Ellington Teems With Nature's Attractions
August 24, 2018
Ellington, Missouri, nestled in the Ozark Highlands of Reynolds County, abounds with all-natural attractions. The small town is located at Missouri Scenic Highway 21 and Scenic Highway 106 approximately 125 miles south, southwest of St. Louis.
Blue Spring, Rocky Falls, Klepzig Mill, the Shut-Ins and Reed Spring are just a few places of interest. The Current River Conservation Area is home to the first Missouri State Fire Tower and Peck Ranch. Wildlife such as eagles, elk, deer, turkeys and wild birds are abundant.
Elk is making a comeback to the area. To see the elk, the Missouri Department of Conservation offers elk self-guided driving tours at Peck Ranch and Current River conservation areas.
The Current River Conservation Area driving tour runs from Highway 106 to South Road out of Ellington. The Peck Ranch tour begins at the office. The conservation areas are open sunrise to sunset, seven days a week.
Serene Ozark beauty can be found at Blue Spring, which Native Americans called "Spring of the Summery Sky." A quiet forest hike leads visitors to the awe-inspiring sky-blue waters of one of the deepest springs in the United States. It is located on the Current River. A stairway leads above the water where visitors can look down into the 310-foot spring. The parking area has picnic tables and bathrooms. A 1.5-mile trail connects the Blue Spring parking lot with the Powder Mill campground at the Hwy. 106 bridge over the Current River. Blue Spring is 14 miles west of Ellington off Route 106.
While surrounded by National Park Service land, Blue Spring is owned by the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Rocky Falls cascades 40 feet through a shut-ins of scenic igneous rock into a large pool just right for swimming. The falls are on national park property and the site offers picnic tables with fire grills and bathrooms. A hiking trail is located along Rocky Creek for the more adventurous. The Ozark Trail also goes through the park area for serious hikers.
A unique historical site, located approximately a mile-and-a-half from Rocky Falls in eastern Shannon County, is the Klepzig Mill. It was built in 1928 by Prussian German immigrant Walter Klepzig to provide milling service to families that lived along the Current River in the early 1900s. The rustic old mill sits on native rock at the site of one of several shut-ins on Rocky Creek. The small turbine mill is built of rough sawmill lumber with a corrugated iron roof and a native rock and concrete mill race and spillway.
Clearwater Lake is fed by the crystal clear Black River and several springs. This lake is noted for the grandeur of its hills, the picturesque bluffs, wildflowers and indented bays. It is known as a place where families can relax without large crowds and enjoy the quiet. Surrounded by three state parks, Clearwater Lake boasts fishing, boating and skiing, as well as canoeing on the nearby upper Black River. Restrictions created by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to preserve the lake's natural beauty have prevented private boat docks from being constructed on the lake leaving plenty of open coastline. Clearwater Lake offers several modern campgrounds. Clearwater is located between Ellington and Piedmont, Missouri.
The TransAmerica Trail, a 4,200-mile, cross-country bicycle route from Virginia to Oregon, passes through Ellington via Highway 21 and scenic Highway 106. From March through October, be on the lookout for bicyclists along this route. Brawley Park in Ellington is a regular stopover/camping spot for bicyclists. The city accommodates cyclists at the Route 76 Bicycle Hostel.
The Reynolds County Fair will be held Sept. 27-29 in Redford. The fair is family-oriented and does not allow alcohol on the premises.
For more information about the area, stop by the Copeland-Shy Visitor Center at 155 W. Walnut St. It is located in the house thought to be the oldest in Ellington.