Arkansas Travels: A Pictorial Tour of Mammoth Spring Park

by AbbyFitz

Come take a virtual tour of Mammoth Spring State Park and see for yourself why Arkansas is called "The Natural State."

During my lifetime of trips between Florida and Missouri, there is one place that I never tire of visiting.

Mammoth Spring State Park is just a blip in the road in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas. If you're not careful, you'll pass right by it on your travels on U.S. 63.

It's had an interesting past. Once a train depot, a grist mill, a hydroelectric plant, and now a park, Mammoth Spring State Park blends its past into an interesting and peaceful present.

I find Mammoth Spring's beauty serene and idyllic. It's the perfect place to just stop and watch nature and the people pass by.

I want to share this park I love with you, so why won't you let me take you on a tour of this quiet, out-of-the-way park?

Mammoth Spring: The Headwaters of the Spring River

From an 80 foot deep pond, flows over 9 million gallons of water an hour!
Mammoth Spring State Park, Mammoth Spring, AR
Mammoth Spring State Park, Mammoth Spring, AR
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Spring Water Rushing Over the Rocks in Mammoth Spring State Park, AR
Spring Water Rushing Over the Rocks i...
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Abby with Her Feet in Mammoth Spring
Abby with Her Feet in Mammoth Spring
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Mammoth Spring is always at the top of my     to-see list when I visit Missouri. Since it's just on the Missouri/Arkansas border on Highway 63, it makes it convenient for me to visit. Often.

Just a five minute walk on the trail brings us to the beginnings of the Spring River.

The head of the spring is only about 20 feet across, but it is 80 feet deep. Its depth gives the pure water a beautiful blue hue.

I have a habit of putting my feet into any body of water I visit. Atlantic Ocean? My feet have been there. A glacial river in Denali? My toes have dipped into that, too. Here at Mammoth Spring, it's no different.

No matter what time of year it is, the water temperature of the spring is 58 F. And no matter what time of year it is, I must put my feet in the water.

Let's sit here a while, close our eyes and listen to the rushing water, and let all our troubles float downstream.

Footbridge Over Mammoth Spring/Spring River in Arkansas
Footbridge Over Mammoth Spring/Spring River in Arkansas
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Spring Lake

Walking trails surround the lake and makes viewing the lake from all angles easy
Spring Lake in Late Summer. Mammoth Spring, Arkansas
Spring Lake in Late Summer. Mammoth Spring, Arkansas
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Arkansas Ducks on Spring Lake, AR
Arkansas Ducks on Spring Lake, AR
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Canadian Geese in Arkansas
Canadian Geese in Arkansas
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A little further down the trail we find Spring Lake. This 10 acre lake is the home of many different species of wildlife. Ducks in particular like to call this lake home.

In the late fall and winter months, Canadian Geese use this park as a layover on their southbound flights.

In the summertime, humans claim this lake. Visitors can rent paddleboats and paddle from one side of the lake to the other.

I've not been brave enough to try out a paddleboat yet. I may like to stick my feet in the water, but I draw the line at small watercraft. I do not like the possibility of falling in!

Instead, you can stand with me here on the banks and watch the ducks and geese as they swim by.

 

On the Banks of Spring Lake in the Fall. Mammoth Spring, Arkansas
On the Banks of Spring Lake in the Fall. Mammoth Spring, Arkansas
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Spring Lake, Mammoth Spring, Arkansas
Spring Lake, Mammoth Spring, Arkansas
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Ducks and Geese at Mammoth Spring State Park
Ducks and Geese at Mammoth Spring Sta...
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Train Depot Museum

This free museum is a popular attraction for train lovers.
Frisco Train Depot. Mammoth Spring, Arkansas
Frisco Train Depot. Mammoth Spring, Arkansas
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A few years ago the Frisco Train Depot was completely remodeled and reopened as a museum. They've restored the station to how it looked when it was built in 1886, and it's a way for visitors to step back in time to when the railroad was king.

Railfans young and old love this part of the park. The museum gives a really interesting view into the history of trains in this tiny community.

There is also a caboose that is part of the museum and visitors can learn about these now-obsolete train cars. It's also kid-friendly. Young children who are fascinated by trains can climb up into the cupola of the caboose and explore.

The present day BNSF rail line still goes right by the depot, so train enthusiasts of all ages can train watch to their heart's content.

My son is a diehard railfan. Often he spends his whole time here while I'm off exploring the rest of the park, or even shopping in town.

