Amazing Caves to Explore in Arkansas

Jyoti Babel May 17, 2019
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The state of Arkansas in the United States has unique geology which makes it home to some of the most beautiful and spectacular underground caves, caverns and rock formations.
Most of these caves are located in North-west and North-central Arkansas and attract tourists and spelunkers in hordes especially during summer.

Some of these caves are known as ‘living caves’ which means that they are still wet and are in the process of being formed. With a number of caves open to the public for exploration, Arkansas is a caver’s delight.

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Blanchard Springs Cavern

Located in the north of Mountain View in Ozark-St Francis National Forest in Northern Arkansas, the Blanchard Springs Cavern is a star attraction.
The cave is developed under two levels for exploration – the Dripstone trail covers the upper level and the Discovery trail explores the middle of the cavern.

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The former is an hour-long guided tour and is suitable for most with wheelchair access also available.

The second tour is a little longer and more strenuous, it takes the visitors through water-carved passages. For people who are a little more adventurous, there is a 'Wild Cave Tour' that lets one explore the underdeveloped parts of the cave.

Onyx Cave

Situated six miles east of Eureka Springs, the Onyx Cave is the oldest cavern in Arkansas. The cave is named after its unique rock formations that resemble onyx.
The trail inside the cave is non-strenuous with easy access ramps and stairs, and it takes about 30 minutes to complete the self-guided tour. The temperature inside the cave is around 57 degrees all the year round. The cave is closed for a certain period during winter months.

Mystic Cavern and the Crystal Dome Cavern

Often referred to as the ‘Twin caves’ the entrances of these caves located in Harrison, are situated just 400 feet apart. These caves boast of most number of formations per square foot than any other caves in the state.
The Crystal Dome Cavern was discovered 100 years after the Mystic Cavern and boasts of a spectacular 8 storey dome. Both the caves offer guided tours and are a big favourite among visitors during the summer months.

Cosmic Cavern

A limestone cave located near the town of Berryville, Cosmic Cavern boasts of an abundance of formations which includes stalagmites, stalactites, soda straws, cave popcorn, cave bacon, etc. The cave also houses 2 lakes, said to be among the largest in the Ozarks, and are touted as bottomless.
A part of the cave has some spectacular soda straw formations with straws as long as nine feet as is dubbed as ‘Silent Splendor’.

Bull Shoals Cavern

Created about 350 million years ago, the Bull Shoal Cavern is one gem of a place and exploring it an experience in itself. Home to camel crickets, salamanders, bats, etc., it also boasts of having underground rivers and an abundance of cave formations.

Old Spanish Treasure Cave

A Karst cave, the Old Spanish Treasure Cave is situated in the North-west of the state. Legends say that Spanish Conquistadors had hidden treasure inside the cave some 350 years ago and that the treasure still lay hidden somewhere inside the cave yet to be discovered.
It is interesting to note that the cave has not yet been fully explored and new territories are still charted every year. Guided tours, panning for gem stones, fossils and crystals are some of the activities you can indulge in here.

War Eagle Cavern

With a beautiful natural entrance, the War Eagle Cavern is situated along the shores of Beaver Lake. A guided walking tour here will take you through the cave that is home of some 75,000 bats and also houses a 7 foot high Crystal Hallway among other cave formations.
If you are feeling more adventurous, you can opt for the spelunker tour where you can experience the cave in a whole new way – it needs you to get wet wading through waters and squeeze through small passageways.
The temperature inside most of the caves in Arkansas hovers about 57 to 62 degrees throughout the year. This makes them an ideal destination for exploration during the summer months when the heat soars high everywhere else in Arkansas.
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