Endangered Earth
Caves of the Midwest
The Caves of Arkansas
Credit: Missouri Caves.com

The Caves of Arkansas
Blanchard Springs Caverns
Mountain View, AR.
Blanchard Springs Caverns Ghost Room - Photo by: USDA Forest Service

Part Two of our "Porous Earth" search takes us to the Midwest of the United States. The whole area is literally honetcomebed with underground caverns, rivers, waterfalls and lakes... tunnels literally stretching for hundreds of miles... and going down several levels...

These caverns were formed over millions of years as slightly acidic water disolved the limestone and calcite rock deposited by ancient sea beds. The process is still on going today... as the water works itself ever deeper into the Earth. On these pages we will take a brief tour of these KNOWN caverns and list some key points and provide links for those wishing to do a little spelunking on their own, whether in real life or just via the internet. Photos have been included for each cave highlighting the areas just because they are amazing in their own right... and many show the vast amount of water under the Earth... which is after all the purpose of this search

Blanchard Springs Caverns Battleship Formation - Photo by: USDA Forest Service


Blanchard Springs Caverns is administered by the U.S. Forest Service.

Blanchard is a three-level system, but only two levels of the caverns are open for guided tours.

Blanchard Springs Caverns offers three tours. The Dripstone Trail winds through the magnificently decorated upper level. The longer, more strenuous Discovery Trail explores the middle level of the Caverns system. The Wild Cave Tour offers visitors an introduction to spelunking in a structured enviroment. Informative Forest Service interpreters guide the tours. The Dripstone and Discovery tours are limited to around 30 people; the Wild Cave Tour is limited to 12 people. All tours begin at the Visitor Information Center, where the Ozark Interpretive Association sells books, maps, and other educational materials. 

SOURCE: Blanchard Springs Caverns

Photo by: USDA Forest Service

The Springs that feed into the Caverns

Mirror Lake Dam @ Blanchard Springs Caverns near Mountain View, AR. Credit: J. Tyler

The Caves of Arkansas
Bull Shoals Caverns
Mountain Village 1890, AR.
The large rotunda was carved by water rushing through the cave. The first layer of smoke stains have been dated to 300 B.C. using the Carbon 14 process and were made by prehistoric inhabitants of the cave.

Bull Shoals Caverns, located near Mountain Village 1890,  is one of those special places in the Ozarks, a limestone cave formed 350 million years ago and still alive and growing today.

With beautiful cliffs above meandering rivers such as the White and Buffalo, deep blue skies contrasted with masses of green timber, and wildlife moving constantly in the background, the Ozark Mountains are one of the oldest mountain ranges on earth. Standing atop an Ozark hill, you feel like you're on solid ground. Yet, in many of the most beautiful spots, you're probably standing right on the top of a ceiling -- the ceiling of a cave room carved eons ago.

Pool of Water

SOURCE: Bull Shoals Caverns Tours

Showing the location of the water. Credit:  Bull Shoals Caverns Tours
Bull Shoals Dam and the White River lie above the Caverns

The Caves of Arkansas
Cosmic Cavern
Berryville, AR
Unknown Depth - Credit: Christie Ponder

Cosmic Cavern is one of Arkansas' hidden treasures. You will see 2 bottomless cave lakes during your 1hr and 15 minute tour. The first lake, South Lake, has had trout in it for nearly 50 years. Some trout have gone blind and most have lost their color. The bottom or end of these lakes have yet to be found.

Come see our newly discovered area "Silent Splendor". Silent Splendor has been hailed as a must see in Arkansas. Silent Splendor houses one of the longest soda straw formations in the Ozarks measuring over an incredible 9 feet!

Don't forget to bring your camera. In our Buddha Room we actually have a picture studio set up where our guides will take your family picture with your camera... no charge. This really makes a great personal souvenir. 

SOURCE: Cosmic Cavern Tours

Unknown Depth - Credit: © John Baldwin.
Lake above Cosmic Cavern . Credit: Larry Montgomery

The Caves of Arkansas
Hurricane River Cave
Between Harrison and Marshall , AR
Waterfall and Cave Entrance. The caves are still being formed today as water continues deep into the Earth

You will be guided along a level ancient underground riverbed. These fantastic water-eroded passageways are the most unique of their kind among American show caves. Our cave features stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, draperies, soda straws, rimstone dams, cave popcorn, columns, moonmilk, stalactoflats, canopies, along with rare and unique shields, and more!

A number of unusual skeletons have been discovered in the cave. Among them are a saber-toothed cat (Smilodan Floridanus); many bears (including the prehistoric Ursus Americanus Amplidens); and, in 1989, a complete Indian skeleton, which is still in its final resting  place as of 2000

Explore the Cave by Boat

SOURCE: Hurricane River Cave Tours

The Caves of Arkansas
Mystic Caverns and Crystal Dome Caverns
Marble Falls, AR
Underground Lake, Crystal Dome Caverns

Mystic Caverns is a commercially operated show cave located on the Newton County and Boone County line in North-Central Arkansas. It is near Marble Falls, AR and 8 miles south of Harrison, AR.

SOURCE: Mystic Caverns Tours

The Caves of Arkansas
Old Spanish Treasure Cave
Between Gravette and Sulphur Springs, AR
Credit: Mike Deibel

Step into the adventure of a guided tour through Old Spanish Treasure Cave, one of the Ozark's biggest mysteries. The Old Spanish Treasure Cave is Arkansas most historical cavern with fascinating legends of hidden treasure burried within. Learn why the unsolved mystery of the hidden treasure has kept the secrets alive in this cavern, and why it is believed the treasure is still here!

SOURCE: Old Spanish Treasure Cave Tours

The Caves of Arkansas
Onyx Cave
Eureka Springs, AR
The Lion's Head: Credit: Mike Deibel

"The Onyx cave is located in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. This is a tour you take on your own. You have head phones that tell you about the cave. (update) We went to this cave again with a friend and it is not to bad. We stayed in there a lot longer and there are a lot of interesting things in the cave. So if you are in the area check this cave out." - Mike Deibel

The Caves of Arkansas
War Eagle Cavern
Rogers, AR
Entrance to War Eagle Caverns. Credit: Jo Ella

War Eagle Cavern, one of nature's true wonders, opened to the public in 1978. This is one of the newest show caverns in the country. The real story started about 250 million years ago, give or take a million.

In the unspoiled forest of the Ozark Mountains, it's secluded site was used by the Indians hundreds of years before the first settlers came to the area. Every effort has been made to leave the cavern in its natural state, from the spectacular natural entrance to the underground stream. Courteous, informative guides conduct each tour with a "personal touch." Visitors will find the tour inside the cavern both educational and enjoyable.

The half-mile tour climaxes with the a waterfall over many rimstone dams, cascading down a beautiful flowstone wall. 

SOURCE: War Eagle Caverns Tour

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