at Montauk State Park
The rugged beauty of the Ozarks that attracted early settlers continues to draw people to the Montauk area today. The spring is nestled in a valley surrounded by hills covered in red maple and different kinds of oak trees like northern red oak and black oak. Spring is always a scenic time of the year to visit with flowering dogwood, redbud and wild plum.
Within the park is the 40-acre Montauk Upland Forest Natural Area, which preserves a dry upland forest along with deep, dry to dry-mesic ravines and steep bluff exposures. The natural area showcases an example of mature pine-oak-hickory woodland. A good way to explore this natural area is on Pine Ridge Trail, which passes through stands of shortleaf pine, the only pine native to Missouri. In the summer, hikers on the trail may catch a glimpse of a pine warbler and hear its song. Lucky hikers may spot a pair of nesting bald eagles.
Trails are a good way to view much of the park. On the trail along Montauk Lake, one of the views is the waters of Bluff Spring flowing out from the base of the stone cliff. It’s also common to spot wildlife such as ducks, great blue herons, otters, beavers and rabbits. Several species of native Missouri wildflowers can be viewed around the springs and along the Current River.