Hiking in Ozark National Scenic Riverways
September 24, 2015, 3:27 pm
Are you in need of some fresh air? These three trails at Ozark National Scenic Riverways National Park are a great example of a way to satisfy your hunger for adventure! Whether you’re looking for some light walking with a pretty view or a rockier terrain to work up some sweat, this park has got the trail for you. You can find more information about the park and more trail options by going to http://www.nps.gov/ozar/index.htm.
1.2 miles round trip. Wheelchair accessible. An easy stroll that begins just north of the 'Big Spring'. The route traverses a stand of cane and riparian forest along the slough with impoundments constructed by the CCC. Interpretive exhibits explain history, pre-history, and natural habitat of the immediate area. Hikers can cross Peavine Road and continue north along the Current River by taking the River's Edge Trail which leads to the Big Spring Campground.
Cave Spring Trail:
4.6 mile loop trail. This trail is moderate but long---with short stretches classed as difficult as the trail climbs over the cliff---presenting a challenging 'scramble'. Follow signs on KK east of Akers where a gravel access road leads to Devils Well (an ancient sinkhole---at the bottom of which lies an underground lake the size of a football field).The loop trail, beginning at the Devils Well---traverses oak-pine forest ridges, a limestone glade, winds through hollows and crosses intermittent streams as it brings hikers down to the mouth of Cave Spring on the Current River. The 'Cliff' segment of this loop trail traverses the side of a high limestone bluff overlooking the Current River with spectacular views, then returns to Devils Well via Parker Hollow alongside an intermittent stream bed
Alley Overlook Trail:
1.3 mile loop trail. This hike begins at Alley Mill. There is a steep rocky ascent that climbs the limestone bluff from which Alley Spring emerges. The short climb brings one to a scenic overlook where one has a birds-eye view of the red Alley Mill below and the crystalline blue waters of Alley Spring. An interpretive wayside at the overlook reveals the extent of this once thriving 19th century community with a general store, a blacksmith shop, and a farmstead with corn fields and fence rows on the rolling slopes beyond Alley Mill. The trail continues along the ridge top through an upland pine-oak forest and this long segment of trail is level and easy walking. Following the ridge southward the trail dips down a series of switchbacks into the floodplain where Alley Spring Branch flows towards the Jacks Fork River. Hikers may return to the parking area or complete the "loop" back to Alley Mill along the spring branch.