Alcove Spring & Waterfall

 Alcove Spring Preservation Association
P.O. Box 98
Blue Rapids, Kansas 66411
(785) 363-7991
Alcove Spring is 6 miles north of Blue Rapids

Alcove Spring and Waterfall Map
Kansas Waterfalls

Alcove Spring and Waterfall - Blue Rapids, Kansas
Alcove Spring and Waterfall
Alcove Spring Waterfall in January. The spring feeds in from the lower right.

Alcove Spring and Waterfall are located near Independence Crossing, a famous ford where pioneer wagons following the Oregon Trail forded the Big Blue River. The spring was named by a member of the Donner Party in 1846. Alcove Spring Historic Park was also the site of the first recorded death in the Donner Party - 70 year old Sarah H. Keyes, who died from consumption.

The spring is productive all year around, but it also is fed by a small seasonal waterfall from snow runoff. 

Travelers on the Oregon Trail carved the name Alcove Springs on the surrounding rocks and trees. John C. Fremont and his 1842 exploring expedition camped at Alcove Springs, and Marcus Whitman led a thousand emigrants to Oregon who stopped at Alcove Springs in 1843. Utah bound Mormons and California bound gold seekers followed, including the Donner party, most of whom later froze or starved in the Sierras.

To reach Alcove Spring and waterfall from Blue Rapids, take US-77 north to Schroyer Road. There is a small sign on the highway just before the Georgia-Pacific gypsum mine. Follow Schroyer Road 5 miles north to the park. Schroyer Road is gravel and is rough in wet weather.

The trail to Alcove Spring is less than 1/4 mile and an easy walk. Other trails wind through the
300 acre park.

Just a trickle of water falls into the pool in mid June, but there is much more water in May when settlers
following the Oregon Trail would stop at Alcove Spring.

Alcove Spring
The actual spring.

Pioneer rock carvings at Alcove Springs, Kansas.
Pioneer carvings in rocks next to Alcove Spring.

Signs pointing out Oregon Trail wagon ruts in Alcove Spring Historic Park

Sarah Handley Keyes marker. Donner Party
1950 DAR marker to memorialize Sarah Handley Keyes. The exact
location of Sarah's grave is unknown.

Kansas historical marker at intersection of K-9 and US-77 near Blue Rapids.

Donner-Reed Alcove Spring Mural in Blue Rapids, Kansas
Donner-Reed Alcove Spring Mural in nearby community of Blue Rapids.

Alcove Spring and Waterfall Map - Blue Rapids, Kansas
Alcove Spring and Waterfall Map

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copyright 2008-2023 by Keith Stokes