Located just outside of Eminence, Missouri in Shannon County, Ally Spring Mill is part of the beautiful Ozark National Scenic Riverway. If you are a photographer, this is the mill!!! Beautiful scenery from above and across the mill pond, a heron which stood for a close up and rushing water pouring out of Alley Spring. Cole and I visited this spot in June and it was worth the drive from Springfield! The only disappointment was the missing water wheel. I believe it would be worth it for the Federal Government to rebuild and install a historically correct water wheel if only to add to the authenticity and beauty of the mill.
Alley Spring is part of the National Park Service and so staffed by federal employees. The gentleman at the counter was very helpful about answering questions about the surrounding area, especially more scenic trails and the Ozark National Scenic Riverway. We were provided with maps which whetted our appetite for more adventures, possibly this fall or next spring floating the Current River or Jacks Fork.
There are several short hiking trails at Alley Spring, but being in somewhat of a hurry to get to our destination at Taum Sauk, we only took time for the 0.3 mile hike around the spring. This particular spring pumps out 81 million gallons of COLD water daily. The trail is beautiful and gave us plenty of opportunities for excellent shots of the roiling water and the mill.
Originally built in 1868, Alley Spring Mill was the hub of country life as folks brought wheat and corn to be ground for use in homes across the area. Walking around the mill you can almost see the horses and wagons lined up, women gathered with babes in arms gossiping, men on the porch whittling and swapping stories. Throughout the years the area held a school, blacksmith shop, and store to serve the intrepid homesteaders in this remote area of the state. Situated as it was, the mill flooded quite a few times and was never very profitable for its various owners. In the end it was taken over by the National Park Service to be preserved and enjoyed by thousands of visitors every year. So next time you are in the Eastern Ozarks, Alley Spring Mill is worth a look in any season.
Check out the Facebook page How to do the Ozarks and Instagram htdto2020 for more pictures and places to visit!