Frisco Railroad Museum. Mammoth Spring, AR
Frisco Railroad Museum. Mammoth Sprin...
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Western Union. Frisco Rail Depot. Mammoth Spring, AR
Western Union. Frisco Rail Depot. Mam...
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Caboose. Frisco Rail Depot. Mammoth Spring, AR
Caboose. Frisco Rail Depot. Mammoth S...
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Frisco Depot. Mammoth Spring, Arkansas
Frisco Depot. Mammoth Spring, Arkansas
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Frisco Depot, Mammoth Springs, Arkansas
Frisco Depot, Mammoth Springs, Arkansas
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Antique Railroad Track Drill. Mammoth Spring, Arkansas
Antique Railroad Track Drill. Mammoth...
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Watch a Train Go By the Old Frisco Depot

Spring Lake Dam and Hydroelectric Plant

An interective display about the hydroelectric process and how it was used in Mammoth Spring.
Hydroelectric Plant in Mammoth Spring State Park
Hydroelectric Plant in Mammoth Spring State Park
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We've now walked completely around the lake and have almost come to the end of the trail. Here we find Spring Lake dam and a hydroelectric plant. There's an interactive display inside the main building where you can learn how electricity was produced here starting in 1925.

The year 1925 might sound like an accurate time period for households to become electrified. It certainly was true for most of the country. However, it was extremely early for this rural region. My grandmother lived only 30 miles from Mammoth Spring and the electric lines didn't reach her until 1960!

This is my favorite place to be in the summertime. Standing on the bridge above the dam with the water rushing beneath you gives off such a wonderful, air conditioned feeling.

The roar of the water and the view of the river below is so much better than any air conditioned office building or apartment.

Overhead View of Spring Lake Dam. Mammoth Spring, AR
Overhead View of Spring Lake Dam. Mam...
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Spring Lake Dam. Mammoth Springs State Park
Spring Lake Dam. Mammoth Springs Stat...
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Enjoy the Roar of the Spring River Dam

Mammoth Spring State Park, Arkansas

More Images of Mammoth Spring State Park

Visitor's Center. Mammoth Spring State Park, Arkansas
Visitor's Center. Mammoth Spring Stat...
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Spring Lake Dam and Hydroelectric Plant. Mammoth Spring, AR
Spring Lake Dam and Hydroelectric Pla...
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Old Power Plant Station. Mammoth Spring, Arkansas
Old Power Plant Station. Mammoth Spri...
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Spring River, Mammoth Spring, Arkansas
Spring River, Mammoth Spring, Arkansas
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Plan Your Trip to Mammoth Spring, Arkansas

Be sure to include this park in your travel itenerary

I am glad you came along with me on our walk around Mammoth Spring State Park here in Arkansas.

It's so beautiful here, I hope you'll visit in person some day soon.

Picnic tables and pavilions are available, and swimming is allowed in the Spring River. Mammoth Spring State Park does not have camping facilities.

The park is free and open 365 days a year, however the visitor's center is closed various times of the year. 

The train museum is open Tuesday through Sunday.

Updated: 04/03/2014, AbbyFitz
 
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AbbyFitz on 11/11/2013

Thank you Mira!

Mira on 11/11/2013

Oh, this was such an enjoyable ride! Great article, photos, and videos! Loved it :)

AbbyFitz on 11/03/2013

Thank you Katie! Your words mean a lot to me.

katiem2 on 11/03/2013

My Dad was born and raised in Arkansas. I have faint memories of visiting when a very young kid, he died early. I haven't been for such a very very long time. You have highlighted the beautiful aspects of Arkansas and well done my heart good. Abby you are a wonderful author and (as I added on Google+) among people who make me smile.

AbbyFitz on 11/01/2013

Thank you. It is. I think most people don't realize it.

MikeRobbers on 11/01/2013

Wonderful article and photos. Arkansas seems a really beautiful place.

AbbyFitz on 10/30/2013

Parts of Arkansas are quite breathtaking and nothing that you'd expect to find. I think it's a very under visited state

cmoneyspinner on 10/30/2013

Arkansas is a nice state from what I've heard. I know folks from there.

AbbyFitz on 10/30/2013

Thank you! Water can be very beautiful....and relaxing

dustytoes on 10/30/2013

Mammoth Springs looks like a beautiful place to visit. I love any place near water! Your photos are fabulous too.


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