Places to Visit—Alcove Spring

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color photo of water trickling over rock ledge
small drawing of Kansas map with Marshall County highlighted in red

Marshall County, Kansas

Springs mark the intersection between human and natural history. There is probably no better example in Kansas than Alcove Spring in southern Marshall County. Water flows from Permian limestone (in the lower right foreground of this photo) into a shallow pool covered with watercress, before making its way to the nearby Big Blue River.

Just above the spring is an intermittent waterfall. This is a noted stop along the Oregon Trail; in 1846, traveler George L. Curry wrote that "the water is of the most excellent kind.…" In 1951, Survey geologist Walter Schoewe wrote, "Water, pure and cold, issuing from the springs gives rise to a streamlet 3 to 4 feet wide."

Today the spring is part of a publicly accessible park owned by the Alcove Spring Historical Trust. To get there, go 1 mile north of the intersection of Kansas Highway 9 and U.S. Highway 77. Just south of the gypsum plant, turn west, following the road west for about a mile, south about 0.5 mile, then north on East River Road for about 3.25 miles. Park at the trailhead on the east side of the road. The spring is a short hike on a clearly marked trail. (from The Geologic Record, vol. 4.2).

Other places to visit in the Kansas Glaciated Region.

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