Greer Spring A Summer Oasis
One of my favorite things about living in the Ozarks is our abundance of water. We have a huge selection of rivers, lakes, and natural springs to cool off in and enjoy on hot summer days. I really do enjoy hiking in the area, but the summers here can be just so grueling with all the bugs, vegetation, and humidity that make for an unpleasant experience. That’s why finding the right place to hike in the summer is the key to a good time.
I recently had a chance to take another trip to Greer Spring, located off of the Eleven Point River in the Mark Twain National Forest. There are many places to go and hike to a beautiful natural spring, but Greer is one of my absolute favorites. The hike is just under a mile long and leads to one of the most secluded and undisturbed springs in Missouri. The spring, which is the second largest in the Ozarks, emerges at the bottom of a small narrow gorge. The upper outlet flowing from a small cavern is only part of Greer Spring’s large flow. About 100 yards downstream the main outlet boils to the surface in a beautiful deep aqua-blue color. It’s an amazingly beautiful place to spend a day in the heat of the summer.
I started my hike down to the spring around mid day as the heat and humidity started to set in. I put on my Chacos, as I planned on cooling my feet off in the nice spring when I arrived. I also decided to put on my lightweight/quick drying hiking pants as well, as I feared the trail would be overgrown with poison ivy and other nasty summer time vegetation. Right off the bat I was pleased to see a well maintained trail that was not overgrow to the extent that I was expecting and the hike down was easy going. At about half way into the hike I could start hearing the roaring sound of Greer Spring, as the water furiously boiled to the surface and rushed down stream for 1.2 miles where it flows into the Eleven Point River. The last leg of the trail drops down into the small gorge where I could start feeling the nice cool air coming from the spring. The trail eventually came to a nice little area overlooking the spring where I sat and relaxed, enjoying the sites and sounds of the spring, before making my way down to the spring itself.
Once I was down in the stream bed the true force and power of the spring became clear. I was excited to explore the area so I headed off to the left where the cool blue spring water comes rushing out from a cavern just beneath a small cliff. As I approached the cave I was instantly hit with a chilly breeze that was instantly refreshing on this hot and humid day. I managed to get my feet wet briefly for a couple of photos before the ice cold water froze my feet to the bone. With the hot summer sun beating down on the spring a light fog had started to form over the spring, making for a truly beautiful site that I sat and enjoyed for quite some time before moving on. As I followed the water down stream flowing over the moss covered rocks and branches I clearly hear the main outlet of Greer Spring . I had visited this spring a couple years ago and was quite amazed at how much water there was, but this time around I was blown away. The recent heavy rains in the area had brought the spring up by quite a bit since the last time that I saw it and was churning and bubbling with some real force. Mix this with the beautiful blue water and you’ll get this is one of the most beautiful springs in the Ozarks.
After spending a good hour exploring the spring and surrounding area I made my way back to the trail head. By the time I got back to my car I was again soaked in sweat and wishing I was back down by the spring. If you are in the area and have a chance to visit Greer Spring I would recommend taking a nice little chair to sit and enjoy this natural wonder that is in our backyard. If not, it is still well worth the quick hike to get there at any time of the year.