Missouri – The Cave State

Bluff Dwellers Cave – Noel, MissouriBluff Dwellers Cave – 954 Highway 59 South, Noel, 417­-475­-3666. It was 1925, in a limestone outcrop, that Bluff Dwellers Cave was discovered by Arthur Browning, owner of the property, and two surveyors, Bob Ford and Bryan Gilmore, employed by the highway department. The exploration begins! Excavation began from a small head sized opening. It became apparent that there was a network of subterranean corridors channeling the layers of rock like a subway system. Two natural openings were found that had been hidden by hillside talus and slabs of rock weathered from the bluff face over several thousand years. However, these were not the first men to set foot in these caves. Two years later, in 1927, Bluff Dwellers Cave was opened to the public for tours. The cavern is still owned by descendants of the original Browning family. One of Missouri’s Best Show Caves is open daily: March through October from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm; November through February from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. The last tour is 30 minutes before closing. The Cave is closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Bridal CaveBridal Cave – 526 Bridal Cave Rd, Camdenton, 573-­346­-2676. Rated as one of the most scenic caves in America. Guided tours of Bridal Cave leave every few minutes and last approximately one hour. Tours are conducted over concrete pathways that wind through the refreshing 60 degree temperature. Park interpreters will lead you and your family through room after room of incredible mineral deposits. Giant columns, delicate soda straws and massive draperies abound throughout the cave. Millions of years of struggle between water and rock have created this cavern with more onyx formations than any other known cave or cavern. Bridal Cave and Thunder Mountain Park includes the Ozarks’ largest lakeside Gift Shop, viewing decks, nature trails, picnic areas, gemstone mining and Thunder Mountain Mining Company. This unique rock and mineral shop is a dream for the rock hound of all ages. Of course with a name like Bridal Cave, weddings are definitely events that can be booked here. For information on prices, special events or wedding reservations please call.
Cameron CaveCameron Cave – 300 Cave Hollow Road, Hannibal, 573-­221­-1656. Cameron Cave was discovered in 1925 by the owner of Mark Twain Cave, Arch Cameron. Mr. Cameron was checking on his cattle on a cold February morning and noticed steam coming from an unusual area. He began prodding with a long stick to discover that there was no bottom. He went back to organize an exploration party. A few days later the men enlarged the sink hole and crawled in and discovered a cave much more complicated than Mark Twain Cave. Cameron Cave has twice the passages on half the property. This cave remains the same as it was when it was discovered with the exception of only a few safety regulations to make the cave safe for tourism. The cave is only shown in the summer or with special reservations. Open Memorial Day – Labor Day. For more information on the special tour opportunities in conjunction with Mark Twain Cave Complex please call.
Cathedral CaveCathedral Cave – 7556 Hwy. H, Leasburg, 573-­245-­8576. Cathedral Cave is 15,639 feet long, and the trip from the river entrance to the commercial entrance is about 5,600 feet. The remainder of the cave consists of a few side passages and the portion known as “Upstream Cathedral,” which was not mapped until the 1970s, due in part to its own characteristic of being intermittently “detestable.” Most, if not all, of Cathedral Cave is hollowed in the Gasconade dolomite, which was laid down approximately 440 million years ago. The cave consists of two distinct sections: a dimensionally larger and presumably older passage with its entrance high on the campground valley hillside; and the much longer, narrower, younger and lower (both in passage size and elevation) cave stream passage, which intersects the stream at right angles near the Cathedral column – the premier speleothem in the cave. This is a lantern tour that lasts approximately two hours. The tour begins at the campground shower house and includes a short one­ third mile walk up Deer Run Trail to the cave’s entrance. The cave tour itself lasts about an hour and 30 minutes. The remaining time is spent traveling on the trail to and from the cave entrance. The cave temperature is 57oF (13oC). The tour is limited to the first 30 people. It is more strenuous than the Onondaga Cave tour and covers one and two­ thirds miles round trip. For more information of group prices and reservations please call.
