Finding Maramec Spring is just the beginning of discovery of this hidden gem less than 100 miles southwest of St. Louis near St. James. Next comes peeling away the layers of history, conservation, management and unspoiled beauty to discover on foot or in your car.
Originally home to the Shawnee, the region around Maramec Spring became property of Thomas James, a banker in Ohio, who saw potential profit in the area’s mineral deposits to be refined using the water power of the spring in the 1820s. The iron forged thrived through the 1870s. James’ granddaughter turned the land over to a trust, which holds it today. The remnants of the forge have been left in place. The rust provides a perfect contrast to the green of the forest and the blue of the spring water.
The Missouri Department of Conservation maintains a trout hatchery and allows year-round fishing in areas of the park. The department has divided sections near the spring into pools where visitoris can feed the trout, allowing to develop before being released.
Not exactly rigorous around the spring and forgery ruins, which makes the area ideal for families and picnickers. Feeling adventurous? Try the road that leads to the top of the hills for a nice overlook, particularly in the fall.
- Take Interstate 44 west to St. James, exit 195
- Head northeast on Missouri Highway 68.
- Take the first right onto eastbound Missouri Highway 8. Continue for 6.9 miles.
- Turn left onto Maramec Spring Drive.
For more information, check the park’s web site.