The Best Day Hike You Can Take With Your Dog In Missouri

Blue Spring Trail
Mark Twain National Forest • West Plains

Plenty of places name natural springs in their streams “blue hole” but few can match the vibrancy of color found in the Mark Twain Forest. There are so many that there aren’t enough shades of blue to name them all. This canine hike is to the Blue Spring feeding the North Fork River, not the Blue Spring in the Current River.

This is an easy walk with your dog on a narrow dirt strip through streamside oaks, maples, flowering dogwood, and redbuds. The Blue Spring Trail passes by and under ledges of cherty Gasconite dolomite that spice up the canine hike. At this point you are hard by the North Fork River which is muddy and brown and giving up no hints of the wonders it holds up ahead.

In less than one mile the star of the hike emerges, the natural spring nestled in a dramatic rock amphitheater, disgorging seven million gallons of water per day. If you didn’t know better you would think this large grotto with deep blue water was designed specifically as a doggie swimming hole. Rock blocks line the edges fordogs to plunge into the pool and there is also a level bank for walking easily into the water.

If Seaman is feeling frisky after a dip in the 57-degree water he can tackle the Devil’s Backbone Wilderness that surrounds a long ridge through the Missouri Ozarks. There are thirteen miles of maintained trails here and the 300-foot climb to McGarr Ridge just beyond Blue Spring will be the biggest challenge to your dog.

HIKING TIME: 1-2 hours

(from the book 300 Day Hikes To Take With Your Dog Before He Tires You Out: Trails where you won’t be able to wipe the wag off your dog’s tail)


National Parks with Hiking

Ozark National Scenic Reserve
Dogs are allowed on the trails in this park

Wilson's Creek National Battlefield


Links to National Forests With Hiking

Mark Twain National Forest


State Parks With Hiking


Missouri State Parks
Dogs are welcome in Missouri state parks but are not allowed in any state park or historic site building.


Arrow Rock State Historical Site  
Babler Memorial State Park
Battle of Athens State Historical Site
Battle of Lexington State Historical Site
Bennett Spring State Park
Big Oak Tree State Park
Big Sugar Creek State Park
Bothwell Lodge State Historical Site
Castlewood State Park
Crowder State Park
Cuivre River State Park
Dillard Mill State Historical Site
Elephant Rocks State Park
Graham Cave State Park
Grand Gulf State Park
Ha Ha Tonka State Park
Harry S Truman State Park
Hawn State Park
Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park
Katy Trail State Park
Knob Noster State Park
Lake of the Ozarks State Park
Lake Wappapello State Park
Long Branch State Park
Mark Twain Birthplace State Historical Site
Mark Twain State Park
Mastodon State Historical Site
Meramec State Park
Montauk State Park
Onondaga Cave State Park
Pershing State Park
 Pomme de Terre State Park
Prairie State Park
Roaring River State Park
Robertsville State Park
Rock Bridge Memorial State Park
Route 66 State Park
Sam A. Baker State Park
St. Francois State Park
St. Joe State Park
Table Rock State Park
Taum Sauk Mountain State Park
Thousand Hills State Park
Trail of Tears State Park
Van Meter State Park
Wakonda State Park
Wallace State Park
Washington State Park
Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and State Historical Site Weston Bend State Park


Hiking With Your Dog Missouri