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U.S. Forest Service

Eastern Region Viewing Area


Map of a portion of the Mark Twain National Forest displaying the roads in the Greer Spring Trail area.

Bird's-foot Violet. Bird's-foot Violet (Viola pedata) in it's bicolor form is always a treat to come across in spring. Photo Larry Stritch.

Wild Blue Phlox. Wild Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata) is a native wildflower that is commonly encountered in woodlands and forests on the Mark Twain National Forest. Photo Larry Stritch.

Greer Spring Trail

Forest: Mark Twain National Forest

District: Eleven Point Ranger District

Description: Greer Spring is the second largest spring in Missouri.  Its average daily flow of 222 million gallons more than doubles the size of the Eleven Point National Scenic River into which it flows.  The spring flows from two outlets about 250 feet apart at the bottom of a steep, shaded ravine at the terminus of the trail. The spring run drops 62 feet in elevation for 1.25 miles where it runs into the Eleven Point National Scenic River.

Viewing Information: Access to Greer Spring is via a 0.9 mile trail that descends about 250 feet in elevation along a gentle gradient from the trailhead at Missouri Highway 19.  The trail starts in a pine/oak-hickory forest and ends at Greer Spring.  Along the way the trail passes through several forest types containing oaks, hickories, shortleaf pine, basswood, yellow poplar, flowering dogwood, and sugar maple.  Spring wildflowers are in abundance from March through mid-June.  Jacob’s ladder, Virginia waterleaf, hepatica, harbinger-of-spring, Jack-in-the-pulpit, and yellow trout lily are but a few of the spring wildflowers that can be seen along the trail and in the deep valleys surrounding Greer Spring.  On the ridgetops wildflowers such as Indian pipe, bird’s-foot violet, downy phlox, and firepink can be seen scattered throughout the forest.

The area around the spring is misty all year long and has a lush growth of many types of ferns, mosses and liverworts.  Common hydrangea, Bishop’s cap, wild columbine, and Ebony spleenwort are some of the plants that can be found growing on the dolomite cliffs surrounding Greer Spring.

The spring run resembles a small river, and in its waters or along its banks can be found horned pondweed, elodea, water speedwell, and waterthread pondweed.

Directions: The trailhead for Greer Spring Trail is located on the west side of Missouri Highway 19 about 8 miles north of Alton, Missouri, or about 1 mile south of the Highway 19 bridge over the Eleven Point River.

Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Mark Twain National Forest, Eleven Point Ranger District, Doniphan, Missouri. (573) 996-2153.

Closest Town: Alton, Missouri.