Greer Spring and Trail

Area Status: Open
This area is Open
 

A popular day hike for Forest visitors. Greer Spring is the second largest spring in Missouri. Its average daily flow of 222 million gallons more than doubles the size of the Eleven Point National Scenic River into which it flows. The spring flows from two outlets about 250 feet apart at the bottom of a steep, shaded ravine at the terminus of the trail. The spring run drops 62 feet in elevation for 1.25 miles where it runs into the Eleven Point National Scenic River. The mill and surrounding land is privately owned and not available for public use. Access to Greer Spring is via a 0.9 mile trail that descends about 250 feet in elevation along a gentle gradient from the trailhead at Missouri Highway 19. The trail to the spring travels through a mixture of hardwoods and pines. The overstory of trees, includes a variety of oaks, shortleaf pine, hickory, maples, basswood, and black gum. Hikers will also see flowering dogwoods, sassafras, persimmon, hazelnut, cedar, and hackberry. The spring flows from the mouth of Greer Spring Cave and boils up from the rugged bed of the spring branch. Flowing down a rock filled canyon for one mile, the spring branch enters the Eleven Point River. There is no fishing, boating, floating or wading allowed in the spring branch.

At a Glance

Fees There are no fees.
Usage: Light
Restrictions: Swimming, wading, floating is prohibited in the spring and spring branch. Pets must be kept on a leash at all times. We also ask that you do not smoke on the trail and at the spring. Possession of bottles, cans, or other disposable items is prohibited except within the parking area. The area is only open from sunrise to sunset. Both camping and campfires are prohibited. Foot Traffic only on trail.
Closest Towns: Alton, MO
Water: Not for Drinking
Restroom: Vault
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service

General Information

Directions:

The trailhead for Greer Spring Trail is located on the west side of Missouri Highway 19 about 8 miles north of Alton, Missouri, or about 1 mile south of the Highway 19 bridge over the Eleven Point River.


Activities


Hiking

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Nature Viewing

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Viewing Plants

 

The trail starts in a pine/oak-hickory forest and ends at Greer Spring.  Along the way the trail passes through several forest types containing oaks, hickories, shortleaf pine, basswood, yellow poplar, flowering dogwood, and sugar maple.  Spring wildflowers are in abundance from March through mid-June.  Jacob’s ladder, Virginia waterleaf, hepatica, harbinger-of-spring, Jack-in-the-pulpit, and yellow trout lily are but a few of the spring wildflowers that can be seen along the trail and in the deep valleys surrounding Greer Spring.  On the ridgetops wildflowers such as Indian pipe, bird’s-foot violet, downy phlox, and firepink can be seen scattered throughout the forest.  Asters and other fall flowers rival the autumn leaves for beauty.

The area around the spring has a lush growth of many types of ferns, mosses and liverworts.  Common hydrangea, Bishop’s cap, wild columbine, and Ebony spleenwort are some of the plants that can be found growing on the dolomite cliffs surrounding Greer Spring.  In its waters or along its banks can be found horned pondweed, elodea, water speedwell, and waterthread pondweed.

Viewing Scenery

Greer Spring is the second largest spring in Missouri.  Its average daily flow of 222 million gallons more than doubles the size of the Eleven Point National Scenic River into which it flows.  The spring flows from two outlets about 250 feet apart at the bottom of a steep, shaded ravine at the terminus of the trail.  More like the emergence of an underground river, the water feeding Greer Spring comes from many losing streams and sinkholes found to the west and north-west of the spring, as far as 35 miles away. Water flows from the mouth of the spring and boils up from the bed of the spring branch.  The spring run drops 62 feet in elevation for 1.25 miles where it more than doubles the flow of the Eleven Point National Scenic Riverwhere they join.Rock formations along the spring and spring branch canyon inspire many photographers.

Areas & Activities

Location

 
  Area/Length : 
  0.9 miles
  Elevation : 
250 ft