Valley Water Mills, MO, features a 17-acre lake with fishing access, wetlands, a spring-fed stream, glades, and forests. It also includes Valley Water Mill Park, which is a microcosm of the Ozarks, featuring streams, springs, a 13-acre lake, caves, sinkholes, and diverse habitats. It’s located in northeast Springfield and includes a 1.5-mile hiking trail around the lake, access to fishing piers, and a boardwalk. There’s also an outdoor classroom, pavilion, water, and stream-side learning stations, as well as offices for the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks. 

The Valley Water Mill Park is open from Sunrise to Sunset, and the area is maintained by the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks. It’s available for fishing, hiking, and exploring. The parking lot gates are located at sunset. There are restrooms in the Watershed building located on the south side of the park. However, there is no swimming, wading, or boating allowed in the lake as it serves as a drinking water source for Springfield, MO.

The Valley Water Mill Dam was built in the 1850s to power McCracken Mill. The water emptied into the South Dry Sac and went underground, resurfacing at Fulbright Spring. This was the city’s main water supply in the late 1800s. The dam was sold in 1899. Next article

Then in 1957, Valley Water Mill Lake and the surrounding area were purchased by City Utilities. The 70 acres became a park in 2006.

There are multiple organizations and community members that collaborate to provide recreation, education, and environmental stewardship. The lake is managed by City Utilities and the Missouri Department of Conservation. The Watershed Committee of the Ozarks sustains and improves the water resources of Springfield and Greene County. 

There are several activities at the park, including fishing. The Missouri Department of Conversation stocks and monitors the fish in the lake. These fish include bass, bluegill, and catfish. Early spring or late fall are the best times to fish. There is no boating or wading allowed.

Additional info

For those who love to hike, there is a 1.5 hiking trail that can be explored along with several side trails throughout the park. The trail includes glades, woods, bluffs, and stream beds.

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