Current River CavernCurrent River Cavern – HC 1 Box 89, Van Buren, 573-323­-4001. One of the prettier show caves in Missouri, Current River Cavern, formerly called “Big Spring Onyx Cavern,” is exceptionally well decorated with a wide variety of natural cave formations. A year round stream flows through the tour passage beneath the boardwalk and a small waterfall can be seen flowing from a side passage after heavy rains. The temperature inside the cave is a cool 58°F year round, very nice on a hot summer day. Cave Spring Park is located just west of Van Buren, Missouri on US Highway 60, adjacent to the Eleven Point ranger district of the Mark Twain National Forest We currently offer a number of exciting activities and attractions including cave tours, zip lines, a museum & nature center, gem panning, a gift shop and a quarry dig (where you can take home real fossils, geodes, & crystals). Park passes are available and include the cave tour, museum/nature center, gem or fossil panning, quarry dig, and a souvenir photo. For information concerning prices, group reservations and special events please call or visit our location directly off US Route 60 on the eastbound (south) side about 1 mile West of Van Buren, MO and the Current River.
Fantastic CavernsFantastic Caverns – 4872 North Farm Road 125, Springfield, 417­-833­-2010. Fantastic Caverns, just northwest of Springfield, MO., is one of more than 5,600 known caves that dot the Missouri landscape and more are still being discovered. Of these, just 18 are open to visitors — and only one offers a riding tour. Because the beauty of Fantastic Caverns is vulnerable, the Cave is toured in jeep­ drawn trams. When visitors board the comfortable jeep­ drawn tram for the 55 minute tour of America’s ride­ through cave, they begin a journey back in time. Since you ride all of the way through, you experience the magnitude, the stillness, and the splendor of Fantastic Caverns while preserving its natural features. Fantastic Caverns offers a variety of educational opportunities for students of all ages and group sizes. Because the Cavern is a ride through adventure it is definitely a fit for people of all ages and capabilities. Fantastic Caverns is open daily throughout the year except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve & Christmas Day, from 8:00 AM to “dusk.” Tours depart every 20­-30 minutes throughout the day and each tour takes about an hour. For more information on prices and reservations please call us.
Fisher CaveFisher Cave – 115 Meramec Park Drive, Sullivan, 573­-468­-6072. Fisher Cave is truly one of the park’s most spectacular natural wonders. Located in Meramec State Park the cave offers Naturalist­-led tours. These tours are offered on a seasonal basis, provide an interesting adventure for park visitors. From the low, narrow stream side passages to the huge rooms filled with calcite deposits, Fisher Cave offers one outstanding cave scene after another. Inside these rooms and passages are well­ preserved bear claw marks, cave wildlife and a vast array of calcite deposits ranging from intricate hellectites to massive columns 30 feet tall. For more information concerning tour times, prices and group reservations please call us. Group rates are available for educational groups (schools, Scout troops, etc.). All groups must schedule tours at least two weeks in advance (subject to availability). We reserve the right to limit tour sizes. All caves have special resources and/or special hazards. For example, several caves are closed during the winter due to bat hibernation.
Jacob’s CaveJacob’s Cave – 23114 Hwy TT, Versailles, 573-378-4347. Jacob’s Cave is Lake of the Ozarks’ largest and most scenic cave. We are one of Missouri’s and the lake area’s top tourist attractions with visitors coming from all over the world. We offer family fun that caters to all ages with a fully lit paved walkway that is completely handicap accessible with no steps… perfect for baby strollers or electric wheelchairs. Gather the family and come explore our fascinating underground world with us! Located between Versailles and Gravois Mills off Missouri Highway 5 on State Raod TT is the first commercialized cave in the lake area. The breathtakingly beautiful fully guided walk through tour is conducted in a environment that remains a constant temperature of 53 degrees. This sight is founded in nearly a 200 year old history and it has been available to the public for viewing for the last 82 years. Jacob’s Cave provides a variety of events throughout the year. For more details on the various events, ticket prices and group reservations please call.
Mark Twain CaveMark Twain Cave – 300 Cave Hollow Road, Hannibal, 573­-221­-1656. The Mark Twain Cave Complex boasts America’s Oldest and Newest Show Caves. Mark Twain Cave is Missouri’s first Show Cave. The cave was first shown in 1886 and is a Registered National Natural Landmark. We are located approximately one mile south of Hannibal on Highway 79. Experienced guides will escort you on the 55 minute tour of Mark Twain Cave where the walkways are level and smooth, and there are no steps. Because of the natural state of our cave it is not wheelchair accessible. Our cave stays a constant 52 degrees year round! The Mark Twain Cave Complex is always hopping with special events and fun activities for the entire family: As always, boys and girls can whitewash the fence just like Tom and his friends, Mark Twain Show (maybe you can ask him questions about Tom), New Lantern Tour which will take you off the regular tour path – begins Memorial Day weekend at 8 PM (Fridays and Saturdays only), Haunted Tours are offered on select weekends in October at 6 PM, Christmas Tours are offered around the Holiday Season. For more information on ticket prices, special events and group rates please call us or visit us just one mile south of Hannibal, Mo on Hwy. 79.
