134 miles of the Current and Jacks Fork Rivers and some 80,000 acres of river, forest, open field and glade environments. Riparian habitats are a major component of the park. Typified by sycamores, maples, cottonwoods and willows, floodplain forests line the rivers. These provide habitat for Swainson’s warblers, wood ducks, great blue herons and a wide variety of other species. As a significant karst resource, the park contains the world’s largest collection of first magnitude springs.

Jacks Fork River

Jacks Fork River is one of two rivers in Missouri that are part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways system. This spring-fed river flows some 44 miles in a general east to northeasterly direction and is the major tributary of the Current River. Due to lack of access, it is the most primitive of the rivers in the region. It is a popular recreation destination for canoeists and kayakers and is generally considered a Class I-II difficulty river.

Big Spring

Big Spring was one of Missouri’s first state parks. It was a state park from 1924 until 1969 when the people of Missouri donated it, along with Alley and Round Spring State Parks to the National Park Service to become a part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. A gift from Missouri to America. At an average daily flow of 286 million gallons of water, Big Spring is an awesome sight and a geologic wonder. Underground passages carry water from as far as 45 miles away. The Big Spring area has a campground, a picnic area, a dining lodge, trails and cabins.

Alley Spring and Mill

Alley Spring is at the foot of a picturesque limestone bluff. The beautiful red Alley Mill is located on its bank, utilizing its perennial flow of water to operate its turbine powered flour mills. The spring has an average daily flow of 81 million gallons of water. During most times the water is a placid azure blue, gently welling up from below, but after a storm has swelled the underground conduits feeding the spring, it can gush forth in angry swells and splashes of brown.

Blue Spring

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. Spring water is actively dissolving away limestone and dolomite as it moves through the earth. Springs are actually excavating new caves through this process. This dissolved limestone and dolomite, along with the influence of the spring’s depth and the blue of the sky, impart the blue color of the spring.

Rocky Falls

Rocky Falls is a steep cascading waterfall that tumbles down into a clear pool of water. Parking and picnic areas are available at the water’s edge. Pick up a lunch in town and have a picnic; explore the waterfall area and do some area hiking. A section of the Ozark trail goes right past the falls.

Montauk State Park

The beauty of the surrounding Ozark region and the steady flow of clear water from the many springs attracted settlers to the Montauk area in the early 1800s. These same natural resources entice visitors to this secluded area today. The springs in the northern end of Montauk State Park combine with tiny Pigeon Creek to form the headwaters of the famed Current River. The park attracts anglers for the outstanding trout fishing, and vacationers flock to Montauk during the summer months to enjoy the variety of outdoor activities available in the park and the surrounding region.

Missouri Department of Natural Resources
800-334-6946
mo.gov

Cupola Gum Pond

  • See a fantastic sinkhole pond that is a National Natural Landmark.
  • Look at water tupelo trees growing far removed from their typical southeastern lowlands range.
  • On damp and warm spring days and evenings listen to the primordial sounds of hundreds of toads and frogs calling across the sinkhole pond swamp.

Cupola Pond is a swamp located in a sinkhole, a depression caused by a dissolving of the underlying rock, in this case dolomite, followed by a collapse of the land’s surface. The sinkhole basin is around 40 feet lower than the surrounding ridge. Here a five acre depression holds water and supports plants and animals not typical of the surrounding dry Ozark woods. Unlike most sinkholes, Cupola Pond has clay lenses and peat deposits that prevent water from quickly entering cave conduits below. This allows water to pond during all but drought years.

Cupola Pond is a mysterious place where century old water tupelos form a canopy over a shallow wetland with scattered patches of buttonbush, sedges, and mosses. Water tupelo is typically found growing in the Mississippi Lowlands region with bald cypress. Also unusual is the rare epiphytic sedge that grows on old logs and hummocks that stick out of the pond’s water. This sedge is typically found growing in the coastal plain swamps of the southeast. Fishless ponds such as this are very important breeding habitat for amphibians. At least seven amphibian species use the area including the rare wood frog, the marbled salamander, and the spotted salamander. In the spring the chorus of frogs and toads can be deafening.



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