Big Spring – Van Buren, Missouri - Atlas Obscura

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Big Spring

Van Buren, Missouri

Often referred to as the largest spring in America.  


Big Spring is one of the biggest springs in the United States. The water discharge cannot be measured with accuracy because of the back water coming in from the Current River. Producing an estimated daily average of 286 million gallons (878 acre-feet) of water carrying over 70 tons of dissolved minerals, the truth is that Big Spring is downright enormous. As acidic groundwater rushes through the spring’s karst system, it grows bigger and bigger every day.

Following the Native American rumors of “a spring that roars,” Pocahontas Randolph set out, unsuccessfully, to find Big Spring in 1803. Due to rugged terrain, the spring remained undiscovered by colonists until 1913. The spring was turned into a state park and eventually given to the federal government to form the protected Ozark Scenic Riverways area.

Rising from a dramatic bluff dotted with inlet caves, Big Spring is a sight to behold. The water is 58 degrees Fahrenheit and drains into the Current River. Surrounding the spring is a campground and park fit with a boat ramp, restaurant, and more.  

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