Marvel CaveMarvel Cave – 399 Silver Dollar City Parkway, Branson, 800-475-9370. Silver Dollar City theme park evolved around the entrance to one of nature’s greatest wonders, Marvel Cave. Marvel Cave is a wet limestone cave, complete with formations that are still alive and growing! To begin, you will travel 300 feet below the surface and enter the Cathedral Room. The breathtakingly beautiful Cathedral Room is the largest cave entrance room in the United States. The visitors’ trail consists of stairs and ramps. The tour lasts approximately 60 minutes, with most of that time spent climbing nearly 600 stairs. The strenuous nature of the tour requires us to not recommend the tour for visitors with heart or lung conditions, bad backs, weak knees or ankles. A trained cave guide will host your journey and provide you with interesting and entertaining anecdotes of historical or geographical importance. For more information call.
Meramec CavernsMeramec Caverns – 1135 MO-W, Sullivan, 573­-468­-2283. Beneath the fertile rolling hills of the Meramec Valley, lies a complex of mineral formations and color as rare and unique as they are beautiful. These jewels of nature which took thousands of years to grow, are preserved in the spectacular sights of Meramec Caverns. Guided tours by trained rangers are conducted along well ­lighted walkways. All cavern facilities are accessible to the disabled. Meramec Caverns is the largest commercial cave in the state of Missouri. Missouri is also known as the Cave state, hosting home to more than 6,000 surveyed caves. Meramec Caverns is open year round and offers a fun, affordable vacation for all its visitors. Meramec Caverns also offers a number of new and unique attractions, filling your day with wholesome family fun and memories that will last a lifetime. Some of the activities available to guests are canoeing, ziplining, riverboat rides, panning for gold and much more. Located in this area are two available places of lodging: The Merimec Caverns Motel and The Meramec Caverns’ LaJolla Natural Park/Campgound. For more information about prices, tour times and all the available activities please call us.
Onondaga CaveOnandaga Cave – 7556 Hwy. H, Leasburg, 573-­245­-6576. Descend into the depths of Onondaga Cave State Park and drop into a world of wonder: towering stalagmites, dripping stalactites, and active flowstones help make the cave a National Natural Landmark and illustrate why Missouri is often called “The Cave State.” Visitors can take guided tours into the underground wonderland. But if you prefer the surface, the park’s Vilander Bluff Natural Area provides a panoramic view of the Meramec River. Easy access to the Meramec River allows visitors to canoe or fish in a bucolic setting. Trained guides will lead you over electrically lighted paved walkways and provide information about geologic wonders such as the King’s Canopy, the Twins, and other unusual speleothems. With an interesting history and a river flowing through the cave, Onondaga Cave is a spectacular registered National Natural Landmark. Onondaga Cave tours leave from the visitor center. They are walking tours, just less than one mile long, and last about one hour and 15 minutes. The cave’s temperature is 57 degrees F (13oC) year­ round, so, bring a jacket and comfortable shoes. For more information on tour times, group prices and reservations please call.
Ozark CavernsOzark Caverns – 403 Highway 134, Kaiser, 573-­346-­2500. Visit Ozark Caverns in Lake of the Ozarks State Park and discover what lies beneath the surface! It is a walk into an environment where geologic processes can proceed unhindered by many of the erratic, erosive forces that shape the surface landscape. In the protected cave environment, dripping and seeping water can redeposit carbonate materials in the form of soda straws, helictites, stalagmites and a host of other geologic wonders that can be seen in Ozark Caverns. There is also much to see on the surface. Coakley Hollow Trail, which is a one­ mile, self­ guided interpretive trail, begins and ends at the caverns parking lot. This trail crosses a variety of habitats including a glade, fen, and an Ozark spring branch. It is also a good place to see spring wildflowers. Trail booklets are available at the visitor center. There are ample picnic sites on the grounds. For more information regarding Ozark Caverns tours, prices and activities in the area please call us.
