Mammoth Spring State Park is situated in the rock and
forest covered Ozark Mountains of north central Arkansas. It bears
the name of the world famous natural spring which originates within the park's
boundaries. Mammoth Spring flows at an average rate of 9.78 million
gallons per hour with a constant water temperature of 58° Fahrenheit.
The actual spring cannot be seen at Mammoth Spring because it emerges more than 80 feet below the water level of the spring pool. This water forms the scenic Spring River, one of Arkansas' most popular trout rivers. In addition to the rainbow trout found in its upper stretches and the walleye and bass in its lower reaches, the Spring River is rated one of the state's best float streams. White-water shoals and rushing waterfalls challenge the canoeist from its origins to Williford 31 miles away. The constant water flow from the spring makes it a good float stream year-round.
Early nineteenth century settlers in the Mammoth Spring area formed a village known as 'Head of the River.'
Local folklore claims that the spring first emerged when an Indian chief was digging the grave of his son who had been killed while searching for water during a severe drought. Legend holds that the massive spring will flow forever because the young Indian brave had died while searching for water.
To see some really cool photos of Mammoth Spring Park click here.
Nine miles northwest of Mammoth Spring visitors can see a portion of the underground river that feeds the spring at a collapsed caveat a Missouri State Park called Grand Gulf State Park. The remains of the cave are now a 40 m (130 ft) deep chasm with a natural bridge over it. Dye tests have proven that the water flowing through the 40 m (130 ft) chasm at Grand Gulf emerges at Mammoth Spring.
The spring was used to power a grist-mill from the times of the earliest settlers. The Mammoth Spring Milling Company constructed a dam and a water-powered grist-mill just below the site. In 1925 the dam was purchased by the Arkansas-Missouri Power Company which constructed a hydroelectric plant at the dam. This plant supplied power to the surrounding area until 1972.
In 1957, Mammoth Spring State Park was established.
The original Frisco Depot was restored in 1971 and now functions as a repository for artifacts and memorabilia related to the railroad and the spring area. The State Park provides a visitor's center, picnic areas, walking trails, and tour access to the dam and hydro plant.
The town prospered due to an early grist mill powered by the spring's water. In 1886, the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Memphis Railroad built lines into the area and constructed one of its first train depots in the town, now called Mammoth Spring. In 1901, the 'Frisco Railroad' acquired the line. With the coming of the railroad and the addition of the dam by the Mammoth Spring Milling Company (wheat mill) in the 1880's, the town flourished. The Arkansas-Missouri Power Company bought rights to the dam in 1925 and constructed a hydroelectric plant which provided electricity to the area until 1972. In 1957, legislation established Mammoth Spring State Park.
One of the most scenic sections of Arkansas surrounds Mammoth Spring State Park. Along the Spring River and its tributaries, resorts and communities offer a variety of excellent facilities. A leisurely drive along paved rural highways will take you past free-flowing streams and towering bluffs to Ozark towns where you can browse for gifts of the unique arts and crafts made in this area. The Federal Fish Hatchery, adjacent to the Park, may be toured. Overnight lodging and camping are not provided at the Park; however, motels and campgrounds are nearby, plus restaurants, groceries, and other conveniences. Canoe and boat rental, shuttle service, and fishing supplies are available along the Spring River.