Back to Nature: Blanchard Springs and Recreation Area is a Must See

My Tuesday blogs are dedicated to experiencing the great outdoors. I’ll feature anything from park events to Natural State destinations worth seeing. Join me each week to get back to nature.


Jill M. Rohrbach
jillsjourneys@gmail.com
Discovered in 1963, Blanchard Springs Caverns and Recreation Area near Mountain View is filled with unspoiled formations such as the 65-foot-high “The Column,” as well as another huge formation named “The Flowstone.” There are guided walking tours and a wild cave tour through this active cavern system that features sparkling calcite formations, stalactities, stalagmites and columns. The cave was opened to the public in 1973 and contains a visitor information center. The recreation area has crystal clear streams, large flowing spring (12,000 gallons per minute), small lake, scenic trails, picturesque bluffs, fishing, campground, hiking and biking trails, picnic grounds and swim areas. It would be a great place to spend Memorial Day weekend.

Blanchard Springs CavernsHere is the schedule through Sept. 6, 2010:

Dripstone Trail – open year round. Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-15, $5 with Interagency Senior/Access Pass (good for cardholder only). It is accessible by wheelchair with two strong assistants. There is a group rate for at least 15 people ages 6 and up with reservations made at least a day in advance.

Discovery Trail – open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-15, $5 with Interagency Senior/Access Pass (good for cardholder only). It is not wheelchair accessible and has nearly 700 stairsteps. There is a group rate for at least 15 people ages 6 and up with reservations made at least a day in advance.

Wild Cave Tour – open year round and available by reservation only. Participants must be at least 10 years old. The cost is $75 per person with a $25 deposit and the remaining $50 paid the day of the tour. Kids age 10-12 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. It is not handicap accessible and involves very strenuous climbing crawline and sliding. There is no group rate.

Visitor Information Center – has a movie and exhibit hall. It’s open year round and is free and wheelchair accessible.

Campground –costs $10 per night at Blanchard and $7 per night at Gunner Pool. There is wheelchair accessibility. Large and small group campsites are available at Blanchard for $1.25 per person per night. Groups sites are reservable; call 870-269-3228.

Hiking – the trails in the area are open year round. There is one handicap accessible trail at the Visitor Center. There is no cost.

Syllamo Mountain Biking Trail – is open year round and parking is free. It is not handicap accessible.

Picnic Grounds and Swim Areas – There is a day use fee unless you’re holding a Caverns tour receipt dated that day. The picnic grounds are handicap accessibile but the swim areas are not. For groups, large and small picnic pavilions are available by reservation; call 870-269-3228.

It’s an Arkansas must-see. The caverns are located off Ark. 14 N. Call 888-757-2246 for more information and check it out on the Web at BlanchardCaveTours.com .

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Posted in Fishing, Kids

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