Spotlight: Explore the Spectacular Blanchard Springs Caverns
Tour these cool caverns located in the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests
What You’ll Find
A “living” cave to be explored and interpreted on several guided tours available for advance reservation. Located near Mountain View, Arkansas, Blanchard Springs Caverns is a three-level cave system with formations like stalactites, stalagmites, columns and flowstones – all still changing as waters flow, seep, splash and drip.
Within two of the three levels, visitors to the caverns can choose from several guided tours appealing to those looking for an easy stroll through large beautifully lighted rooms to those in good physical shape seeking low ceilings, narrow passageways and scrambling over rocks. Whichever cave tour beckons you, the underground world of Blanchard Springs Caverns is sure to captivate all.
Blanchard Springs Caverns is located 15 miles northwest of Mountain View off Arkansas 14 in the heart of the Ozark Mountains. While on the Sylamore Scenic Byway to Blanchard Springs Caverns, enjoy the scenic rocky bluffs, or pack a picnic and stop to cool off in the clear streams and pools along the route.
Camping is available on a first-come, first-serve basis at nearby Blanchard Springs Campground. Accommodating both tents and RVs, campers will enjoy the close proximity to Mirror Lake and North Sylamore Creek for fishing and swimming opportunities in addition to nearby hiking trails, picnic areas, mountain biking and even summer interpretive programs.
Known as the “Folk Music Capital of the World,” Mountain View, Arkansas, offers a historic downtown and lodging opportunities for those wanting to explore this mountain community.
Make Sure You
Reserve your spot for the Dripstone Trail Tour and hike almost a half mile through two huge rooms with magnificent columns and delicate soda straws. Tour the caverns as the first explorers did on the Discovery Trail Tour. This tour meanders 1.2-miles and up nearly 700 stairs as you follow the steps of early explorers through enormous rooms and along the cavern’s spring – a strenuous, but rewarding tour. Feeling brave? Try the Wild Cave Tour and explore the undeveloped middle level of the caverns (participants must be in good physical shape and be prepared to get dirty) or the Discovery in the Dark Headlamp Tour when the cave lights are turned off and you get a glimpse of how it felt to be an early explorer! Prices to view the cavern vary depending on age and time of year.
Just north of Mountain View, Arkansas, near the Blanchard Springs Caverns is the Ozark Folk Center State Park. Learn about the history of the area and the wealth of heritage and culture surrounding the Ozark Mountain people. Watch as different pioneer skills and crafts are demonstrated, browse the gift shop, explore the Loco Ropes course high in the treetops, or learn to play the dulcimer – this is an entertaining stop for the entire family!
Blanchard Springs Caverns has a constant year-round temperature of 58°F and nearly 100% relative humidity. You may want to bring a lightweight jacket. The paved trails tend to be wet, so you should wear low-heeled, nonslip shoes.
Once you’ve arrived at Blanchard Springs Caverns for your cave tour, be sure to stop by the Visitor Center to view a short movie about the underground wonders you are about to discover and then browse the gift shop and view the exhibits.
Did You Know?
White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a disease affecting hibernating bats in eastern North America, where more than 5.7 to 6.7 million bats have been killed. In some hibernacula, 90 to 100 percent of bats have died. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the affected states request that cavers observe all cave closures and advisories, and avoid caves, mines or passages containing hibernating bats to minimize disturbance and to reduce the potential risk of spreading of WNS. Learn more about WNS and bats impacted by this deadly disease.