Blue Spring

Area Status: Open
Blue Spring Nature Trail around Blue Spring

This very short walk takes you from North Fork Campground to the beautiful Blue Spring. At the Blue Spring Trailhead take the trail to the right, and Blue Spring is a 200 yards walk down the trail. From there you can walk back or continue around the full ¼ mile loop. 

After passing Blue Spring you can head uphill to a rock cliff that overlooks the spring.  From there you stay right to continue on the Blue Spring Trail. If you stay on the trail to the left it will loop you back to the day use area.

If you stay to the right the .6 mile Blue Spring Trail connects to the McGarr Trail, part of the Devil’s Backbone Wilderness trail system. ls and other birds sweep from one branch to another. Flowering dogwood and redbud catch sunshine from the gaps between branches and leaves and display brilliant spring colors.

There are multiple springs that contribute to the North Fork River, one of the largest is Blue Spring, which contributes around 7 million gallons  of cold, clear water every day to the river. The spring is about 30 feet in diameter. The pool is colorful and the setting dramatic, on three sides, the stone wall is made of cherty Gasconade dolomite that surrounds the spring and represents the karst topography of Ozarks.

view of the Blue Spring Nature Trail Blue Spring Blue Spring Nature Trail around Blue Spring

At a Glance

Operational Hours: This is a day use area, hours of operation 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM. 
Area Amenities: Accessible, Tent camping, Fee charged for some activities, Picnic tables, Toilets, Drinking water, Parking
Fees: North Fork Day Use Area Fees:
  • $2.00 per vehicle
  • $10.00 per bus
There is a 50% discount for camping for anyone with an Interagency Access or Senior Pass. Interagency passes cover the full day use fees, excluding busses.
Usage: Light
Restrictions: On the Trail
  • No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail or past  designated parking areas.
At the Trailheads
  • No overnight camping in day use areas at any time of year.
  • Dogs must be on a 6 foot leash in the day use area
  • No trash containers; please pack out all your trash.
  • Fireworks are prohibited.
At the Spring
  • Do not swim in the spring
  • DO NOT jump off of the rocks into the spring
Closest Towns: West Plains; Willow Springs; Cabool; Dora; Mountain Grove
Water: Within Campground
Restroom: Vault toilet available within the campground
Passes: Pass information can be found on the Passes and Permits page of the website. 
Operated By: USDA Forest Service
Information Center: Ava Cassville/Willow Springs Ranger District
Email | Phone and Address

General Information


From West Plains

  • take Highway CC west 16 miles to North Fork Campground/Recreation Area.
  • The spring is located with the North Fork Recreation Area.


Toilets and picnic tables at the trailhead in North Fork Recreation Area are accessible.

General Notes:


  • Drinking water is available at trailhead.
  • During temperate months, be prepared for biting insects, poison ivy and high temperatures.
  • Be aware of hunting seasons.

For more safety tips visit the Safety section of the website.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:

This 0.6 mile loop trail includes steps and short , steep slopes, but goes through lush vegetation and unique rock formations that overlook the North Fork River.

The Blue Spring is about 200 yards down the trail.


Recreation areas with activity Backpacking:

The Blue Spring Trail connects to the 12.5 mile Devils Backbone Wilderness Trails.

Devils Backbone Wilderness Trails – 13-miles

Thirteen miles of maintained foot and horse trails follow the Devils Backbone and four other ridges, dropping off into surrounding hollows in a forest dominated by oaks, hickories, and shortleaf pines. Elevations range from 1020 feet to 680 feet along the North Fork of the White River, a high quality, spring fed Ozark stream.

Viewing Scenery

Recreation areas with activity Viewing Scenery:

Hikers along this 0.6 mile trail are treated to variety of spring wildflowers and fall foliage displays, as well as a gorgeous view of Blue Spring, unique rock formations, and the North Fork River.


Picnic tables: Blue Spring Trailhead in the North Fork Recreation Area
Tent camping: North Fork Recreation Area; Devils Backbone Wilderness
Fee charged for some activities: North Fork Recreation Area
Parking: Day Use: 20 Vehicles
Toilets: Blue Spring Trailhead in the North Fork Recreation Area
Accessible: Some features and amenities are accessible
Drinking water: Blue Spring Trailhead in the North Fork Recreation Area

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
0.6 miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude :