Located adjacent to the Black River, the Markham Springs Recreation Area contains bubbly springs and a small 2-acre pond that dates back to the 1800s. The area is covered by a dense forest of colorful trees, including ash, elm, maple and poplar. Six springs pour almost 5 million gallons of water a day into the pond, from there the water eventually makes it's way to the Black River. The bubble spring, a smaller outlet of Markham Spring outside of the pond area, has air with it, rises in soft sand forming the unique “air bubbles”.
This area gets its name from former owner, M. J. Markham, who acquired the property in 1901 and operated a lumber mill at the site until the 1930s.
The Fuchs House, a five-bedroom concrete and native stone home, also sits on the property, along with a neighboring mill. The historic Fuchs house was restored by a group of craftsmen under permit from the National Forest.
In the late 1930’s, Rudolph Fuchs built a 5-bedroom concrete and native stone house for his family, and also built the present wheel house to produce electricity for his needs. Power was obtained by building a dam in a semi-circle below a large spring forming a small pond. The water was to pour through a chute on the wheel to produce electricity; however electricity arrived to the site before the wheel ever needed to do its job. The area had an undershot wheel providing power to a grist mill in the late 19th century.
River and stream fishing are popular activities near the campground. The Black River boasts bass, sunfish, walleye and catfish. Many anglers fish from boats, but others fish from the riverbanks. Canoeing and kayaking is also possible on the river.
Markham Springs Recreation Area provides opportunities for camping, hiking, and day use.
Various day hikes within the Markham Springs Trail System are accessible from the campground. Eagle Bluff Trail is a 1.5-mile loop along the river, where birding and wildlife viewing are favorite pastimes.
Markham Springs Campground is set on the Black River in a scenic and historic recreation area in the southwestern corner of Missouri's Mark Twain National Forest. The campground offers single and double sites for tent and RV camping. Some rather primitive sites are located in a wooded setting near the river. Electric hookups are provided, as well as tables and campfire rings with grills. Lantern posts are also available. Accessible vault toilets, drinking water, showers and trash collection are provided.
Primitive camping is also available in a wooded setting near the Black River.
The day use area has a 2-acre, 20 foot deep mill pond that dates back to the 1800s, several picnic sites, open fields; river access for boating, fishing and float tubes and canoes; and short hiking trails that provide views of the river, the pond, the springs and the uplands.