Well, Actually 19 Missouri Springs and One in Arkansas
The most common questions from the general public concerning Missouri springs have to do with their size, their ranking compared to other springs, and their flow rate. Part of this is mere bragging rights, enabling a tourist to say they visited the X largest spring, or a local chamber of commerce to make extraordinary (and often untrue) claims for their spring, as have been made for Big Spring at Van Buren since the local townsfolk took note that their spring could bring visitors and dollars to the area.
Some of this is just curiosity on the part of the human animal, the same sort which drives people to guess the number of beans in a jar. Spring flow numbers can prove useful (if correlated with local rainfall) in determining recharge areas for springs. The rate of change over time in the amount of water being discharged from a spring can no doubt tell hydrologists other useful things.
The Ozarks region has been blessed with many large, clear freshwater springs. Most of rankings by flow rate are merely approximate. Only Big, Mammoth and Greer Springs have been monitored long term on a daily basis. Alley, Round, Bennett and Montauk, all of which have been state parks, have a few large data sets as does Maramec. Others, such as Welch and Blue on the Current River have been sporadically monitored, while still others, such as Double and Tucker Bay have just a few measurements ever. Because of this variance in how many measurements exist, when those measurements were taken (wet or dry years), and the fact that some of the most well known springs are backflooded by their neighboring surface streams at high flow, this or any other listing cannot be considered absolutely definitive.
Following are snapshots of the twenty largest springs in the Missouri-Arkansas Ozarks. A bit of geography, geology, history, and current use are included with each snapshot.
These twenty Ozark Springs are spots of great beauty and geologic and historic significance. Many of them are open to be enjoyed by all-- a few are not. Please respect landowner rights and when visiting those which are accessible, take nothing but pictures and memories, and leave no trace of your passing, so that others may enjoy their visits as well.
This page last updated on May 3, 2006. Return to Missouri Springs homepage.