World-famous natural Mammoth Spring worth the trip

Outdoor writer and photographer Corbet Deary is regularly featured in The Sentinel-Record. Today, Deary takes readers on a tour of Mammoth Springs State Park.

I’ve had the opportunity to visit 52 of Arkansas’ national parks over the years, some of which have kept me coming back multiple times. And I can say, with certainty, that I don’t remember being sad.

Of course, I have my favorites, like everyone else. And one would think that I would go back to those at the top of my list most of the time. But that’s not always the case.

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Simply put, there are only so many hours in the day. And because some of the parks are several hours from home, I have to limit my visits to these places to times that fit into my work schedule. Of course, these trips include some sightseeing that I could cover in a whole day.

Located in the far north of Arkansas, almost within a stone’s throw of the Missouri line, Mammoth Springs State Park is one such facility.

There is a world famous natural spring in the park. And I think that’s the best way to admit that I’ve been guilty of a little makeup before this article.

The spring is 497 feet from the state line. I think very few Joes can rock that far. So from here, we’ll just say Missouri is less than two football fields away.

Well, let’s talk about this well, which produces 9.78 million gallons per hour, making it the 10th largest well in the world. The water stays at 58 degrees at all times.

According to studies, the main source of the spring is the rain on the high plains of southern Missouri, where the water seeps into the ground surface and flows over the system of connecting holes.

A portion of this underground flow can be found tunneling through a collapsed cave in Grand Gulf Missouri, just 9 miles from Mammoth Springs. But it does not appear above the ground until it reaches the ground floor.

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One cannot see the well, as the sink is 80 feet below the water level at the well. But that being said, 9.78 million gallons of water per hour is a staggering amount. So, those walking along the path that meanders by the pool can see a little cloudiness on the surface of the water on a calm day.

Water flows from the spring through a narrow channel and into a large pond, called Spring Lake. From the visitor center, one can take a 0.6-mile hike around the beautiful spring.

The established trail is very level compared to the typical Ozark Mountain topography around it. In fact, only 5% of the road is traveled on a low grade.

The designated route will see an old bridge right after you leave the visitor center. The bridge was in desperate need of repair and was torn down in the 1960s. But it was a direct route between the railroad station and the town of Mammoth Springs back in the day.

Those looking back in the direction of the visitor center, at this point, might try to imagine what it was like for locals to operate a large cotton mill at the turn of the century. And later a shoe factory was built in that general area.

Now to pass on what I found most beautiful throughout the whole walk. The path crosses a large dam, built with original stones in 1888. Those who stand on top of the large building have the opportunity to get an idea of ​​how much water comes out. in the spring, as many books were thrown on the structure. , into a deep draw, and produce the bottoms of the Puna River.

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Of course, it was necessary to use this reservoir to its full potential, so the remains of the power plant were built by the Arkansas-Missouri Power Company in 1925. The plant provided electricity to citizens until it closed in 1972.

Those who take a short tour of the building will appreciate seeing the engine and its inner workings still on display.

The trail passes near where a mill was built in 1836. The mill was replaced by a “bigger” mill in 1850, but was burned by Union soldiers during the Civil War. Civil War. However, there were still mills in the 1880s, as the town flourished with the arrival of the railroad.

The path passes by the remains of a safe house that was used by the flour mill to store important records and documents, as well as other useful items.

It runs along the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks that are still in use today. Speaking of trains, the designated route passes within feet of the 1886 Frisco Depot Museum. It was completed in 1885, but only opened for business a year later.

Although the Kansas City-Fort Scott & Memphis Line was the first railroad to go through Mammoth Springs, San Francisco, (AKA Frisco) operated around 1900.

The railway company provided the people with passenger and freight services for some time. Passenger service ended and the depot closed for business in 1968. However, it has since changed hands and the freight end of the line is still in use today.

The road turns left and goes along the edge of the river. I’m not sure one will hear anything of historical significance on this side of the lake, however, the trail passes through a beautiful setting.

In fact, this may represent the perfect spot to simply take in the surrounding views and some of the native wildlife that call the lake home.

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We saw many species of waterfowl resting and browsing the aquatic vegetation for their next meal during our recent visit. I remember seeing lots of nutria swimming in the enclosures of the pool on a previous visit.

The trail eventually passes by the aforementioned fountain and within a few feet of a replica of the cannon used during the war before returning to where it started. walk, near the back of the visitor center.

Well, our latest trip to Mammoth Spring State Park was no different than before, as it was fun and educational. And I’m looking forward to my next trip to the far reaches of north central Arkansas, where I can check out the house again.

To get to Mammoth Spring State Park from Hot Springs, take Route 70 east to Interstate 30 and head east to Little Rock. Stay on I-30 for about 32 miles and take exit 143B onto I-40 east. Drive for 1.6 miles and take exit 155 to 167/67 north. Go 55 miles and take Exit 55 to 167 north to Batesville. Go 0.3 miles and turn left onto Highway 64. Stay on 64 for 71 miles and turn left onto Highway 62. Stay on Highway 62 for 2.3 miles and turn right onto Highway 289. Go 15 miles and turn left to stay on 289. Go 5.5 miles and take a right onto Highway 9. Drive one mile to destination, right.

photo A 0.6-mile trail meanders along the edges of Spring Lake, within walking distance of several historic sites in Mammoth Springs State Park. – Photo by Corbet Deary of The Sentinel-Record
photo Mammoth Springs State Park is a great place for those planning to stay in the northernmost area of ​​Arkansas. – Photo by Corbet Deary of The Sentinel-Record


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