Yelton Spring & Mill Creek are priceless treasures worth protecting

With each passing year, I find more and more peace in places that hold a special sort of nostalgia in my heart. 

It only feels natural to reacquaint myself with the spaces and places from my youth. The experience holds a unique sense of wonder and dejavu. 

Yelton Spring and Mill Creek are such places.  

Mill Creek is a prime example of the type of stream that appeals to me. Located in Phelps County, it flows north through the Mark Twain National Forest and Bohigian Conservation Area. 

The stream’s source is southeast of Flat and gains flow thanks to the various springs located along its course until it joins the Little Piney near Newburg. 

Like most spring-fed Ozark streams, it is ancient. It meanders through a stunning example of Karst topography where our ancestors from various time periods carved out a living.

One such way of life led to the formation of mills; hence how Mill Creek got its current name.

Yelton Spring is one of the springs that feeds Mill Creek. Honestly, before the creek reaches Yelton Spring, it’s normally pretty shallow. 

Yelton Spring is located in the Liberty Township. According to research conducted by Frank Weber in 1938 at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Yelton Spring is named after William Yelton who owned the spring at one time. 

Several trout fishermen and guides will tell you that Yelton Spring is not worth the time. The fishing gets better after Wilkins Spring. 

However, I do not visit Yelton Spring for trout. I visit for my soul. I remember how big Yelton Spring felt as a child, even when it was running low. 


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