Round Spring CaveRound Spring Cave – 404 Watercress Drive, Van Buren, 877­-444­-6777. Round Spring Cave is part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, one our our national parks. It has been a national park since it was donated in 1964. Park Rangers conduct two hour lantern tours for the public of this beautiful natural cavern. These somewhat strenuous “underground hikes” are limited to the first 15 people. Wear sturdy shoes and bring a jacket or sweater, as it is cool in the cave. Tours are offered daily, at 10:00 and 2:00, during the summer months. Due in part to the location of the cave in the national park area there is a variety of activities and lodging choices for visitors to Round Spring Cave. For all the up to date information on prices, group reservations, park activities and hours of operations please call or visit us at our location just off of Hwy 13 in the Ozark National Scenic Riverway National Park, Mo.
Smallin Civil War CaveSmallin Cave – 3575 North Smallin Road, Ozark, 417-­551­-4545. Smallin Cave was the first documented cave in the Ozarks. It was written about at great length in Henry Rowe Schoolcraft’s journal in 1818. Schoolcraft was a significant explorer in the United States. Smallin Cave was considered to be noteworthy enough that it was cited by major publications, including the 1923 National Geographic and 1948 issue of the Ecological Society of America. The town of Ozark was a centralized location of union activity during the civil war. There is strong evidence that Smallin Cave was used for war related activities. Smallin Cave is open year round and seven days a week. The cave will be closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter holidays. Visitors to the historical cave are treated to an almost one hour long tour that consists of about one­ half mile of walkways and inclines, no stairs, guided tour through the cave. Off Trail Wild Tour, Historical Civil War Tours and Civil War Christmas Tours are 3 of the specialty tours available at Smallin Caves. These tours vary in length and price according to the tour chosen. After guests have completed the tour a visit to the gift shop will provide the opportunity to purchase a unique, often one of a kind gift to help serve as a reminder of the time spent at this historical Civil War Site. For more information on group rates, hours of service or ticket prices please call us.
Stark Caverns – Eldon, MOStark Caverns – 125 Cave Drive, Eldon, 573-369-3306. Hours: March – Labor Day 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., September – February 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. Call to ensure the cave is open if the area is experiencing severe inclement weather. Stark Caverns will close if weather conditions become dangerous for its visitors. As part of this insatiable desire we humans have to find treasure, a new fun family activity has been borne — gemstone and fossil mining with old-time sluices. We’d seen a few sluices operating at some of our fellow cave owner’s sites and were intrigued. After testing some out and seeing how much fun they were, we decided to invest in our own sluice and contacted the expects – Sandy Creek Mining. They designed a sluice to meet our specific needs and sent it out within just a few weeks. It’s a site to behold. Stark Caverns is located just ten minutes away from Lake of the Ozarks – a hugely popular area for both locals and visitors. Within 30 minutes of visiting the caverns you have access to fishing, boating, zip-lining, fine dining, outlet shopping, antiquing, golf, tennis, spas, go karts and many other activities. There are luxurious resorts and lodges or family-friendly hotels and motels. The tour itself is approximately one-hour long. We welcome you to stay longer and visit the Gift Shop, pan for gems or fossils at our sluice, walk the grounds or enjoy a picnic in one of our two picnic areas. Admission: Children (4 and under) Free, Children (5 – 12) $9, Adults (13+) $18. Prices do not include tax.
Talking Rocks CavernTalking Rocks Cavern – 423 Fairy Cave Ln, Branson West, 417-­272-­3366. Talking Rocks Cavern is a “must see” attraction located just minutes from Silver Dollar City in Branson West, MO. No reservations required! You can purchase your tickets upon your arrival, and we will put you on the next available tour! Talking Rocks Cavern has been a vital and long­standing part of Branson’s history. Explored by over a million adventurers, the beautiful landscape of glistening crystals is not only a gift of nature, but was also considered an engineering marvel due to man ­made embellishments made in the late 1920’s, such as the concrete steps along the pathways and the creative lighting installed to enhance the dramatic scenery. Beyond the underground tour of Talking Rocks Cavern, guests can enjoy above ground fun as well. From lovely hiking trails and a look­out tower to shaded picnic areas, visitors can relax, take their time and really soak in the beauty and nature of the Ozarks. Feeling like an adventurer, you can go gemstone mining and take your treasures home. If you want a little sport with your nature, try out the 9 ­hole Cave Country Miniature Golf Course. Talking Rocks Cavern is open all year round, seven days a week except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. For information on ticket prices, group reservations and special events please call us.