Fulbright Spring Greenway Trail
Fulbright Spring Greenway Trail Provides Vital Connections: this trail is 6.98 miles and connects four parks, an elementary school, housing subdivisions, a natural-surface loop trail, and a signed bicycle route that connects to the Frisco Highline Trail. Many residents refer to this trail as the emerald necklace, as it connects so many unique outdoor spaces just minutes from Downtown Springfield.
Loop Trail? No
Type: Fitness Trail, Greenway, Nature Trail
Agency: City, Town, or County
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No Allowed Uses:
Bicycling (on pavement)
Dogs - On leash
Heritage and History
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
Snow - Snowshoeing
Location: In Greene County, MO north of Springfield, MO
Counties: Greene County
From Springfield, take Highway 13 north to Farm Road 94, turn west and follow the road as it turns south and then west again to Farm Road 127 and then north to the entrance to Ritter Springs Park and Fulbright Spring Greenway Trailhead.
Fulbright Spring Greenway Trail Provides Vital Connections in Greene County, MO
This trail begins at Ritter Springs, the western trailhead. This site, once the location of historic Ritter Mill, is a parkland, rich in timber, natural springs and beauty where pioneering families settled. Ritter Springs is also home to the Park Board’s SPARC Day Camp and a 245-acre park with a playground, picnic pavilion, hiking trails, woods, lake, stream, sand volleyball court, and archery range.
Continuing east is the David C Murray Trailhead, which was named for its pioneer settler. Beginning in 1857, the longest overland mail route, the Butterfield Overland Mail, passed through this location delivering mail, freight, and passengers twice a week from St. Louis and Memphis to San Francisco. The route ran 2,800 miles through eight states and traversed the Wild West across mountains, deserts, and rivers. There are also educational kiosks about the confluence of the Little Sac and South Dry Sac Rivers, local history, and the Butterfield Overland Mail Route on-site.
In September 2020, we opened a beautiful new section of the Fulbright Spring Greenway Trail! This 1.44-mile section filled a trail gap between the David C Murray Trailhead and the Lost Hill Park and Trailhead across a former superfund site resulting in 6.98 miles of continuous trail.
The City of Springfield operated the Fulbright Landfill from 1962-1969 to dispose of domestic and industrial wastes. Decades after the landfill closed, the streambank of the South Dry Sac River eroded, exposing garbage, and chemical contamination was detected in other areas of the landfill. The 98-acre Fulbright Landfill was designated a Superfund site in 1983 due to the presence of hazardous waste. In 1990, the City of Springfield and the EPA developed a Site Remedial Action Plan, and the contaminated wastes and soils were removed.
In 2006, this former landfill was selected by the EPA as one of its 11 demonstration projects for its “Return to Use” initiative. This project received clearance in 2019 from the National Environment Protection Act (NEPA) Review process and EPA, to allow for recreational use of this new section of the Fulbright Spring Greenway Trail.
This new section of the Fulbright Greenway is a great example of reclamation and redevelopment. We tell the story of how this former landfill was transformed into a trail with an interpretive kiosk. We look out today and see native prairie grasses, wildflowers, trees and shrubs.
Lost Hill Park and Trailhead holds a special place in the Ozarks landscape. There are traces of prehistoric life here dating back thousands of years. The caves, springs, natural arches, forests, and prairies in this area are unique and the Fulbright Spring Greenway offers the perfect opportunity to learn about our natural heritage. The trail is remarkable in all seasons with vibrant spring wildflowers, stands of brilliant red maples in fall, and splendid views of South Dry Sac River. There are also restrooms, picnic tables, old silos, playground, easy access to the stream, educational kiosks, benches, and hiking trails.
Truman School Park and Trailhead is a lovely 19-acre park formed in partnership between Springfield Public Schools and the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. This trail is set among rolling hills, forests, and pasture along the South Dry Sac River and connects parks and significant natural and cultural features. There is also a pavilion, picnic tables, and informational sign at this location.
Future connectivity will include continuation of this trail east to the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks Education Center, the future Little Sac Greenway trail to McDaniel and Fellows Lake recreation areas, the existing Sac River Mountain Bike Trails, and Dirt 66 Mountain Bike Trails. The future Pea Ridge Creek Greenway Trail will connect the City of Springfield to the Fulbright Spring Greenway Trail at the David C. Murray Trailhead.
With the scenic South Dry Sac River meandering alongside, benches, a mural, a sculpture, way-finding and interpretive kiosks complete the trail. This project’s design confirms the power of trails to improve the community people live in. A National Recreation Trail designation will greatly support the importance of this trail!
Partners: Springfield-Greene County Parks, City of Springfield, Greene County Highway Department, EPA Region 7, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, Ozark Greenways, private landowners that granted recreation trail easements, private donors, and several federal funding sources have been utilized for various segments of this trail - including a Recreation Trails Program grant.
Width: 120 inches.
Primary Surface: Asphalt
Secondary Surface: Asphalt
Average Grade: 2%
Maximum Grade: 5%
Elevation Low Point: 1,069
Elevation High Point: 1,148
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available
Year Designated: 2022
Supporting Webpages and DocumentsWebsite: Fulbright Spring Greenway
For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.
Ozark Greenways, Inc.
PO Box 50733
Springfield, MO 65805
Director of Parks and Recreation
Springfield-Greene County Parks
1923 N. Weller Avenue
Springfield, MO 65803
Submit an Edit
Trail Managers: please use the official NRT update form to update your trail for any of the following changes:
- Change in trail mileage through trail extension
- Change in trail mileage through trail retraction
- Change in trail mileage through significant trail reroute
- Change to trail name
- Change in trail description or use
- Undesignation of trail (removal of NRT designation status)
- Other significant updates
>> Download the official NRT update form.
All other edits can be submitted via the below form: