Blue Spring Natural Area: Sublime in Azure

August 20, 2015

We had great camping weather this week (50’s at night) so I packed up my gear and headed to Blue Spring Natural Area, which is about 13 miles east of Eminence, Missouri. I grew up in Missouri so I’ve been to most all of the state’s major springs but I couldn’t remember ever going to Blue Spring. The subject of Blue Spring came up a few years ago after I posted a story about Greer Spring. My friend Mike Smith, a school teacher and self-educated naturalist, told me that he loved my images of Greer Spring but he considered Blue Spring even more beautiful. I promised Mike I’d take a look for myself, and I finally got around to it a few days ago.

It rained all morning on the day of my departure and showed no sign of letting up. I finally had to make a decision to stay or go so I packed my gear and headed south, hoping the rain would subside by evening shooting time. About three hours later, I pulled into Powder Mill Campground (U.S. Forest Service) and claimed a spot right next to the Current River. It wasn’t too hard to find a good campsite since I was the only one there. It was still raining lightly when I headed over to the Blue Spring trailhead, but I was optimistic that I’d get some good shots.

The Blue Spring Trailhead is only a few miles from Powder Mill Campground and the trail itself is only about a half mile long. I started down the trail around 6:00 p.m. in light rain and it was only a few minutes before I heard the roar of the spring’s outflow, which averages 90 million gallons per day. As I neared the spring, I realized that I had chosen the perfect day for a visit. The diffuse clouds provided the perfect conditions to accentuate the azure color of Blue Spring. As I stepped near the edge of the 300′ deep abyss, I was as moved as I’ve ever been by Missouri’s natural wonders.

The azure color of Blue Spring is explained as follows by the Missouri Department of Conservation:  Spring water is actively dissolving away limestone and or dolomite as it moves through the earth. Springs are actually excavating new caves through this process. This dissolved limestone and or dolomite, along with the influence of the spring’s depth and the blue of the sky, impart the blue color of the spring. 

Explanation aside, I’d never seen such a vivid blue that wasn’t on a rainbow darter or a collared lizard. As a fisheries biologist, the color mostly reminded me of the copper sulfate crystals we use to treat nuisance algae.

As the rain subsided, I photographed the spring until almost dark from every angle. It was tough to choose a feature image for this post but the one you see provided a nice combination of the spring’s color and the overall feel of the site, which is situated on a 17 acre natural area.


DJB_BSN_2015_1483The “blue” of Blue Spring

This image gets you up close and personal with the intense color of Blue Spring. I shot this from the boardwalk that takes you right up to the bluff. If you are thinking, “That doesn’t look real,” you should go see for yourself. I could hardly believe my eyes when I was standing there. While I was there, a lady and her child strolled up to talk to me. She looked at the spring and said, “This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen…..and I’m from New Mexico!” We both laughed and I used her phone to take a picture of her and her toddler with the azure pool in the background.


BR8I8996Lady of the Spring

As dusk sat in, I finally pulled myself away from Blue Spring and headed back to Powder Mill Campground. After eating some cold, fried-chicken and some other snacks, I settled in for the night and began reviewing the images. It wasn’t long before I was taken by a series of seven images on my camera’s LCD.

At the bottom of each frame, slightly to the left of center, the lovely face of a woman looked up from the water. I couldn’t believe the striking facial symmetry and beauty of the anomaly, which apparently resulted from a bizarre combination of reflections and sediment color. I’m not superstitious but the “Lady of the Spring” sent a chill down my spine! 🙂

I hit the sack early after meeting a father/son combo from Tennessee that pulled off the water to camp for the night. It wasn’t long before the sounds of the Ozark Scenic Riverways drifted into my tent. The chorus included a screech owl, a bunch of rowdy coyotes, a raccoon foraging next to my tent, and a huge tomcat that yalled louder than the actual bobcat I encountered last month. I was hoping for some wild horses to add to the mix, but they never showed. Just another night in the Ozarks, or what some of us call paradise. Oh, and I have to say Mike Smith was right. If not the most beautiful spring in Missouri, Blue Spring is easily equal to any of the others.

Thanks for looking,


Email:  Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

Gallery/Fine Art Prints:  Here


5 comments on “Blue Spring Natural Area: Sublime in Azure”

  1. Wonderful e-visit. It’s a pity I’m tied up on Sunday, else I’d make this a family trip and go there :D…Your ghostly lady is…eerie….

  2. I have to agree, Danny! Blue Springs is definitely my favorite of all I have been to. Each time I go back and spend time there, I feel myself getting drawn to the place more and more. I can’t wait to go and visit again. I then will look for the Lady of the Spring. Glad you camped at Powder Mill. It is a really nice campsite along the landscape of the Current River. Nice shot of the “blue” Blue Spring!

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