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.
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:
|Restrictions:||On the Trail
|Closest Towns:||West Plains; Willow Springs; Cabool; Dora; Mountain Grove|
|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
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.
- 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.
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
Day HikingRecreation 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.
BackpackingRecreation 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 SceneryRecreation 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|