Willow Springs and the Missouri Ozarks are blessed with scenic beauty that you likely won’t be able to top, no matter how much you travel. Nestled in the beautiful Ozarks countryside are numerous old-time flour and gristmills, which at one time were the center of life, the heart of small communities peppered throughout the region.
Noblett Lake Recreation Area, originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps on the shore of a 26 acre lake, is a particularly scenic spot that offers picnicking, fishing, bird watching, canoeing and electric motor boating. The picnic pavilion is set in a forest of oak and pine trees, on the Salem Plateau.
Primitive camping is available below Noblett Dam and at the old loop known as Sugar Hill across from Noblett trailhead.
From the parking lot on Highway 181 where it crosses Bryant Creek, you can feel the cool breeze from the natural air conditioning provided by the spring under Hodgson Mill. The spring pumps about 24 to 28 million gallons of cold, clear water each day and is known as Bryant Creek. A mill had been on site since the 1830’s, with the second mill burned down in the Civil War.
The mill and resort are located off Highway PP on the North Fork River and have long been a popular spot for canoeing and fishing. The water is clear and calls visitors to the mill and general store, where you can find Dawt Mill souvenirs, river necessities and a cold drink. Canoeing is available between March and November; convention facilities and rooms also are available.
Traveling along Highway 76, go west to Highway 95, then south to Highway N, then just up the road to Rockbridge. Learn more about Rockbridge by visiting them online at www.rockbridgemo.com
Located in Douglas County, off Highway E south of the junction of Highway 76 and 181, Topaz Mill is privately owned. The owners, however, are friendly and welcome visitors.