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. This location 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.
copyright 2008-2011 by Keith Stokes