A big red mill, a large spring basin, and fast flowing water; these are all adequate descriptions of one of the most scenic places in all of Missouri. Some people have claimed that if you can visit only one spring in Missouri, Alley is one. This place is special with loads of history and lots of natural beauty.
Access: Paved Road
Nearest Town: Eminence, MO
Photogenic Rank: 5
Solitude Rank: 3
Best Time: Early Morning/Late Afternoon
Best Season: Early Spring/Early Fall
1890’s Intact Mill, 7th Largest Spring in Missouri, Path around Spring
Not Many, Path is close spring edge
Alley Spring is the 7th largest spring in Missouri, but it ranks high as one of the most scenic places in all the Midwest.
A large deep blue basin lies nestled in front of a large dolomite cliff. Although the basin averages only 32 foot deep, the spring conduit (where an average of 81 million gallons per days flows) plunges over 100 foot at nearly a 25% angle.
Alley Spring does not boil out of the ground like its scenic neighbor near Van Buren, Big Spring. In fact it is hard to tell water is flowing until you look near the mill’s sluice gate and the small waterfall on the opposite side of the spring. From these two points, the spring water runs for a 1/2 mile before connecting with the Jacks Fork River.
The spring alone would make it one of the most scenic, but the restored red mill near its banks makes it an absolute “Must-See” when in the Ozarks.
The mill was built between 1893-1894 and was originally white with green trim. It is hard to imagine today, that Alley Mill with anything besides its signature red paint.
For photographers, this place is a gold-mine of photographic potential. From water pouring from the sluice gate, to a calm photo of just the spring itself surrounded by a large bluff, there is something to keep you clicking away for hours.
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